New Fears – Edited by Mark Morris (Kendall Review)

Brand new horror stories by masters of the genre

The horror genre’s leading living practitioners drag our darkest fears kicking and screaming into the light in this collection of nineteen brand-new stories.

The impressive line-up includes stories from:

Ramsey Campbell, Adam Nevill, Sarah Lotz, Stephen Gallagher, Angela Slatter, A.K. Benedict, Josh Malerman, Muriel Gray, Christopher Golden, Nina Allen, Stephen Laws, Carole Johnstone, Brian Keene, Kathryn Ptacek, Conrad Williams, Alison Littlewood, Brady Golden, Chaz Brenchley, and Brian Lillie.

New Fears invites readers on a ride through a world of human fears in a vibrant collection of numinous, surreal, gut wrenching and terrifying stories that showcase the very best that modern horror fiction has to offer. Curated by leading horror author and editor Mark Morris, the collection proves that fear truly does come in many forms…

Fear comes in many forms

The moment I saw the remarkable list of contributors Mark Morris had gathered, expectations were raised, this was an immediate ‘must read’, so I was delighted that Titan Books sent me this anthology in advance of its September 19th release date to review. I’ve already been lucky enough to of read some superb collections this year, so how will New Fears stand up to some very stiff competition?

I’m not going to write a story by story review of New Fears, what I’d prefer to do is cherry pick a few of my favourites. Now that’s not as easy a task as you may think. Near Fears is an incredibly well written collection of stories. Hardly a surprise due to the authors involved, but it’s the sheer variety and diversity of each tale that makes things difficult. These are not gory filled, violent tales of monsters on the rampage, I was pleasantly surprised how a lot of these tales were so cerebral, they didn’t hold the readers hand and mollycoddle.  Out of the 19 stories in New Fears, I can safely say that 11 of them were outstanding to read, easily falling into the best shorts I’ve read this year. Of the remaining 8 the standard was very high, with only a couple of the tales dipping in quality, I’m already looking forward to rereading this collection later in the year and re-evaluating my review.

So, onto my favourites, and in no particular order I’ll start with Kathryn Ptacek’s Dollies. Ptacek manages to pull shock after shock in this incredibly dark and heart wrenching tale about a girl and a secret harboured by her parents. I was unaware of Kathryn Ptacek prior to reading Dollies, I’ll certainly be looking for more of her work in the future. Next would be Shepherds’ Business by Stephen Gallagher, this had a distinct Hammer Horror vibe going on with a new Doctor taking over the rounds on a remote island. I loved how alive the island felt with its close-knit community and their obvious distrust of this stranger among them. I was utterly engrossed in this tale and it’s decidedly dark conclusion. The last story I’m going to mention will be Eumenides (The Benevolant Ladies) by Adam Nevill. Adam has a writing style that just embraces you, words flow and the horrors he unleashes are truly terrifying. I was in this story, I was standing alongside protagonist Jason as he made his steady climb to complete insanity at the summit of Pentree Zoological Gardens. OK, maybe this was my favourite story in the collection. In my opinion, nobody is writing as consistently as Adam Nevill, who along with Josh Malerman (who also features in this collection with an incredibly effective haunted dolls house story) have the future of modern horror sewn up.

New Fears is a stunning collection of 19 tales that will both terrify and delight you. The quality of writing is brilliant with every contributor, and the editor, Mark Morris, deserving congratulations. This is a special anthology that I hope to see run and run. The bar has been set very high.

Star Rating (out of 5): 5*****

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