Annal: 2004 International Horror Guild Award for Collection

Results of the International Horror Guild Award in the year 2004.

Book:The Wavering Knife

The Wavering Knife: Stories

Brian Evenson

Brian Evenson’s fifth story collection constructs a human landscape as unearthly as it is mundane. Replete with the brutality, primordial waste, and savage blankness familiar to readers of his earlier works, Evenson’s Kafkaesque allegories entice the mind while stubbornly disordering it. In the title story an obsessive consciousness folds back on itself, creating a vertiginous mélange of Poe and Borges, both horrific and metaphysical. Here, as in “Moran’s Mexico,” and “Greenhouse,” the solitary nature of reading and writing leads characters beyond human limits, making the act of putting words to paper a monstrous violation opening onto madness. In “White Square” the representation of humans by dimly colored shapes confirms our feeling that something lies behind these words, while seeming to mock us with the futility of seeking it. Evenson’s enigmatic names—Thurm, Bein, Hatcher, Burlun—placeable landscapes, and barren rooms all combine to create a semblance of conceptual abstraction, as though…[more]

Book:Dancing On Air

Dancing On Air

Frances Oliver

Book:Nocturnes (John Connolly)

Nocturnes

John Connolly

In his first collection of short fiction, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly offers a selection of dark, daring, and utterly haunting tales. Here are lost lovers and missing children, predatory demons, and vengeful ghosts. In “The New Daughter,” a father comes to suspect that a burial mound on his land hides something very ancient, and very much alive; in “The Underbury Witches,” a pair of London detectives find themselves battling a particularly female evil in a town culled of its menfolk. And finally, private detective Charlie Parker returns in the long novella “The Reflecting Eye,” in which the photograph of an unknown girl turns up in the mailbox of an abandoned house once occupied by an infamous killer. This discovery forces Parker to confront the possibility that the house is not as empty as it appears, and that something has been waiting in the darkness for its chance to kill again.

In these stories, Connolly ratchets up the tension to almost unbearable—and irresistible—levels. Nocturnes is a deliciously chilling collection from “one of the best thriller writers we have” (Harlan Coben).

Book:Out of His Mind

Out of His Mind

Stephen Gallagher

Twenty-two stories and novella-length works, mixing imagination with suspense in the kind of tale that can slide into the back of your mind and then stay there for the rest of your life…well-known as a novelist and screenwriter, the author of Valley of Lights and Oktober has assembled a signature collection from over two decades’ worth of his lesser-known short fiction.

A telephone chat line where not all of the respondents can be found amongst the living…the terrified flight of a hit-and-run driver whose fate was sealed at the moment of his deed…the seduction and harrowing education of a young artist in nineteenth-century France…the unholy alliance of an honest psychic and a skeptical conjurer…

All brought together in one volume for the first time anywhere, with an introduction by award-winning author and editor Charles L. Grant and an afterword filled with background insights and dashes of autobiography.

As an example of the storyteller’s art, Out of His Mind is about as good as it gets.

Book:Use Once, Then Destroy

Use Once, Then Destroy: Stories

Conrad Williams

A serial killer is removing victims’ hands in a Venice shackled by winter.

A woman at the end of her tether finds a terrible release on holiday in the fens of East Anglia.

A man is haunted by graffiti, and finds that his road to discovering the perpetrator leads to death. and worse.

A husband trying to comfort his terminally ill wife seeks help in a forbidden zone from his childhood, where blood is the price of perfection.

In this spellbinding collection of his best stories from the last ten years, award-winning writer Conrad Williams offers the kind of horrors that move subtly into you, like pain, or love, or regret. They are stories that explore the scarred outposts of desperation and desire, sickness and death, sex and decay. …[more]

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