Horror has never been my genre, but the same Facebook friend who brought Ken Scholes to my attention was offering a copy of the anthology in exchange for a review and I decided to expand my horizons. It was a good decision.
I’m prone to anxiety, usually when things are going well, so horror never seemed like a good idea as a form of recreation. I may have been wrong about that. What’s the multiple of catharsis? Catharsi? Catharsises? I experienced several of them and feel oddly braver.
I can’t say this is the best horror anthology ever, because this is the only one I’ve read. I can say, as a reader of literature and short stories, that this was a very good anthology of short stories. Each of them was a well written bite of tension. Not all of the stories connected with me. The stories that did connect burrowed in deep.
There is horror in love, horror in grief, horror in the mundane malevolence of the everyday douchebag. The greatest horror is the idea that we might continue to suffer after death. Family plays a big part in some of the stories (as is appropriate for a horror anthology). John C. Foster’s “Burial Suit” is a noir-ish horror story of a vengeful son combined with profound sorrow of anticipated loss. In Jane Brooks’* “The Weight,” family expectations are hard to escape. Interestingly, the scariest character in all of the short stories is not a ghost or supernatural being, but a vain man.
I started reading Death’s Realm while it was cold and had been grey and cloudy for days. The oppressive, isolating weather was perfect for the mood of the book. I recommend the anthology, and if you are a horror aficionado, I’d be interested to hear your take on it.
*Jane is the friend from whom I received the anthology, she asked only that I post a review.