cover image Out of Tune, Vol. 2

Out of Tune, Vol. 2

Edited by Jonathan Maberry. JournalStone, $18.95 trade paper (292p) ISBN 978-1-942712-73-2

Horror maven Maberry presents a not entirely harmonious second collection of original stories that celebrate the haunting power of music. There are several highlights among the 15 stories: Alison Pang's "Respawn, Reboot" is about an online fantasy game that takes "realistic" to a whole new level, offering a rather final escape from real life. Deborah Grabian's "Not Long After the Fair" is a twisted tale about a carnival worker who becomes obsessed with a very special and dangerous young woman. Delilah S. Dawson's "Just Another Black Umbrella" is a rather poignant tale about a lonely funeral director whose exacting standards keep him from finding love, until he meets a strange woman during one of his services. Josh Malerman's affecting "Who Is Bringing Milk to Me?" is a subtle creeper about a little girl who feels an odd affinity with the milkman whom she can hear, but cannot see%E2%80%94until she can. Other strong entries are Laura Anne Gilman's "First Dance," a haunting revenge tale, and "The Twa Corbies" by Nik Vincent-Abnett, which features teenagers and murder in a crumbling London. Of particular interest are the notes after each story citing the origins of the song that inspired each piece. A few pieces fail to satisfy, but there's plenty to enjoy. (May)