An Air Force Loadmaster is menaced by strange sounds within his cargo; a man is asked to track down a childhood friend... who died years earlier; doomed pioneers forge a path westward as a young mother discovers her true nature; an alcoholic strikes a dangerous bargain with a gregarious stranger; urban explorers delve into a ruined book depository, finding more than they anticipated; residents of a rural Wisconsin town defend against a legendary monster; a woman wracked by survivor's guilt is haunted by the ghosts of a tragic crash; a detective strives to solve the mystery of a dismembered girl; an orphan returns to a wicked witch's candy house; a group of smugglers find themselves buried to the necks in sand; an unanticipated guest brings doom to a high-class party; a teacher attempts to lead his students to safety as the world comes to an end around them...
What frightens us, what unnerves us? What causes that delicious shiver of fear to travel the lengths of our spines? It seems the answer changes every year. Every year the bar is raised; the screw is tightened. Ellen Datlow knows what scares us; the twenty-one stories and poems included in this anthology were chosen from magazines, webzines, anthologies, literary journals, and single author collections to represent the best horror of the year.
Legendary editor Ellen Datlow (Poe: New Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe), winner of multiple Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, joins Night Shade Books in presenting The Best Horror of the Year, Volume One.
After 22 years of pulling the horror content for the now-discontinued Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series, Datlow (Lovecraft Unbound) goes solo with this stellar start to a new "best of" annual. As in the past, her picks confirm that "horror" is a storytelling approach with endlessly inventive possibilities. In E. Michael Lewis's "Cargo," a haunting Twilight Zone type tale, an airplane picks up something otherworldly as part of its latest transport. Euan Harvey's creepy "Harry and the Monkey" turns an urban legend into reality. R.B. Russell's "Loup-garou" is a highly original shape-shifter story with a subtle psychological twist, and Daniel LeMoal's "Beach Head" a bracing conte cruel with a Lord of the Flies cast. In addition to the richly varied stories, Datlow provides her usual comprehensive coverage of the year in horror in an introduction that's indispensable reading for horror aficionados.