Reviewed by Ian Hunter
This is the first collection of short stories from the very prolific, Jonathan Maberry, so prolific, in fact, that the last book I read of his was one of the first in the “X Files Origins” series telling the tale of a young Dana Scully. A five time Stoker award-winning author he is perhaps better known in the UK as the author of the Joe Ledger thrillers and the Rot and Ruin series and the Pine Deep books.
Some of the stories collected here have appeared elsewhere in anthologies devoted to tales about the undead, the Appalachian mountains, Halloween and modern horror so it is a very varied bunch and it’s not all straight horror, nor dark fantasy as here we have sixteen very different tales, some of them involving G. I. Joe, the world of John Carter of Mars (without John Carter himself), and even Sherlock Holmes travelling to America for a ghostly encounter, and the very first story (and also a pretty shocking one) features Maberry’s own personal bogeyman, Doctor Nine, and his equally creepy cohorts travelling the dark highways of America to keep a rendezvous with a little girl who dreams of murdering her little sister and might just do it.
Fans of Maberry’s epic “Pine Deep” trilogy won’t be disappointed as there are stories in this collection that link to those three books, and Maberry fans will lap this collection, and probably the follow-up collection of short stories from JournalStone which is called “Red Dreams and Other Stories”. If you have never read any of Maberry’s work, then this is a good place to start. He’s a pro, and it shows.