The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Wake the Witch

June 26, 2012 at 1:02 am (horror, Reviews, writing) (, , , , )

The fact that this anthology was created for all proceeds to go to charity, a good cause, already grants it high esteem in my opinion, before I had read any of the stories. What I find with charity anthologies is that they often attract some of the highest quality stories – as writers are often very generous people. There were a couple of typos in this that should have been picked up by a spellchecker, so I was surprised to see them, but aside from the odd one here and there, this book was brilliant. I really enjoyed the theme, a refreshing break from undead, serial killers and lycanthropes. I also like the female perspective the theme tends to cast upon the stories, even the ones from male contributors. Here’s my overview of the stories (other than my own):

Timmy and Ginny – TW Brown – Despite the modern setting, it had a fairytale motif to it, and I was expecting a version of Hansel and Gretel from the outset, with zombies and witches. It was exactly that, with the flavour of a children’s cautionary tale, the trappings of today’s society, such as a CD player, and the added bonus of the undead. Of course, since the story is about a witch who wants to eat people, the zombies are hardly out of place.

Mercy Hathaway is a Witch – Ken Goldman – This had a Nathaniel Hawthorne feel to it with a strong dose of the sensual followed by a frightening and chilling ending. I got a real kick out of this one, being a Hawthorne fan myself.

Your Next Appointment – Walter Campbell – The tale of an urban witch and Eric Russo, who seeks out her services. This story was very moving and I honestly felt sorry for poor Eric by the end.

Whether Girl –Kristi Peterson Schoonover – This story was a little surreal, but in a good way, with both fanciful and jarring imagery. Equivalent to a “don’t mess with Mother Nature” cautionary tale with a modern setting.

Homicidal Rage – DA Chaney – Another modern witch tale, set on the water. This fun but eerie story had some mystery to it, as an added bonus.

360 Degrees – Geoffrey Crescent – This current day spin on a witch story involves the internet antics of drunken students. It’s a comical plot where they discover catching a witch can be much easier than getting rid of her.

A Wise Woman’s Revenge – CW LaSart – A rather brutal tale of the more traditional sort, from the days of witch persecutions. This had all of the elements I look for in a good horror story: harsh, edgy and moving, providing flawed and believable characters with whom you can really connect. This was my favourite in the anthology – it actually made me cry.

Trevor Talks – Michael Frissore – OMG, this one was hilarious from the get-go. Rude, crude and amusing with a bizarre ending.

Born Again – Marcus Dicomites – Interesting premise, witch as revenant – only it turns out, there’s much more to it than that. Definitely one of the darker tales in the anthology, lots of frightening imagery.

Generational Curse – Bennie Newsome – At first I wondered if my eyes deceived me – not one, but two Hansel and Gretel-themed stories in this anthology. But they are two very different stories. This one had not been modernized, and despite being horror, it still had an element of whimsy.

Of Cucumber and Curses – Elizabeth Butler – The story begins with some cutesy repartee between witch and familiar. Rife with dark humour, as the title would suggest. Save this one for when you’re in a goofy mood.

The Witching-Well Hag – Adam Millard – I’m a definite Adam Millard fan, so this one was a treat. This is an enchanting story, one with colour, mystique and romance. Victoria and the witch were great and the twist at the end was fabulous.

The Conduit – David Landrum –This was a very original tale, with heavy doses of both mob and popular culture. It is not a story for light reading, intricately detailed with a complex backdrop to the plot.

The Strange Case of Melinda P. Zinnecker – Mark Jones – This was quirky, but entertaining , a story presented as a case files (with references to CSI).

While I did enjoy some of the stories more than others, I can honestly say I didn’t feel that any of these were duds. This was a five star read for me and one I’d recommend.

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