The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Six
Edited by Ellen Datlow
Review by Mario Guslandi
Night Shade Books Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781597805032
Date: 03 June 2014 List Price $15.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Distinguished editor Ellen Datlow has released a further volume in her long lasting series of Year's Best Horror short fiction. As always the anthology is enhanced by an invaluable summation of what has happened during the previous year in the horror field (novels and collections of horror fiction, genre magazines, dark poetry etc.). Volume six includes twenty-four noteworthy stories which had appeared in various anthologies, collections, and magazines published in 2013, considered by the editor as the most accomplished.
Needless to say, the book is a juicy feat for any book lover and highly recommended also to readers not particularly devoted to dark fiction.
Here's my personal list of the magnificent ten stories out of the "best" twenty-four.
"Apports" by Stephen Bacon is a masterful piece of psychological horror where a man seeking revenge is overwhelmed by squalor and misery.
"Mr Splitfoot" by Dale Bailey is an excellent, insightful tale investigating the frauds and the truths of spiritualism by depicting the unhappy lives of two sisters.
The superb, very dark "The Tiger" by the talented Nina Allan features a man recently out of prison trying to cope with an unlucky destiny.
In the offbeat and disturbing "That Tiny Flutter of the Heart I Used to Call Love", Robert Shearman portrays an odd marriage where dolls play a pivotal role.
In the very short but deeply unsettling "Down to a Sunless Sea" Neil Gaiman reveals the secrets surrounding a sea tragedy.
Linda E. Rucker provides "The House on Cobb Street", a detached but disquieting report of the events taking place in a haunted house.
Tim Casson contributes "The Withering", an effective mix between a modern Gothic an a crime story with a strong supernatural undercurrent and a sad ending.
Ray Cluley's terrifying "Bones of Crow" -- certainly not for the squeamish -- describes the discovery of an extremely strange nest on the roof of an apartment building.
"The Dog's Paw" by Derek Kunsken is an enticing story of exotic horror and black magic.
"Fine in the Fire" by Lee Thomas is an outstanding, strong tale of sorrow, ignorance and horror, in which a family is destroyed by a shameful secret involving the older child.
All quite enjoyable stories confirming that dark fiction remains in very good health.