Crystal Lake Publishing
Edited by Mercedes Yardley
In the midst of our very own strange reality and new (temporary) normal, I curled up with an *ARC of Arterial Bloom, which I received in exchange for an honest review. *
Most of us, especially those of us who love horror, concede that human beings are far more terrifying creatures than any demon, witch, or superstition. Many of the stories in this anthology showcase the evils of humanity. For me, that makes the horror more plausible and alarming.
The authors seemed to go deep into the dark recesses of their minds to find unique, imaginative, and macabre stories. None of the stories were predictable, which was refreshing, but not every story had a definitive conclusion. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. I usually like a clear, precise reason for the things that happen in a story and in the ending. But for the most part, it worked here. Some of the stories left me wondering, but if done right, not knowing can leave you more unsettled. And most of these were done right.
All the stories were well written and engaging. The editing allowed the author’s individual voices and writing styles to come alive in their characters and plots.
I’m not one to critique each story because reading is subjective and personal. I enjoyed them all but a few stood out for to me.
“Blue Was Her Favorite Color” by Dino Parenti – a somber tale of loss with a grim and startling twist.
“In The Loop” by Ken Liu – The reality of this one made it incredibly chilling.
“The Darker Side of Grief” by Naching T. Kassa – A young boy, simultaneously haunted by and grieving for his dead mother, gets help from an surprising place.
“Dog (Does Not) Eat Dog” by Grant Longstaff – an apocalyptic tale that pushes two friends to the brink.
Staying home and catching up on your reading? For fans of horror and dark fiction, Arterial Bloom is a great addition to your TBR pile.