Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Ten years since the appearance of the last volume in this award-winning series of imaginative fiction, Borderland Press has finally released a further installment much to the satisfaction of lovers of the genre and in particular of the previous successful anthologies. The present volume collects twenty-two brand new stories penned both by newcomers, veterans and living legends in the field of dark fiction. The average quality of the included material ranges from good to very good, but, taking advantage of my privileges as a reviewer, I will only focus on the stories that I believe to be the best of the batch.
First of all, not surprisingly, my mention goes to Jack Ketchum’s ” Those Rockports Won’t Get You to Heaven”, a truly masterful – creepy,but heartbreaking- noir, taking place inside a New York joint.
“Miracle Meadows” by Darren O’ Godfrey is a frightening piece about the ability to kill people just by means of their mind power, possessed by certain individuals.
“The Last Plague Doctor” by Rebecca J. Allred is a spellbinding tale of plague and death, imbued with intense, dark lyricism of uncommon strength.
“Consumers” represents an atypical Gary A. Braunbeck story. The author contributes a sort of surrealistic fable set in a big department store where strange events happen in full circle while life goes on throughout the shipping activities.
Finally, David Morrell pens “The Architecture of Snow”, an outstanding novella depicting the quest for a formerly famous writer ,now a secluded gentleman living a lonely existence in the country after a car accident has destroyed his family. A new manuscript apparently authored by the same writer under a different name starts an enticing mystery blending literature, human feelings and a gruesome portrait of today’s cynical publishing business.
An extraordinary masterpiece which is worth alone the price of the volume.