*** I received an ARC in return for an honest review ***
Alan Baxter, editor of Damnation Games, believes horror is the genre of honesty.
‘With horror, there’s no shying away from brutal reality to supply a happy ending. Even when the evil is overcome, it seldom happens without cost. Survivors are rarely unscathed. Horror looks into the darkness and doesn’t turn away. It confronts it.’
This is also true of crime fiction. The rising dread at the heart of a good mystery has the same affect. That oh shit no feeling in a story that’s a real as the day’s news can have you on the edge of your seat precisely because it could happen – next door. Or in the next room.
Put the two together – crime fiction and horror – and all sorts of nasty business come out of the woodwork. Sometimes literally.
Alan invited a horde of criminally good writers of horror and the supernatural and has produced an anthology of tales set in a variety of locations and eras. The stories herein include urban monsters, Victorian mathematicians, contemporary lawyers, near future police, and outback ghosts.
One of my recent reads was the anthology Damnation Games edited by Australian/UK author Alan Baxter. It didn’t disappoint.
In honour to Clive Barker’s The Damnation Game and other words, the anthology combines the mysterious, horrifying, splatterpunk, crime and supernatural.
Favourites which I found absolute stand-out hits for the uniqueness, skilful writing, unusual concepts of crime while maintaining an atmosphere that was haunting and unique.
In no particular order: “Ghost Gun” by John F D Taff, “Spool” by Dan Rabarts, “Zoo” Gemma Amor, “The Hungry Bones” by Lee Murray, “Dangerous Specimens” by Robert Hood, “Kookaburra Cruel” by Aaron Dries and “The Infinity Effect” by Joanne Anderton.
Alan Baxter has drawn together a fine work that has each piece masterfully written and unique. There is something for every reader from gritty supernatural crime, scientific malevolence, horrific gangsters and strange crime. Drawn from authors with unique and seperate backgrounds and writing styles, Damnation Games is remembered well after finishing it and fits beautifully as a tribute to Clive Barker.
Highly recommended. A dive into supernatural worlds and haunting tales. This anthology is gritty, mysterious, horrifying and leaves you wanting for more.
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