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A Book of Horrors
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A Book of Horrors

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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  541 ratings  ·  90 reviews
A collection of original horror and dark fantasy from the world’s best writers, including Stephen King and John Ajvide LindqvistMany of us grew up on The Pan Book of Horror Stories and its later incarnations, Dark Voices and Dark Terrors (The Gollancz Book of Horror), which won the World Fantasy Award, the Horror Critics’ Guild Award and the British Fantasy Award, but for ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,170)
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Trudi
I really, really wanted to love this collection. I was so stoked to get my hands on it (as excited as I get about short story anthologies anyways). It contains an original story by Stephen King for heaven's sake, not to mention other original contributions from some of the genre's heaviest hitters including: Ramsey Campbell, John Ajvide Lindqvist and Dennis Etchison.

I think what frustrated me the most about this collection is that the majority of the stories have great beginnings but fizzle out
...more
Kealan Burke
I'm a big fan of Stephen Jones' anthologies. In fact, I was weaned on them, and discovered many of the authors I still read today through his BEST NEW HORROR series. This one, however, was curiously uneven. For a collection whose sole purpose (according to the intro by Jones) is to make horror horror again, there's a distinct absence of scares, or indeed, much horror at all. Standouts include "Ghosts With Teeth" by Peter Crowther, which, while not particularly original, manages under Crowther's ...more
Absinthe
Overall I give the collection three stars as there were some stories that were awesome, some that were eh, and some that I could barely finish.

"The Little Green God of Agony" - Stephen King **

I'm only giving this one two stars as I did not find it particularly enticing. I've personally never thought that Stephen King did a good job at developing mood...or maybe I just am not partial to his kind of writing style. Anyway, this is definitely one of those stories that brings the whole book down...su
...more
Kimberly
This was a very strong short story collection, in my opinion. Most of the stories were good-to-very good, with 7 of them making it it my personal "definitely want to read again" category. Overall, there were only a few very "weak" inclusions that I didn't get into at all. Notable favorites of mine (personally speaking) were "A Child's Problem", by Reggie Oliver, "Getting It Wrong", by Ramsey Campbell, "Sad, Dark Thing", by Michael Marshall Smith, "Roots and All", by Brian Hodge, and "The Music o ...more
Viv
The intro of this book was quite inspirational, talking about bringing back monsters from the older days (before modern stories of romantic vampires and etc.) when we would read them under our beds at night with flash light in hand, shaking and trembling in fear. I have to say, that really brought my hopes up for the stories in these. I even saw Stephen King's name in it and thought it would be awesome.

Unfortunately, most of the stories ended with a splat. The beginning and middle sections of ea
...more
Nerine Dorman
For those of you who despair that an antidote for all the glittery vampires and torture porn won't be found, look no further than this superb collection that Stephen Jones has put together. I appreciated the fact that I saw a few familiar names like Stephen King Caitlin R Kiernan and Ramsey Campbell, but was pleased to find new favourites among them, such as Reggie Oliver, Elizabeth Hand and Angela Slatter, whose other published works will eventually find their way onto my kindle. This one's a k ...more
George
This anthology contains contributions by some of the best known modern horror writers, but strangely I found their offerings the weakest of the collection.

I am a great fan of King, Campbell and Lindqvist, and have read nearly everything they have produced, so I was really looking forward to reading their stories. The story by Stephen King failed to grip, scare, enthrall or even really hold my interest, although the characters were well drawn and the dialogue convincing. The Campbell story was ju
...more
Nancy Oakes


Definitely for me this book fell into the 3.5 star zone.

In the introduction to this book, editor Stephen Jones notes that "The time has come to reclaim the horror genre for those who understand and appreciate the worth and impact of a scary story." Lamenting the fact that the traditional horror market is being "usurped" by publishers and booksellers who are aiming "horror-lite" fiction at the "middle-of-the-road reader," -- including 'paranormal romance', 'urban fantasy', 'literary mash-up' or e
...more
Neal Litherland
The intro of this book, and leading off with "The Little Green God of Agony" really sets readers up for a hard and disappointing tumble. The intro, as other reviewers have mentioned, talks up the collection as "reclaiming the monsters" and taking back beasts and bogeys from the romance genre. It promised readers gut wrenching horrors, and terrors from beyond the grave. Then it opened with a haymaker from Stephen King, and it seemed like a solid knock out. Then the book sprained its wrist.

Out of
...more
Colin Leslie
In the introduction to this collection Stephen Jones makes an impassioned plea to reclaim the horror genre from the gathering hordes of vapid vampires and cliched zombies "for those who understand and appreciate the worth and impact of a scary story", well dear reader, that sounds like me and you, lets explore further.

We start with a certain Mr Stephen King and a brand new story The Little Green God Of Agony which proves that he can still thrill the reader in less than thirty pages. It's an exce
...more
Katherine
Though the book had some misses, (it is a bit uneven) it does overall live up to the hilarious (and quite adept) forward by Jones. He claims in his forward that most horror stories now a days are "lite" with sparking vampires and government-employed werewolves. I agree very loudly. For the most part the stories are creepy and in two instances completely scared the crap out of me. Stephen King's contribution "Little Green God of Agony" is old school and great but the stand outs for me were Peter ...more
H. Anne Stoj
Overall, a really nice collection of horror stories, and all of them new to me. It was a pleasure to read Caitlin R. Kiernan's Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint. Near Zennor captured all of Elizabeth Hand's brilliant descriptions and mood that I've found in her other work. But the story that I particularly liked was The Coffin-Maker's Daughter, which gives a great twist on the idea of mirrors and death. The one story I just couldn't make it through was Peter Crowther's Ghosts with Teeth. I'm not s ...more
Danxer Wolfe
Solid horror anthology with only a couple of mediocre stories. Two must-read contributions are Michael Marshall Smith's beautiful and concise 'Sad Dark Thing' and Elizabeth Hand's atmospheric and intriguing 'Near Zennor'.
Randolph Carter
I'm not sure why this anthology isn't rated much higher on average. People must be expecting some sort of berserk maniac monster mayhem but this collection features a lot of excellent subtle weird little horrors. The book is very literate (as in literature) as well. There wasn't a stinker in the batch. Even in the longer stories, there was so much interesting going on and the writing was so good, I didn't mind that there wasn't any severed jugular edge-of-my-seat horror going on. It was just dam ...more
Genny Shafer
ive been on a short story kick for a little while now, i like short stories because u dont have to commit to a long book to still enjoy a tale. if the story sucks, its ok, youve only got a few more pages to go til its finished, and you havent wasted much time. i find that some authors tend to get ridiculously creative when writing short stories...not all short stories have to have a definitive end. i enjoyed quite a few of the stories in this collection, probably only one that i wasnt crazy abou ...more
Janette Fleming
Introduction:- Whatever Happened to Horror? Stephen Jones
The Little Green God of Agony - Stephen King
Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint - Caitlin R. Kiernan
Ghosts with Teeth - Peter Crowther
The Coffin-Maker's Daughter - Angela Slatter
Roots and All - Brian Hodge
Tell Me I'll See You Again - Dennis Etchison
The Music of Bengt Karlsson, Murderer - John Ajvide Lindqvist
Getting it Wrong - Ramset Campbell
Alice Through the Plastic Sheet - Robert Shearman
The Man in the Ditch - Lisa Tuttle
A Child's Problem - R
...more
Mandy
I knew that this would be my kind of horror as soon as I read the sentence "What the hell happened to the horror genre?"I agree with Stephen Jones that horror has been corrupted by romance. Jones was right to say that not every story was to my liking, in fact I still fail to see how the stores "Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint" and "Alice Through the Plastic Sheet" are considered horror. I did however find several on the stories very creepy, with "Ghosts with Teeth", "The Coffin-Maker's Daughter", ...more
Jay
While lacking in scares, the overall collection was appealing. It played more on the horror of human nature than on the paranormal (which, I admit, is what I was after). There were only two stories I didn't finish: "A Child's Problem" and "Near Zennor." The latter was too descriptive of surroundings and therefore didn't keep me in suspense. The ending to King's story left me wanting, although I enjoyed the overall tale. My favorites include: "Roots and All," "The Music of...," "The Man in the Di ...more
doungjai
Anthologies tend to be a mixed bag of treats, and this one from Stephen Jones is no different. Having read a few of the anthologies Jones has edited over the years, I had high expectations for this, but they ended up falling a bit flat. I was hoping for a lot more from Stephen King's story 'The Little Green God of Agony,' but it was still good. And while I've seen a lot of praise for Reggie Oliver's 'A Child's Problem,' it didn't work for me, but I think it was more of a stylistic preference.

I
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Rick Urban
While all horror anthologies are ultimately a mixed bag, this collection is particularly solid, certainly more successful than the baffling Peter Straub-edited "Poe's Children" from 2008 ('I've yet to read the other two-volume set edited by Straub, "American Fantastic Tales", but have higher hopes). The stand-outs are Stephen King's "The Little Green God of Agony", (which continues his trip to well of physical pain since his car accident in 1999), the truly original "Alice Through the Plastic Sh ...more
Evelyn
As anthologies go, A Book of Horrors is uneven. There are a few nearly excellent stories, among them "A Child's Problem" and "Near Zennor," that will keep coming back to me in bits and pieces for some time to come. There are some really very good stories: Stephen King's "The Little Green God of Agony," interesting in the way it deftly (but not unfairly) manipulates the reader into a yo-yo sympathy switch, and Angela Slatter's "The Coffin-Maker's Daughter," which made me feel, for no easily ident ...more
Becky
I'm a big fan of short story collections and anthologies. Anthologies give you a chance to try out some new-to-you authors in an easy (and, let's face it, noncommittal) way. But that's ok! Sometimes all it takes is one or two key authors to pull me into a collection (um, Mr. King) and then I walk away with a slew of new stuff to add to my ever-growing TBR. And such was just the case with this latest from horror anthology master, Stephen Jones.

A Book of Horrors features fourteen all new short sto
...more
Justin
For the most part I really enjoyed this anthology.
King's "The Little Green God of Agony" tells the story of a rich man in rehabilitation for his pain after a plane crash. It was an enjoyable story, looking at why we feel pain.
Kiernan's "Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint" is about a mysterious hitchhiker and fire. It was a strange story, but enjoyable. Crowther's "Ghosts with Teeth" is one of the novellas here about strange occurrences in a New England town, and I thought this one of the best stor
...more
Alex Telander
When British author Stephen Jones set out to bring the anthology that would become A Book of Horrors together, his goal was to make the world realize that the concept of the horror story and the ability to frighten and terrify readers in a number of ways is still alive and well, contrary to what the likes of sparkling vampires, hunky werewolves, and all the other former denizens of the world of terror that have now been romanticized have shown. Jones does just this in A Book of Horrors.

The colle
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Evans Light
Jun 08, 2013 Evans Light marked it as to-read
Going to leave little reviews as I make my way through the stories. May or may not be in order.

LITTLE GREEN GOD OF AGONY
- STEPHEN KING **** Four Stars

Even though the premise and resolution is a bit silly in hindsight, Stephen King does a great job pulling the reader into the tale and keeping the chills going up until the last word. This is the best thing I've read by King in a long while; though not essential by any means, I found it to be far more enjoyable than Throttle, Mile 81 or In the Tall
...more
Бранимир Събев
Още щом разбрах, че от „Бард” ще издават сборник разкази на ужаса от западни автори си казах – това е само за мен, задължително трябва да се прочете. Оригиналното заглавие на книгата е “A Book of Horrors” и неин съставител е Стивън Джоунс, известен британски редактор и съставител. Българското издание е кръстено на първия разказ в сборник, чийто автор е Стивън Кинг.

Какво мисля за разказите в сборника:

1. Малкият зелен бог на агонията – Стивън Кинг: маестро Кинг няма нужда от представяне и реклама.
...more
Jien
Overall good, few great, one awful (King, below) it was a good read.

I think I have really hit the point in my life where one of the first things I look at in an anthology is its inclusion of female authors. This book only includes 4 women out of 14 writers. Better than 0, but far from the 50% mark. I do realize though that female horror authors seem to be fewer (or overall less prolific historically?) than male ones, for whatever reasons, but I have also noticed that anthologies with female edi
...more
Chichi
I wouldn't call this collection particularly scary but I thoroughly enjoyed reading nonetheless! My favourite story was A Child's Problem because of the Olde English setting it had. And had that old fashioned hint of creepiness I enjoy with horror stories of this age.
Expected more from King.
I loved the very last story too.
Short and to the point. Considering the story before the last was so long winding and exhausting!
Not a bad collection.
Andy
I got this primarily for two stories by my favourite horror writers:John Ajvide Lindqvist, who I haven't read anything new by for a while, and the inevitable Stephen King. Other favourites were the savage Ghosts With Teeth, by Peter Crowther, and a stranger one called Alice Through The Plastic Sheet, by Robert Shearman. Towards the end of the book, Near Zennor was okay, but I wouldn't call it horror, per se. Not a bad collection.
Kenneth
Any anthology of short stories and novellas will have one liking some stories better than others and this one is no exception. While none of the stories was truly terrifying, to me at any rate (meaning that they haunt you for awhile and leave you unable to sleep at night - maybe I'm just too jaded), they all had their moments. Several would make good plots for horror movies. My two top favorites from this collection were Reggie Oliver's "A Child's Problem" and Elizabeth Hand's "Near Zennor".
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Stephen Jones is an eighteen-time winner of the British Fantasy Award.
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