Beach Bodies: Edited By Ben Long & Andrew Robert
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Location based anthologies are always a strange batch of stories, simply for the reason that you’ll either end up with a significant amount of repetition or you’ll have your socks blown off as the authors tackle a similar theme with variety and uniqueness.
Editor’s Andrew Robert and Ben Long tackled a location based anthology – ‘Beach Vacation’ as the overall narrative and ultimately ended up splitting it into two entries. This one and ‘Slice of Paradise.’
I read both over the course of three days and I found it interesting, personally, to see how the stories played out and how each anthology felt almost completely different.
What I liked: Of the two, I unfortunately found ‘Beach Bodies’ to suffer from the repetitive story syndrome. While there were some standouts, which I’ll share in a second, a lot of the stories felt as though I’d just read them.
The ones that managed to make it off the beach and tan themselves in my brain were;
The Dive by Kelly Brocklehurst – this was a fun story, if not one that followed the idea that more and more craziness is going to come. I’ve always been a fan of ‘forgotten in open water’ stories, and this one starts out really well with that.
Ile Aux Forbans by Julie Sevens – not enough stories about Pirate cemeteries and this one shows just why. This was a blast and really was engaging.
Babe by Wendy Dalrymple – two incredibly annoying characters, but the story worked really well and it was great to see it get darker and darker.
Greetings From Trammel Beach by Scott Cole – outstanding story and honestly not sure why this wasn’t the opener to pull people in. Cole quickly gets us engaged and then slathers on the darkness.
I will mention – that even in the stories I wasn’t too fond of, you’re in for a treat with how dark and gruesome they all go.
What I didn’t like: As I mentioned, this one was more miss than hit for me. Some of the stories read like first drafts and the writing voice failed to launch. I struggled through a few of them, and wondered why so many read so similar to the ones that came before and after them.
As always, anthologies will be a unique experience to the reader and your favorite stories may very well be ones I didn’t enjoy.
Why you should buy this: If you’re looking for some sunny respite from the horrible winter weather a lot of North America is being hit with, this will definitely warm your bones and make you long to be lathering on the sunscreen instead of the thermal layers. Personally, for me, this was the weaker of the two anthologies, but there are still a good batch of stories that’ll make you sit up and search out some new-to-you authors.
DarkLit Press is back with another anthology of beach horror by authors from around the world.
A family’s vacation is cut short when the dead begin to rise. A strange hotel will do anything to keep its guests from leaving. A series of murders lead a local reporter on the hunt for a werewolf. A distraught man discovers he’s on a vacation from hell. Friends on vacation come face to face with an ancient curse.
Beach vacations are meant for relaxing and unwinding away from the drudgery of normal life. The sparkling sun, shimmering on cresting waves. A light breeze as you sit with toes in the sand, a cold drink in one hand. Utopia on an island. But what happens when that paradise suddenly becomes a purgatory of pain?
What will you do when the beaches fill with bodies and the waters run red with blood? When creatures crawl the coastline and the jungle teems with terror. How will you survive when a tropical respite becomes an arena of peril?
Beach Bodies features sixteen terrifying tales of beach vacation horror. For even more scares, check out the companion anthology Slice of Paradise out now from DarkLit Press.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak fiction.
Steve is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve has appeared alongside some of Horror’s heaviest hitters (Tim Lebbon, Gemma Amor, Adrian J. Walker, Ramsey Campbell) in some fantastic anthologies.
He is an active member of the HWA.
He is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife and son.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
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