Winner, 2021 International Book Awards, Anthologies
Award-Winning Finalist, 2020 Chanticleer Reviews Shorts
Eight chilling tales to read under the Cold Moon.
A tinker's son acquires a cursed soul. A dying woman is haunted by her own reflection. An uninvited presence haunts a Christmas seance. A festive holiday turns macabre.
Despite the twinkling lights and steaming cocoa, the end of the year is the darkest time of the year—a season of short days, long nights, and cold skies. In this special anniversary anthology, the authors of Black Spot Books mix Ye Olde Yuletide hauntings with modern-day holiday horrors to weave a chilling new collection of dark winter tales. From frozen forests stalked by eerie Christmas ghosts to rotting gifts of winter malice, the spirits of Christmas come home for the holidays in the Dead of Winter.
Ryan (editor, A Midnight Clear) brings together eight winter-themed tales of terror in this uneven anthology. The saving graces are Alcy Leyva's "Sad Little Lump of Flesh," a captivating tale about a young boy who finds an unidentifiable dead creature in his backyard, and Cassondra Windwalker's "The Tinker's Son," a multifaceted dark fantasy about a witch named Margritte and her husband, a dragon lord, whose family faces tragedy. With the mildly amusing "The Face Inside the Christmas Ball," Daniel Buella adds welcome tonal variety to the mix in the form of a family legend about evil spirits trapped in Christmas ornaments. Wooden dialogue, thin plots, and excessive exposition plague the remaining stories, including Sam Hooker's "The Watchful Crow," about an ex-con named Orville who employs crows to commit robberies on his behalf, and Dalena Storm's "Frostbite," which dives deep into the narrator's self-hatred. Readers looking for a wintry fright will appreciate the few gems, but will be disappointed by the whole.