The Black Room Manuscripts, Volume Two

This one I picked up solely because it had a William Meikle Sigils and Totems story in it.

I can’t claim I’ve never reviewed any horror anthologies here before, but I don’t review a lot of them.

I was originally going to impatiently pound out a quick review and call this a low res scan. But, since it ended up at about 1,600 words, I’m going to call it a review.

Review: The Black Room Manuscripts, Volume Two, ed. JR Park, 2016.

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Cover by Vincent Hunt

This is a charity anthology with writers donating stories and the book’s proceeds going to Alzheimer’s research. It seems to be exclusively UK or formerly UK writers. The only names I recognized in the table of contents besides William Meikle were Sam Stone and Graham Masterton.

The reaction to reading a lot of these stories was just a shrug or muttering “And . . . ?”.

They are about what I expect from short horror fiction.

There is the serial killer story. I’m not fond of serial killer stories. The only significant variations seemingly worked on them is method of killing, motive for killing, and type of victim.

At least the killer in Tim Clayton’s “The Drawers” has to wonder if all those dead kids he has in freezers are somehow getting loose. The fate of a brain damaged young man, shot by the eponymous “Red Mask”, is at stake in Lindsey Goddard’s story. He works at a funeral home where his hugging of young children’s corpses seems way too inappropriate to one of the brother owners. However, the other sees it as the trauma of not the man not saving a niece and nephew from the killer. Then, of course, the killer returns. The narrator of Stuart Park’s “Oranges Are Orange” isn’t the usual serial killer, but we still get a look into the disturbed head of a troubled youth between the world wars, troubled enough that his dead gives him a home lobotomy to stop him talking about all his imaginary friends. Well-done voice, but, again, familiar territory, just serial killer plot crossed with monstrous child narrator.

And, of course, there are the inhuman predators. Continue reading “The Black Room Manuscripts, Volume Two”

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