Publisher: Anchor Books
Release date: October 23, 2018
That there is darkness at the heart of the Yuletide season should not surprise. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is filled with scenes that are unsettling. Marley untying the bandage that holds his jaws together. The hideous children–Want and Ignorance–beneath the robe of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The heavy ledgers Marley drags by his chains. In the finest versions of this story, the best parts are the terrifying parts.
Bestselling author and editor Christopher Golden shares his love for Christmas horror stories with this anthology of all-new short fiction from some of the most talented and original writers of horror today.
Absinthe & Angels by Kelly Armstrong
Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith
Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow by Seanan McGuire
Love Me by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Not Just for Christmas by Sarah Lotz
Tenets by Josh Malerman
Good Deeds by Jeff Strand
It’s a Wonderful Knife by Christopher Golden
Mistletoe and Holly by James A. Moore
Snake’s Tail by Sarah Langan
The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel by Joe R. Lansdale
Farrow Street by Elizabeth Hand
Doctor Velocity by Jonathan Maberry
Yankee Swap by John M. McIlveen
Honor thy Mother by Angela Slater
Home by Tim Lebbon
Hiking Through by Michael Koryta
The Hangman’s Bride by Sarah Pinborough
Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review
For me the joy of any anthology is discovering writers I’ve not read before. I’ve said this many times and always hope for a fun mix of stories. Also, it’s a plus if I find a new story from a writer I’ve not read and really dig. Sadly, this was not the case for the majority of this book.
The first story, Absinthe & Angels was a great little short. It was a Christmas myth that I’m not familiar with, and I found it downright scary. Christmas in Barcelona was a slow burn that could have, and should have been half as long. The end was nicely done but getting there was a long journey. Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow was a nice little tale, most likely meant as a children’s story. I kept waiting for the bang, but only heard a soft clap. Love Me, was straight up twilight zone shit. A nasty twist of the knife right in the back. Not Just for Christmas was very creative, and most appropriate for this age we live in. Only in a horror book can you find a genetic pet and know it’s all going to end in a bad way. These last two stories I’ve mentioned were my favorites. Good Deeds was just what I expected from Jeff Strand, no disappointment here. The remaining stories not mentioned were average and hard to finish. My overall impression of this book was a feeling of lackluster storytelling. Sadly the cover was better than most of the stories.
3 thoughts on “Hark! The Herald Angels Scream Review”
I’ll be honest, I won’t read Christmas horror books. They just don’t interest me at all unfortunately.
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This was a first for me, and most likely the last.
I recently read Hark! as well and had a great time with it! I was interested in hearing a different opinion, especially on “Christmas in Barcelona.” I thought that story used the “creeping dread” factor in full force. I enjoyed your take, if you’d like to check mine out, it’s here: http://cheektogeek.com/hark-herald-angels-scream-fun-and-scary-compilation-short-stories
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