cover image The Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 7

The Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 7

Ellen Datlow. Skyhorse/Night Shade, $15.99 trade paper (412p) ISBN 978-1-59780-829-3

Datlow continues her annual series with this excellent anthology of horror stories in a variety of styles. Standouts include Angela Slatter’s “The Winter Children,” a short but sweet twist on the idea of fairy tale children seeking revenge as adults; Genevieve Valentine’s “A Dweller in Amenty,” in which a modern-day sin-eater shows how she copes with her burdens; and John Langan’s “Ymir,” which mixes crime, combat-related PTSD, and ancient gods into a unique tale of dark horror. Not every tale feels like it belongs in a year’s-best anthology; stories from the usually reliable Garth Nix and Gemma Files are underwhelming. Worse, Alison Littlewood’s “The Dog’s Home” contains an act of cruelty that is stomach-churning and vile without any redeeming sense of catharsis or literary merit, substituting transgression for style and horrific deeds for a genuine sense of horror. That one large blemish aside, Datlow shows a great sense of the scope and quality of the genre, adding (as always) superb year-in-review notes on horror markets large and small. Agent: Sarah Nagel, Writers House. (Aug.)