on 17 February 2014
Horror anthologies can often be a bit hit and miss. For every great story in a collection, there’ll be at least one that’s “ok”... English author Graeme Reynolds has taken the bull by the horns with ‘Great British Horror: Vol I’ and has assembled some of the finest modern British genre writers to deliver a collection of tales with something to cater for all tastes within horror.
Before even considering the stories themselves, it is worthy of note that all of the proceeds from this book go to Centrepoint, a charity that supports homeless children and young people, and gives them a chance to get their lives back on track. As if that wasn’t reason enough to scoop up this title, the reader really does get tremendous value for money since Great British Horror: Vol I is not a collection of short stories but is comprised of EIGHT novellas and full length novels! At a conservative estimate, I would suggest that if this book were to be published in hard copy, it would be anywhere between 1200-1500 pages long!
GBH1 really does have something for every genre fan: haunted houses, nightmarish visions, werewolves, shapeshifters, demonic possession, serial killers and much more!
For me, the following stories within the collection are particularly noteworthy:
Craig Saunders contribution: ‘Insulation’, sees a writer move in to a new flat which comes complete with a creepy landlord who really takes an interest in making his tenants right at home...
‘Happy Ever After’ by Matt Shaw deals with themes surrounding obsession, purported feelings of love; and sees a cat and mouse game develop between predator and prey that kept me engaged until the very end.
In ‘Duplicity’, Ian Woodhead brings a tale of carnivorous shapeshifters to England and conjures up a story that brings to mind such classic films as ‘Invasion of the Bodysnatchers’.
Iain Rob Wright’s ‘Sam’ is a tale of exorcism/ demonic possession that at first blush, may seem a little clichéd. I implore you to give ‘Sam’ a chance and you will not be disappointed. Naturally, when tackling such subject matter comparisons will be drawn to ‘The Exorcist’ but I would suggest that although such a comparison may be inevitable, ‘Sam’ is incredibly plausible, delivering characters whose actions are credible and weaving together a story that has wonderful twists, turns and never fails to unleash the horror!
Scottish author William Meikle contributes his story ‘The Copycat Murders’, a story which for me injected a heavy dose of the supernatural into an 80’s slasher flick/ police procedural, coupled with a decent shot of The Twilight Zone!
There were two clear standouts within this collection: ‘Whisper’ from Michael Bray and ‘High Moor’ by Graeme Reynolds. In ‘Whisper’, Bram Stoker Award nominated Michael Bray takes what could have been just another haunted house story and infuses the property with a 500 year old history bathed in blood, adding real depth to his story and creating a unique tale that sets ‘Whisper’ apart from its contemporaries.
In ‘High Moor’ Graeme Reynolds has gifted the world a robust British addition to the werewolf sub-genre which does not simply conform to the genre archetype or tread the increasingly popular and woeful Twilight-type route. This is a solid action horror with visceral scenes, dark humour and realistic characters that does not simply rely on its scenes of bone-shattering transmogrification but shows how characters have dealt with the aftermath of werewolf encounters and the suffering of the cursed and how they cope too.
Crammed in at the end and omitted from the contents page, the reader will discover a handful of “bonus stories” that came to me as a nice little surprise!
On a critical note, this collection has quite a few typos throughout which can, at times, be more than a little distracting from the flow of the stories contained therein. However, this does not detract from the overall power of the collection, the value for money it presents to the reader, or the fact that by purchasing this title, you really are contributing to a worthwhile cause.
I consider myself to be a fairly avid reader but this collection took me the better part of two months to finish! For less than the price of a pint of lager, you will receive a collection of novels, novellas and short stories that will keep you thrilled, frightened and shocked while at the same time, making sure your hard earned cash goes to those who are in genuine need of support.
on 10 September 2013
This is a wonderful collection of horror novels by some fantastic British authors. Some of the authors I already know and love (namely Craig Saunders, Matt Shaw, Ian Woodhead and Iain Rob Wright). Others I have yet to discover.
Included in this collection is Matt Shaws' wonderful "Happy Ever After" which is a must read for all who love horror with a twist of quirky, dark humour. Craig Saunders has submitted "Insulation" which was a favourite of mine from a previous collection of his short stories. Ian Rob Wright brings us "Sam", the story of a possessed child and the people who attempt to save him and his family. These are all great books and well worth the cover price on their own but I am looking forward to reading the other 5 novels which are new to me.
Not only is this collection an absolute bargain, but all proceeds will be donated to a very worthy cause. Centrepoint is a great charity that cares for homeless children in the UK.
on 27 May 2014
I was a bit cautious of any booking with professes to be 'Great' but this is a very good collection of works of some famous & some indie horror authors.
I don't know what the word count is but this is a massive book with 8 full novels/novellas.
Not a weak one in the bunch but I would offer honourable mentions to Ian Woodhead. I've read his stuff before & his novel kicks some serious ass. Don't miss Duplicity. I also very much enjoyed veteran writer William Meikle's contribution.
It's great that this volume raises money for charity but I will judge it by it's merit to the reader. And, you know what - it delivers there & in blood-spattered spades. Fantastic book to take on holiday & an ideal introduction to some of our best indie writers.