Volume 10 in this series is another pretty decent collection of tales laced with stories of obsession, dysfunctional families, evil children and a few seasonal offerings thrown in for good measure. It's a mix of lots of the elements that make horror short stories such a good read with plenty dark humour, some often disturbing violence and even an old dark house tale thrown in for good measure.
Stiff (Angela Blake) - a young girl's obsession with sex goes a little too far. The Easter Bunny (Tom Johnstone) - a man wants to spend Easter with his estranged son to teach him the real meaning of Easter. The Last Testament of Jacob Tyler (David Surface) - set in 19th century America, a man takes a job as a gun for hire to help clean out a town. The War Effort (Carl P. Thompson) - nice black comedy, what are you willing to do to help our troops fighting abroad. The Pre-Raphaelite Painting (David Sutton)- a man is obsessed with the image of a woman in a painting. Christmas in the Rain (Chris Lawton) - thrown out of her home 16 year old Abbie sleeps rough in Edinburgh whilst a killer stalks the streets Deeper Than Dark Water (Gary Power) - another black comedy involving a mad scientist Marshwall (Paul Finch) - Marissa & Duncan visit her old family home with faint echoes of The Woman in Black. Exploding Raphaelesque Heads (Ian Hunter) - an obsession with taking a photograph as close as possible to a disturbing painting by Dali. The Best Christmas Ever (John Llewellyn Probert) - you will probably guess what's coming for Christmas but it's a dark journey on route. The Pygmalion Conjuration (Mike Chinn) - ignored by women Dennis Crawleigh turns to magic to make him more attractive. The Boy (David Williamson) - feeling ignored when his mother has a new child the unnamed boy of the title endures a loveless childhood patiently waiting for a chance to get even. The Last Wagon in the Train (Andrea Janes) - On route to California Tackett comes across a wagon train and its sole survivor. Dad Dancing (Kate Farrell) - forbidden by their father to spend New Year with their friends in Scotland vengeance festers within the twins. Guinea Pig Girl (Thana Niveau) - another tale of obsession, a man's desire for a largely unknown Japanese actress who stars in some of their more sadistic titles.
Although this is not the strongest entry in the Black Book of Horror series they still remain high on my must have Christmas present list.
The Black book of horror is my favourite series. So much horror nowadays is psychological and "smart". It just bores me. What I want are dark alleys and the monsters who are out for blood. Preferably mine. If find them in the Black books.
Of course, not all stories are good. Some of them are actually pretty bad. But at least they are all trying to scare the reader, and that is all I am asking for.