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Review: "Bloody good horror" (Collection edited by Theresa Scott-Matthews)

A bumper new collection of short horror fiction from Hellbound Books has appeared, compiled and edited by Theresa Scott-Matthews. The collection is open about there being no theme (in fact, it has neither theme, nor limits, nor boundaries). These tales are short, sharp bursts of scary. Although some of the stories would benefit from more judicious line editing, there's something endearingly punk rock about this collection, particularly when mainstream publishing is becoming increasingly consolidated, narrow, and with work being examined to the nth degree for how it's going to land with some foreseen censorious audience. A general "don't give a f*ck" attitude pervades. One story in particular ("Marcy's diary") accelerates to a breathless "and then...and then.... and then..." pace that probably wouldn't impress an MFA tutor, but pulls you along with sheer energy.

Although the stories vary in their level of "craft", what unites them is an infectious love of all things horror. Highlight stories for me include the opening story, "Fishing", where a supernatural haunting on a river turns into an echo of real-world horror, and "Remnants of worship", which runs with a plot similar to the Masters of Horror movie "Cigarette Burns", about a movie so scary it will destroy your mind. Sit by the fire, pour yourself a glass of sherry and, enjoy. You won't be bored.

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