cover image Dead of Winter

Dead of Winter

Edited by Lindy Ryan. Black Spot, $16.95 trade paper (204p) ISBN 978-1-64548-059-4

Ryan (editor, A Midnight Clear) brings together eight winter-themed tales of terror in this uneven anthology. The saving graces are Alcy Leyva’s “Sad Little Lump of Flesh,” a captivating tale about a young boy who finds an unidentifiable dead creature in his backyard, and Cassondra Windwalker’s “The Tinker’s Son,” a multifaceted dark fantasy about a witch named Margritte and her husband, a dragon lord, whose family faces tragedy. With the mildly amusing “The Face Inside the Christmas Ball,” Daniel Buella adds welcome tonal variety to the mix in the form of a family legend about evil spirits trapped in Christmas ornaments. Wooden dialogue, thin plots, and excessive exposition plague the remaining stories, including Sam Hooker’s “The Watchful Crow,” about an ex-con named Orville who employs crows to commit robberies on his behalf, and Dalena Storm’s “Frostbite,” which dives deep into the narrator’s self-hatred. Readers looking for a wintry fright will appreciate the few gems, but will be disappointed by the whole. (Jan.)