The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Mistresses of the Macabre

March 5, 2013 at 12:26 am (horror, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , )

I’ve been reading an interesting assortment of anthologies lately, this one amongst them. I consider myself fortunate to have shared pages with many talented writers in the past, and this compilation of ghoulish tales from great women is no exception to my good fortune. Every story from my seventeen cohorts in horror had something of merit to offer and while the themes and styles of some of tales appealed more to my sensibilities than others, I didn’t dislike a single one. It was interesting to see the spectrum of chilling fiction combined here – some focussing on very womanly topics from a strongly female perspective, others tapping into less gender specific fears and disturbing concepts. As a whole, it had a notable flavour that set the anthology apart from your typical horror offering. Specifically, there were powerful emotions other than terror or despair, several tales based on personal connections, and many of the characters demonstrated a strong sense of self with much of the horror internalized. Not that there wasn’t gore and action, but there was a lot more than that.

My three favourites in the anthology (in order of appearance) included “The Mistakes”, “Black Bird”, and “Sometimes Monsters are Real” – the other stories certainly had their value and were entertaining, but these three grabbed me in particular:

Hollis Jay’s “The Mistakes” was gruesomely eerie and thoroughly disturbing, offering a tale of the taboo that jars the senses. It’s a story presented in bits and pieces to reflect the thoughts of the narrator, not a linear retelling of events in their entirety – the format used better suits the narrative, in my opinion.

In Nikki Hopeman’s “Black Bird”, a woman is haunted by her past, an obsession that plagues her in a physical form and refuses her any escape or solace. I loved the way the author captured the protagonist’s mind-set and blended her phobias with her remorse. Great imagery and flow.

Kelli A. Wilkins’s “Sometimes Monsters Are Real” is a twisted and complex story that had some things in common with the classic “The Monkey’s Paw”. I think many a mother could relate to the protagonist and the kind of choices one might make given similar circumstances.

I also have to mention the final story “One for the Road” because I found it dizzying (in a good way) and I have to wonder how the author, Joanna Parypinski, kept her head on straight while writing it.

I highly recommend these tales from such talented and scary ladies. Two trembling thumbs up here.



  1. theleagueofelder said,

    I’ll have to pick this one up–it’s a must buy!

  2. David Watson said,

    Sounds exxcellent

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