Thursday, July 27, 2017

BEHOLD! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders edited by Doug Murano

I read this a few weeks back and I decided to sit on the review. This anthology makes you think. Like most anthologies, some stories are better than others, but overall this anthology was enjoyable.

As I think back on this anthology, one story sticks out the most to me, and that is Larue's Dime Museum by Lisa Morton. It is a great story! I must confess that I am a Goosebumps fan and I love stories with cameras in them. Lisa Morton gets the anthology off to a great start with this gem of a story! Julie goes into Round Again Antiques and buys pictures of The Human Squid, Mr. Inside-Out, a contortionist at Larue's Dime Museum. She starts seeing the people from the pictures in the streets. This is one of the best stories that I have ever read! The ending is clever!

Wildflower, Cactus, Rose by Brian Kirk is unique! "A smile will get you a smile. People light up like Chrismast bulbs as you stroll along. Same with a scowl; it's like lowering a dimmer switch."

The Baker of Millepoix by Hal Bodner is a funny story! Henri decides to become a baker in a small town. Miracles begin taking place all over town. Is something in the pastries?

Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament by Clive Barker is great! It is definitely body horror. I don't want to say too much about this story. You should definitely read this one!

An Exhibition of Mother and Monster by Stephanie M. Wytovich is a great poem that ushers in the second section of the anthology called Curiosities. A beautiful poem from the carnival barker's pov.

Madame Painte: For Sale by John Langan is creepy! It is about a haunted doll/yard gnome. Caution: keep her outside!

Chivalry by Neil Gaiman is great! An elderly woman buys the Holy Grail at a thrift store. Funny story!

Fully Boarded by Ramsey Campbell is about a wristband! I don't think I want to put on another wristband for as long as I live!

In Amelia's Wake by Erinn L. Kemper is about two brothers who are tasked with guarding Amelia Earhart's plan. That ending is something!

A Ware That Will Not Keep by John F. D. Taff is about a Nazi concentration camp. It is also about a golem from Jewish legend. This is a great story!

Earl Pruitt's Smoker by Patrick Freivald is about a girl who controls bees!

As a Guest at the Telekinetic Tea Party by Stephanie M. Wytovich is a great poem that ushers in the third section of the anthology called Undefinable Wonders. Another beautiful poem from the carnival barker's pov.

Hazelnuts and Yummy Mummies by Lucy A. Snyder is good! A writer accidentally takes a hallucinogen at a convention.

The Shiny Fruit of Our Tomorrows by Brian Hodge is about two men riding the rails searching for something. The languid mirrors spun and flashed, revealing scenarios good and bad.

The Wakeful by Kristi DeMeester is about a teacher/student affair.

Knitter by Christopher Coake is about storytelling and how it is an art.

Through Gravel by Sarah Read is about a future society that lives underground.

Hiraeth by Richard Thomas is a love story. Jimmy has a hole in his chest. He has to go to town for his family and he falls in love with Suki. His trips to town become more frequent.

All in all, this is a really good anthology. I wish some of the stories would have been moved around, though. Some of the stories didn't do anything for me, but that is typical when it comes to anthologies. I had to read several of the stories twice. I will also give this anthology another read in the future. Doug Murano is a great editor. If you like this anthology, you should check out Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories.

I recommend this anthology to fans of horror!

4/5 stars!

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