Ruthless: An Extreme Shock Horror Collection Ed. by Shane McKenzie

I’ve read the first two short stories in this anthology. The first, “Bebbel” by John McNee was intense and it packed a bit of a carnivalesque theme, so it was a decent read. I won’t give you much of the background, but I’ll tell you that there was some magic. I’m usually one of those horror readers who say that if you need magic to justify evil, then you are not doing a great job. However, that is not the case in this short freakish story; the magic is needed for the plot, so well don’t Mr. McNee. And excellent job with your main character too; I was in his head throughout the tale, and must say: unholy freaking wow! It is a scary place.

The second story, “Sanctity of Passion” by Daniel Fabiani had an interesting main character too. The man was arrogant, delusional and had an uncanny appetite. But he was extremely underdeveloped as a character. He talked too much about his actions, but somehow managed to omit real important details, like how he got things done. He reminded me of that family friend (we all have one) who lies through his teeth, and you stare at him wondering if he understands that everybody in the world knows he is a freaking liar. The setting for this story was not believable and the actions didn’t seem possible. And don’t let me get started about the overuse of similes because I’ll probably scream and not of shock. In this story, the only real shock comes from the ending: it left me thinking you got to be kidding me!

Reading two stories is by no means a good way to judge an anthology, so stop by The Horror Fiction Review and read what Colleen Wanglund had to say. She is usually on the money when it comes to the gory, and according to her criticism I haven’t gotten to the best stories yet. (Scroll down to the third book in the review batch).

Here is my "Hacked-Up Holiday Massacre" update: I’m a third of the way done. The story has carnage, music, broken dreams, family issues… and a bloody happy ending.

Updated 1.17.11
I finished reading Ruthless and found it okay, but I'm not sure the story I wrote fits the description of what it implies the publisher wants for Hacked-Up Holidays. I don't think I'll submit my story for this particular anthology. 

Ruthless: An Extreme Shock Horror Collection Edited by Shane McKenzie, Pill Hill Press

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