Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Book Review: States of Terror Vol. 1 edited by Matt Lewis & Keith McCleary

States of Terror edited by Matt Lewis & Keith McCleary

Paperback, 150 pages

Published November 2014 by Ayahuasca Publishing

"At the intersection of cryptozoology and folklore, the legendary local monster finds its place in the American landscape; feared and desired, hunter and hunted, unbelievable but believed. In this collection of new fiction, 18 writers and 23 artists have dragged these beasts from the relative safety of remote rural hollows and fetid swamps, re-imagining their mythologies for the 21st century."

This is a really cool book. Don't let the 150 pages fool you this pretty looking magazine sized paperback that is jam packed with stories and amazing art. This is a San Diego project. Editors and writers all from San Diego despite the national focus of the stories. Featuring a story based on a local legend from each state in the union this book is a neat tour of 18 states with a literary flashlight signing into the darkness.

There are varying degrees of skill at work here in the horror department, So authors so clear chops for the genre and others don't. Some don't try with poetry influenced pieces, experimental and comedy. Reall this is a trait of many of the best horror collections. Each writer brings skills to the table, there were only a few stories I didn't like at all, which in a collection with that has this many stories is impressive. The idea of doing stories that are based on folklore and urban legends lends itself to a campfire tone, some stories captured that atmosphere better than others. In that way High Desert Climate by Ryan Bradford, Somewhere between A Gas Station and the American Frontier by Keith McCleary and my personal favorite of the collection Old Foukey by Alex Bosworth captured the campfire tone best for me.

States of Terror has a real well done cover, interior and the majority of the stories are interesting and thought provoking. this is the very best of what indie publishing can do. The crew behind it produced a unique product, a book like none I have ever seen and it presents a wonderful showcase for young writers who by the way are all from San Diego.

San Diego Represent!Excellent work by editors Matt Lewis and Keith McCleary

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