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The One That Got Away : Women of Horror Anthology Volume 3

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What doesn't kill me, might make me kill you!

30 women authors from around the world were challenged to write about The One That Got Away. Here you'll find tales of unrequited love, blind dates gone wrong, stalkers and their prey, cursed guitars, alien symbiotes, sinister letters, and bitter acts of revenge. Dive into murky depths and discover what hides inside the minds of women scorned..

Book 3 in the Kandisha Press Women of Horror Anthology Series

#frightgirlwinter recommended reading!

With Foreword by Gwendolyn Kiste (Bram Stoker Award Winning Author of The Rust Maidens)

382 pages, Paperback

Published February 1, 2021

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About the author

Jill Girardi

27 books65 followers
Jill Girardi is the internationally best-selling, award-nominated author of Hantu Macabre and the founder of Kandisha Press, a company dedicated to women horror authors from around the world. She loves writing darkly humorous creature features and still believes in twist endings. Find her on Instagram or Twitter @jill_girardi

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Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews
Profile Image for Sadie Hartmann.
Author 18 books3,708 followers
February 11, 2021
The One That Got Away: Women of Horror Anthology Volume 3 (eBook review copy provided by the publicist, Janine Pipe)
Please read my review for Graveyard Smash: Women of Horror Anthology Volume 2 here:
Volume 2 was released during Fright Girl Summer last year and Volume 3 is released just in time for Women in Horror Month. That being said, hats off to the editor/publisher Jill Girardi for being such an amazing champion of women horror authors. I love that these anthologies from Kandisha Press can be counted on to present readers with a showcase of new voices and seasoned voices.
I do have one early critique here and that is, 30 stories is a lot for an anthology. It's not particularly difficult for people like myself to read a lot of short stories in a year but for folks who are intimidated by the idea of reading anthologies, 30 does seem daunting and I think some readers might reach for anthos a little lighter in the TOC.
Here is the TOC with my notes for each story and an overall rating at the end:

Heavy Metal Coffin by Amira Krista Calvo-This had a "legend of the crossroads" vibe that I enjoyed. An interesting take.

Bodiless by Faith Pierce- I absolutely loved this story. One of my favorites. Very unusual and magical and disturbing.

Minor Malfunction by KC Grifant- this reminded me of a Black Mirror episode-that whole "technology gone awry" theme.

The Incident On Asteroid 4 Pandora by Stevie Kopas- I don't typically like sci-fi horror but I was immediately drawn into this story of a woman being sexually harassed in her deep space work environment. Crazy ending! A familiar trope but I liked the messaging.

The Lady Crow by Lucy Rose- I enjoyed reading about Meriwether and this crow but I did feel like this one ended too abruptly.

The Recliner by Marsheila Rockwell- I never thought I would ever in a million years read a story about a scary chair but here it is and it's not as ridiculous as it sounds. Pretty creepy!

Call of the Tide by Demi-Louise Blackburn- The language of this story is so immersive, I got vivid, cool colors of blue, green, and gray while I read this. A dark, ocean-y, briny atmosphere

Date Night Ablaze by Rowan Hill- I'm not a huge fan of hunting so admittedly, I skipped this one.

Shell by Barrington Smith-Seetachitt- This one really struck a chord as I have been struggling with some body image issues recently, well, ever since I turned 40 actually. terrifying ending.

From Scratch by Sonora Taylor- "Brussel sprouts always smell like broccoli died in a diaper." hahaha I laughed out loud. This story is not for the squeamish or people who have any kind of food phobia (I have one with meat on the bone) I always love Sonora's stories.

Invasive Species by Dawn DeBraal- Oooo scary flora and fauna. I'm a fan! This was good.

Josephine by Michelle Renee Lane-Kinda blew me away the soft-porn erotica. I kept waiting for the horror element to make an appearance but then I realized, I didn't care. Very...entertaining.

Lure by Catherine McCarthy- I love McCarthy's storytelling voice. It's sophisticated and effortless. I liked the skill utilized to tell this story in a rarely employed 2nd person POV.

The Thrill of the Hunt by Villimey Mist-Villimey has unique story ideas. This is my second story I've read from her in an anthology and I think her storytelling voices stands out in a crowd.

Simba of the Suburbs by Ashley Burns-Aw, this was cute. I love the idea of children with supernatural abilities. Sad ending but I loved this story.

Rippers by Ellie Douglas- This was a fast paced, creature feature horror. Gory, violent and action-packed

Liked by Mocha Pennington- this was absolutely terrifying. The scariest story of the lot. My heart was pounding!

The Lady of the House by Yolanda Sfetsos- I loved the Gothic/Fairytale atmosphere and quality of storytelling. Very engrossing.

Should Have Gone to Vegas by Janine Pipe- Classic Janine Pipe story with a lot of cussing, authentic dialog, and no words wasted in order to get to the fun parts! Pipe proves she can write creature-features with the best of 'em

Atla's Journey by Carmen Baca- I enjoyed the Spanish words peppered throughout the story-reminded me of the times I spent with my Spanish-speaking relatives over long summer breaks in Texas. This is a dark story. I'll be looking for more by Carmen Baca.

Nightcrawler by Usashi Sen Basu- Insomnia/Sleepwalking
Little Sally Ann by Shawnna Deresch- I love fixer-upper, spooky old house stories. This is a good one.

Bramblewood by Meg Hafdahl-This was one of those stories where it's just so unsettling and tense, you feel yourself wanting to read faster and faster just to release the tension. Scary stuff!!

Cold Comfort by Amy Grech-I absolutely loved the dialog, Amy is so skilled at writing. Plus I loved that one of the characters was named Sadie!! xoxo

Kiss by R.A. Busby -R. A. Busby understands phobias and fear and what makes for good horror. This is no exception. I am quickly becoming a huge Busby fan.

The Last Thread by Paula R.C. Readman-This was not for me, unfortunately
The Letter by Lydia Prime - Ugh, this one took me back to first-time-mom paranoia and anxiety. Well done!

Piano Keys and Sugar by Hadassah Shiradski- Scary mothers/child abuse-this tale had me unhinged! I wanted to reach through the screen of my kindle and rescue. Great ending!

Dear Meat by J Snow- Oh my god, the title. And perfect for a cold, snowy day in February! I finished this one this morning. Frightening, dystopian, socioeconomic classism. Themes of predator/prey. Human monsters. The longest story, I think and the one that made me feel like it could totally be developed into a novel.

The One That Got Away by Rebecca Rowland- I always like second person POV, "You" stories when they're done really well.
"Look for me, and you'll glance right past me. I hide in plain sight. I'm the one that got away...over and over again."
Profile Image for Steve Stred.
Author 65 books406 followers
February 9, 2021
** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! **

I’m so happy to see Jill and Kandisha Press continuing to roll out their anthologies focusing on Women Horror Authors. I loved the first two releases and was excited when she contacted me to see if I’d be keen to give the third release a read.

What I liked: These anthologies are exciting because you get a fantastic mix of familiar and unfamiliar names. The familiar names in here didn’t disappoint, with the highlight being Sonora Taylor’s ‘From Scratch.’ This was a superb story about making food that will have me questioning every single food post she shares on her social media pages from this day forward. Meg Hafdahl’s ‘Bramblewood‘ was great and Catherine McCarthy’s ‘Lure’ might well be the best thing I’ve ever read from her. Yolanda Sfetsos delivered with ‘The Lady of the House’ and Paula R.C Readman’s ‘The Last Thread’ was pitch-perfect. And once again we get a stunning story from R.A. Busby with ‘Kiss.’

New to me authors who I really enjoyed were Mocha Pennington’s ‘Liked’ and I loved ‘Heavy Metal Coffin’ by Amira Krista Calvo. Faith Pierce’s ‘Bodiless’ will most likely get readers talking as well as ‘Little Sally Ann’ by Shawnna Deresch. This was a superb haunting story.

The stories within this anthology covered such a wide scope of themes and plots, that it really did offer something for everyone.

What I didn’t like: Lately it appears that more stories in anthologies have become a common thing and frankly the 30 stories in here was a bit much. The last two, I believe’ each had 15 or 16 stories, which is very doable, but 30 becomes a massive undertaking and makes it difficult to keep the excitement going over the duration of the release, especially when you get two or three stories in a row that didn’t connect.

Why you should buy this: Kandisha Press are doing great things here and this third instalment was a great grouping of stories. As I mentioned, I love the mix of new to me and familiar, to me anyway, authors and there really is something for everyone. I’ve seen that a fourth and fifth volume are already under development which means more is coming and that is fantastic for women authors (and all readers) everywhere.
Profile Image for Alex | | findingmontauk1.
1,061 reviews98 followers
February 1, 2021
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY is a wonderful anthology comprised of stories written by 30 women all over the world! If that is not enough to spark your interest, then let's talk about some of the themes and tropes you can experience: bad blind dates, supernatural, sci fi horror/tech gone awry, unrequited love, good old fashioned creature/slasher fun, predator and prey, fantasy, revenge, and so much more!

And with a foreword by Gwendolyn Kiste, well, need I say more?! What a nice bonus of opening this anthology up to see her name across the pages as well!

I found some wonderful new (to me) authors and then was able to rekindle my bookish friendships with some I have read and enjoyed before. Kandisha Press does an excellent job at pulling together women with so many different writing styles, experiences, educations, bibliographies, and abilities. The variety is definitely more than enough to keep you entertained, scared, and always wondering what's about to happen. THIRTY STORIES!

Definitely check this out, fall in love with some new stories and authors, reacquaint yourselves with familiar names, and most importantly, stay scared and enjoy all the horror these women are offering in this anthology! 4 stars!

Thank you to Janine Pipe along with Kandisha Press for sending me a advanced copy for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ross Jeffery.
Author 22 books217 followers
April 15, 2021
I hope you’re ready for this long-ass review, I touch on every story (all thirty) within the collection, enjoy!

Heavy Metal Coffin by Amira Krista Calvo - a deeply moving story of a pregnant woman and her desire to protect her child against all odds. It centres around a cursed guitar and has some very cool elements of body horror towards the stories conclusion (Cronenberg in its gory brilliance).

Bodiless by Faith Pierce - a disturbing tale of love, attraction and the wanting to belong, it’s the unsaid at the story’s conclusion that leaves a rank taste in the mouth. Beautiful prose, fabulous imagination and some really cool magical / weird fiction things going on that I dug. I don’t know if I got the whole story, but what I took away was satisfying enough for me.

Minor Malfunction by KC Grifant - technology gone wrong is one of my favourite horror sub genres - and in this wonderful story about a transplant patient with a new arm we see all the brilliance of this sub genre explored. It’s almost something Philip K Dick would write or Isaac Asimov - great little story!

The Incident On Asteroid 4 Pandora by Stevie Kopas - this one pulled me in, a woman who is being sexually harassed in space. No where is safe from sexual predators it appears - I did enjoy this story but it relied heavily on the story plot from Aliens so I kind of knew where it was going from the start, so the ending and character arcs were very familiar. But I did enjoy the story.

The Lady Crow by Lucy Rose - Lovely Gothic vibe and prose to this one, had slivers of Poe. I did feel that the story could have been expanded a little (mainly near the stories conclusion) where we see the change happen, but an enjoyable read.

The Recliner by Marsheila Rockwell - another thing I like in horror and it could possibly be seen as a sub genre / but it’s when inanimate objects become possessed or do something that they don’t usually do. This story has all of that and more - there was a dream sequence that I thought oddly placed (seemed out of tone with the story) also the voice of our six year old protagonist I felt was a little too old in his language and view of the world (but having said that the dream sequence seemed more apt for his age). A story with Lovecraftian undertones.

Call Of The Tide by Demi-Louise Blackburn - So many beautiful visuals in this dramatic and haunting tale - it’s a powerful story that is an assault on the senses!

Date Night Ablaze by Rowan Hill - really enjoyed this story. Our protagonist is disfigured, she’d been burned in a bushfire years ago, the fire that claimed her father. Now she lives with the scars and the loneliness - but a new ranch hand has started working in a neighbouring farm and she decides to go on a date with him, but things don’t go according to plan and there’s another bushfire to contend with. This story was moving and very chilling... I loved it!

Shell by Barrington Smith-Seetachitt - a story about body image that was told in a Black Mirror style - deeply engrossing and a real page turner, the idea behind this story is crazy good and reminded me of The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin in its execution.

From Scratch by Sonora Taylor - what a fabulous story, I don’t think there’s a story I don’t love of Sonora Taylor’s each one is bloody banging - and this one is a right treat! We’ve a main protagonist who loves to hurt things, or imagine hurting things, but she also loves cooking and pictures the faces of the people she hates in the meat that she’s tenderising or the carrots that look like fingers that she’s blitzing or chopping. She can’t help herself when she gets these urges, she needs to expel those thoughts somehow or she’ll act out her darkest thoughts... so she makes cobbler. It’s a brilliant story, the concept, the prose, the distinct voice and the comedy in it are marvellous! Another cracking story from Sonora Taylor - who’s proving to be one of my current favourite writers!

Invasive Species by Dawn DeBraal - Eco horror runs rampant with a story reminiscent of The Day Of The Triffids - I loved the suburban nature to this story, the backdrop that frames the nightmare, the story was quite simple and there was nothing really new brought to this trope (there are no twists - I knew what was going to happen with it the first few paragraphs), but I enjoyed the storytelling and characters.

Josephine by Michelle Renee Lane - I was surprised with the inclusion of this erotica / horror story. It is delivered tastefully and I enjoyed the look behind the curtain and the subtle exposure of the inner workings of the porn industry - it’s objectifying, abusing of women and racism. Such a cool idea done expertly well. A real change of pace to the anthology.

Lure by Catherine McCarthy - another beautifully haunting tale from McCarthy - this one told in 2nd person is a delight. McCarthy’s storytelling voice is so captivating and eloquent that I could read her words forever, also the work on place and location is irresistible - I felt as if I were there on the side of the lake with our protagonist, richly detailed and immersive!

The Thrill of the Hunt by Villimey Mist - I’ve not read any Villimey Mist other than her nocturnal series and although that’s great I’d love to see her tackling more topics outside of the vampiric - because this stuff is golden! A fusion of horror, abuse and mythology all rolled into one terrifying tale... more please!

Simba of the Suburbs by Ashley Burns - a change of pace for the collection and one that I felt I didn’t really connect with, the idea sounded great a child with some supernatural ability, but for me o didn’t click with it. I did enjoy the premise, the voice of the parents and story telling craft but it just wasn’t for me.

Rippers by Ellie Douglas - a creature feature on a speeding train, that’s the rollercoaster that Douglas brings us in this gripping story of the Rippers, I enjoyed the story but felt it was a little repetitive in places - but it was a very cool setting and the uniqueness of the creature was very cool.

Liked by Mocha Pennington - this is one of the best stories in this collection. Full of brilliant prose and nerve shredding prose, it deals with a captive woman breaking free from her captors - captors who reminded me of the Sawyer family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Brutal and brilliant. I’ll be looking up more work by Pennington for sure!

The Lady of the House by Yolanda Sfetsos - a lovely bit of gothic in this story which was also supported by some strong story telling prose. I loved the subtle melody of haunting that was sprinkled throughout.

Should Have Gone To Vegas by Janine Pipe - I loved the relationship between the two protagonists; the shit talking and wisecracking were spot on. I loved the feeling Janine was able to create with this offering, it screamed of films of the 80’s the plot straightforward, just business! The creature feature element was greatly accomplished and I loved that although we get a view of what this thing is Janine doesn’t spell it out to us - could it be a Sasquatch, a big foot or some Neanderthal being? You’ll have to read it to find out! If you like blood and cussing and an action story... this has it all in bucket loads.

Atla’s Journey by Carmen Baca - I enjoyed the storytelling narrative of this one, flowed really well and the protagonist were engaging... almost fable like in its execution.

Nightcrawler by Ushasi Sen Basu - an interesting story about the lengths an insomniac will go to in staving off boredom... cool idea but I feel there was more of a story to be told.

Little Sally Ann by Shawnna Deresch - one of my favourite horror sub-genres is the haunted house, I’ve only really discovered that recently with reading Andrew Cull’s ‘Remains’, Michael Clark’s ‘Patience of a Dead Man’ series and Beverley Lee’s ‘The Ruin Of Delicate Things’ and boy does Shawnna give us a mighty fine offering here to match those great books! I really enjoyed this offering and I’ll be searching out more of her work in due course! Haunting brilliance!

Bramblewood by Meg Hafdahl - do you ever read a story that leaves you breathless, not like wow that was brilliant; but physically leaves you panting for breath due to the tension and pacing of the story? (The last time I felt like that was reading Tyler Jones’ ‘Criterium’) Well Bramblewood has all that tension and more - and by goodness the creepy stuff abounds!

Cold Comfort by Amy Grech - a fabulous little story which in my opinion is full of prose magic and an acute ear for dialogue, the way these characters jumped out of the story was brilliant, they were living breathing entities - masterful work!

Kiss by R.A. Busby - I first came to know the name R.A. Busby from her Short Sharp Shock ‘Bits’ damn this woman can write good horror, it traverses the inner fears of the reader and snakes it’s way into your brain. Another stunning story that needs to be read far and wide, now I’m searching for what else I can get my hands on.

The Last Thread by Paula R.C. Readman - unfortunately I’m not a big space / planet / spaceship guy, so I didn’t really get on with this one (I skipped it after a few paragraphs), but I’m sure it’ll find its audience - that’s what I love about anthologies, the mix of styles and stories, they have something for everyone!

The Letter by Lydia Prime - interesting story, the joviality at the end of the story threw me a bit as before then the story is pretty nerve shredding and dark - ominous even.

Piano Keys And Sugar by Hadassah Shiradski - a harrowing little tale about a mother’s mental abuse of her daughter and how that daughter breaks out and free from that tyrannical rule.

Dear Meat by J Snow - this is a stunning story a very different flavour from the rest, dystopian, horror - brilliantly written and just swallowed me whole! Would love to see more stories set in this world... the prose in this story is beautiful and I’ll now be checking out more stories from J Snow!

The One That Got Away by Rebecca Rowland - the second person POV really helps this story hit the mark to conclude this enjoyable collection. I enjoyed this story and how it leaves the reader, in that state of looking over their shoulder.

Kandisha Press have produced a mighty fine offering here with ‘The One That Got Away’ - my favourite stories were KC Grifant, Sonora Taylor, Marsheila Rockwell, Catherine McCarthy and Janine Pipe.

It’s an interesting anthology that I enjoyed reading, as always there are stories I enjoyed more than others, there were some that just weren’t for me.

The only issue I found is that the anthology is a brick, it’s bloody massive! I feel that there were just too many stories in this book, but I appreciate what Kandisha are doing, amplifying female voices in horror, but having so many stories in one book was slightly daunting.

But that comes down to personal taste. If I’m honest I would have got around to reading this sooner if it had had less stories in it - you see when I write a review of an anthology I like to touch on each story in a review and doing this takes time, takes me away from whipping through a book and moving onto the next - and when I saw that it was such a big book I was like ‘I’m not ready for that yet!’ - but as I said it’s personal preference and I’m glad I read it and discovered some new voices and writers to champion!
Profile Image for Jennifer Soucy.
Author 9 books39 followers
February 15, 2021
I am a huge fan of horror anthologies and women writers, which makes the Kandisha Press books a perfect fit for me. I’ve waited for months for this follow-up to Graveyard Smash, Vol. 2, and now I’m kinda sad all the reading is done. But of course, the good news is I can re-read whenever I want (and I absolutely will, especially with my favorites of the bunch). Also check out the foreword by Gwendolyn Kiste, one of my favorite authors, who states so well why supporting women in horror is not only important but also a no-brainer when so much talent is out there, awaiting the attention it deserves.

This is such a diverse anthology, offering every type of horror imaginable. I was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of sci-fi and dystopian picks, a sub-genre I enjoy but definitely need to read more of in the future. Each of these writers are incredibly talented, some I already loved from previous stories—many featured in other volumes by Kandisha Press—but for the ones I hadn’t discovered until now... congrats, you have a new fan!

Because each of these stories is special, I want to briefly touch on them. I highly recommend this anthology to fans of any type of horror (I promise, your favorite subgenre will be represented somehow). And to anyone looking for #WIHM picks or who simply wants to read more from women horror writers, you need this book in your life.

“Heavy Metal Coffin” by Amira Krista Calvo – As a woman with a metal-loving, guitarist boyfriend, this story hit all the right notes for me (yeah, I know...punny. Couldn’t help myself!). This is a must-read for metal fans, a tale of the dark side of rock and the perils of obsession.

“Bodiless” by Faith Pierce – Inventive and highly disturbing story, perfect for fans of feminine dystopian nightmares like The Handmaid’s Tale. The lead character inspires a ton of empathy, and it was a surprisingly moving read.

“Minor Malfunction” by KC Grifant – A woman has a fancy new prosthetic, a red arm better than any she’s had before, but not everyone loves the addition as much as her. This was such a fun story with a great ending.

“The Incident on Asteroid 4 Pandora” by Stevie Kopas – A crew on a spaceship find an interesting new specimen, fascinating for them all—particularly a young scientist who’s being sexually harassed by a foul co-worker. Awesome ending, and ideal for fans of sci-fi/space horror.

“The Lady Crow” by Lucy Rose – A lonely, submissive housewife is visited by a pesky crow who seems to have a message, but what could it mean? One of the shorter offerings here, so I don’t want to give spoilers, but it’s definitely a cool read.

“The Recliner” by Marsheila Rockwell – A five-year-old boy’s terrified of the living room recliner, but Mama works all the time and has her own troubles. What can he do? I know, an evil chair doesn’t sound scary, but trust me, this kid has good reason to worry!

“Call of the Tide” by Demi-Louise Blackburn – A painter grows disconnected from the world, lost to her work, drifting from her husband and home, mesmerized by the ocean’s call. A haunting, beautifully atmospheric tale.

“Date Night Ablaze” by Rowan Hill – Dating often sucks, and this woman living in the Australian outback already has the odds stacked against her. Will this handsome ranch hand be the one or will she be disappointed again?

“Shell” by Barrington Smith-Seetachitt – An older woman visits a spa to rejuvenate her appearance and her life, gaining far more than she bargained for, but can she fix her problems just by making herself beautiful again? Such a cool story with a dark surprise at the end.

“From Scratch” by Sonora Taylor – We all have hobbies to keep us on the straight and narrow. For Heather, it’s cooking. But sometimes, even the best hobbies can’t fully satisfy. Omg, stop me from saying too much! I loved everything about this story. Sonora hit it out of the park again, for sure.

“Invasive Species” by Dawn DeBraal – A woman receives a mysterious packet of seeds in the mail, and why not give them a try? After all, the big gardening competition is coming up and she needs to beat her pesky neighbor. I’ve not read many stories about nature horror, but this one is awesome enough that I’ll search for more like it.

“Josephine” by Michelle Renee Lane – A celebrated porn star meets her match one night in Berlin, enthralled by her handsome new co-star. Could this lead to more than just a working relationship? I also really enjoyed this story, so inventive with a fun surprise at the end.

“Lure” by Catherine McCarthy – I love the creepiness of 2nd person PoV when it’s done right. This follows a fisherman with a dark secret, absolutely chilling and dripping with tension. If you’re not already a fan of Catherine McCarthy, this story will make you one.

“The Thrill of the Hunt” by Villimey Mist – A killer is out and about, looking to scratch his itch again. He finds the perfect victim, or so he thinks... Dark, twisty with a satisfying ending.

“Simba of the Suburbs” by Ashely Burns – Who doesn’t love stories about kids with special powers, especially when it leads to trouble? What a great read, something that would fit so well in The Twilight Zone.

“Rippers” by Ellie Douglas – Do you like gory, horrific monster tales? Did you love the fast-paced terror of Train to Busan (not that this has zombies, but it does have a train)? Hop into this story and brace yourself!

“Liked” by Mocha Pennington – A woman is trapped, a victim of online obsession she’s desperate to escape. This story was riveting, unsettling, and will keep you biting your nails til the very end.

“The Lady of the House” by Yolanda Sfetsos – I was hooked from the opening line: “When Spencer Mori first came into Ophelia’s life, she thought he was a real boy.” I’m already a fan of Yolanda, and her gorgeous gothic tale was a joy to read and reminded me of a classic fairy tale.

“Should Have Gone to Vegas” by Janine Pipe – Do you like buddy tales that go wrong? Fan of Adam Nevill’s The Ritual, perhaps, or unusual creatures? This story was laugh-out-loud funny, wickedly dark, and another reason why I will always read whatever Janine Pipe releases.

“Atla’s Journey” by Carmen Baca – I was delighted to discover this story, having thoroughly enjoyed “The Child” in Graveyard Smash which also stars Atla. If you loved that one, then I promise you’ll enjoy this too.

“Nightcrawler” by Ushasi Sen Basu – Ahhh, I don’t know how to describe this one without giving out spoilers. If you’re a fan of things that go bump in the night, stalking the darkness while we sleep, you should absolutely love this one!

“Little Sally Ann” by Shawnna Deresch – A couple on the rocks buy a new home together, preparing to flip it as they’ve done before. But something else lives there and has other plans... Such a cool twist on the haunted house story, perfect for fans of HGTV!

“Bramblewood” by Meg Hafdahl – A girl walks away from her toxic boyfriend, fed up and ready to hitchhike her way to a new life. Maybe she’s found a way out at last? Another nail-biter, and I can’t reveal much but this is creepy as hell.

“Cold Comfort” by Amy Grech – A man wakes up after a wild one-night stand, and the consequences definitely deviate from the expected path. Catchy and different, another with an ending I didn’t see coming.

“Kiss” by R.A. Busby – A doctor recalls a story of his “most terrifying patient” over drinks with friends, all happily ensconced by the fire. Beautifully gothic, reminiscent of a Poe story, this one will stick with you long after reading.

“The Last Thread” by Paula R.C. Readman – Another entertaining mix of sci-fi and horror, complete with space pirates, a distress call from a seemingly abandoned place, a mysterious woman, and a pilot desperate to save his trusty ship. Fun for all!

“The Letter” by Lydia Prime – A pregnant woman receives a mysterious letter in a black envelope, and her bright world is turned suddenly upside down. I’ve never been pregnant, but I can imagine this story will resurrect the worst nightmares of any expectant mothers.

“Piano Keys and Sugar” by Hadassah Shiradski – Two children cling to each other, hiding from the torments of their cruel mother. This one is brutal but wrapped in dreamlike prose, perfect for fans of the darkest fairy tales like myself.

“Dear Meat” by J Snow – A dystopian nightmare unfolds, a world where overpopulation demands drastic and horrifying rules from the oppressive government. This one grips hard and doesn’t let go, absolutely engrossing.

“The One That Got Away” by Rebecca Rowland – Remember how I mentioned above that I love 2nd person POV when done right? Well yeah, this is another great example. Creepy, sinister, and yet kinda playful as if the story is a cat and you’re the mouse. Wonderful pick to wrap up the entire fantastic anthology!
Profile Image for Yvonne (The Coycaterpillar Reads).
653 reviews199 followers
May 21, 2021
‘The One that Got Away’ is a deliciously dark and devilish anthology of women in horror. The third anthology published by Kandisha Press, this collection delivers stories that will have you looking over your shoulder, double checking your door is locked and even thinking twice about that blind date! The narratives contained within always deliver on that feeling of unease. There are chills aplenty with the intelligence that resonates with taking stock of a situation. If this anthology proves anything, it's that horror is no longer a man's game. Women can deliver the gore, fear and devastation. Buckle up, you’re in for a hell of a ride!

So many of these stories kept my black heart racing with their imagery, raw brutality and edginess. I’m going to talk about a few of the stories that really stood for me but let it be known that there wasn’t a bad tale contained within ‘The One That Got Away’. This is Kandisha’s strongest offering to date.

Bodiless by Faith Pierce was the first story that made me gasp with its ending. The story is about shadow women having no bodies. They live life in their ethereal form whilst their bodies lie under protection in an institution. This arrangement doesn’t change until the women meet a mate. Their bodies aren’t a gift for the waiting women, it is simply a present to their mate. Grace, the protagonist, fights off a group of men trying to defile her body. Another man scares them off only for Grace to have her body stolen by him instead. This is a raw story that highlights the many ways women have been objects to men, a possession to be owned. Its an emotion evoking story that will resonate with many readers.

Dear Meat by J Snow…. absolutely phenomenal. A wholly frightening dystopian story. This story was well developed and came across as a labour of love. So many themes running throughout its epicenter - ideas of predator and prey, class systems (to name a few?). J Snow is an author I need to read more of.

The Lady Crow by Lucy Rose. Meriweather is stuck in a loveless marriage. Her husband is on the abusive side. She meets a crow that will put a twist on things. A story of escape and resentment. Gritty and superbly executed.

Bramblewood by Meg Hafdahl. I’m convinced that this author is the Queen of tension. A story that I wanted more of. My fingers couldn’t turn the pages of this story fast enough. Tense and eerie. It put the final nail in my coffin!

Date Night Ablaze by Rowan Hill. Kate takes revenge on a blind date gone wrong. The atmosphere and buildup of the story really gave me the Kill Bill vibes. The clock is ticking. This was so good.

The Thrill of the Hunt by Villimey Mist. It's got to be said, this author has a unique and special narrative voice. I would go as far as to say she’s on par with the feelings I had when I originally read Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I will be picking up her work as a matter of urgency.

From Scratch by Sonora Taylor. I don’t think anyone does imagery better than Sonora. Some of the lines contained in this story had more than one lady-like snort escaping… “Brussels sprouts smells like broccoli died in a diaper.” The stories this author creates always stay with you.

Lure by Catherine McCarthy. Anyone that knows me, knows that I always fall in love with McCarthy’s storytelling. Although she writes about the macabre and the chilling, it reminds me of everything about home. It is rustic and original. I always picture hearing her stories around a firepit. Lure is addictive and penetrating.

Should Have Gone to Vegas by Janine Pipe. Pipe just keeps getting better and better. This is the author that has made me realise that horror is not just a man’s game. The profanity, the gore and darkness of her vision is superior. Pipe writes creature features with heart and depravity.
Profile Image for Raechel.
424 reviews22 followers
February 24, 2021
Disclaimer: I won an ebook copy through a contest online.

This is a great mix of horror stories! There's a real gamut of variety in horror, including some sci-fi horror, erotic horror, Lovecraftian-themed, haunted house, psychological, and more! My biggest criticism is that 30 stories is a lot for an anthology, I think it could have been trimmed down a bit. I don't read a lot of anthologies because I typically want more out of them. But this was still a great anthology featuring a ton of awesome authors!

Heavy Metal Coffin - a very cool look at relationships, obsession, and passions.

Bodiless - this reminded me a bit of a Shirley Jackson story, I really liked it.

Minor Malfunction - a cool slightly sci-fi transhuman story.

The Incident on Asteroid 4 Pandora - this felt a little heavy-handed in the beginning, but what an ending! I don't read enough sci-fi horror.

The Lady Crow - gave me Tim Burton vibes.

The Recliner - a surprisingly spooky story about an evil chair and a boy trying to save his mom.

Call of the Tide - some Lovecraftian vibes here and a lot of unspoken tension between husband and wife.

Date Night Ablaze - this one was pretty cool, the lead woman is someone I would not want to mess with.

Shell - another Shirley Jackson-esque story, so good!!

From Scratch - not for the squeamish.

Invasive Species - this one reminded me of a B-movie horror film from the 80s in a good way.

Josephine - the erotic horror story of this collection, which surprised me, but I really understood what the author was going for & got serious chills.

Lure - such a fantastic, layered story.

The Thrill of the Hunt - creepy narrator and revenge.

Simba of the Suburbs - kids are just creepy.

Rippers - this one was a little too frantic for my liking, but I liked the story the author was telling.

Liked - honestly one of my personal fears and the author did a great job exploring it.

The Lady of the House - another story that had Burton vibes, I liked the history playing out.

Should Have Gone to Vegas - bizarre but I loved being surprised and horrified.

Atla's Journey - I think the structure of this story could benefit from some work, but witch stories are always interesting!

Nightcrawler - absolutely creeped me out, great pacing!

Little Sally Ann - haunted house AND a creepy kid!

Bramblewood - one of the creepiest stories in this collection!

Cold Comfort - I didn't quite get this one but still an interesting read.

Kiss - So creepy! Reminded me of an old Poe story.

The Last Thread - another sci-fi/horror with a surprising ending!

Piano Keys and Sugar - like a paranormal Hansel and Gretel retelling.

The Letter - Unexpected and left me wanting more!

Dear Meat - ughhhh gross and creepy!

The One That Got Away - one of the two second-person narrations, cool and creepy and low-key threatening.
Profile Image for Karla Kay.
339 reviews50 followers
January 31, 2021
February is Women in Horror Month and what better way to celebrate than to read a complete anthology uniquely written by 30 different women from all around the world. Each story centers around the theme of 'The One That Got Away'. There are elements of horror, post-apocalyptic, science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and tales of love and revenge.

Edited by Jill Girardi
Forward by Gwendolyn Kiste
Published by Kandisha Press
Recommended reading by Frightgirl Summer

Contributing Authors and their stories:

1. Heavy Metal Coffin by Amira Krista Calvo
2. Bodiless by Faith Pierce
3. Minor Malfunction by KC Grifant
4.The Incident On Asteroid 4 Pandora by Stevie Kopas
5. The Lady Crow by Lucy Rose
6. The Recliner by Marsheila Rockwell
7. Call of the Tide by Demi-Louise Blackburn
8. Date Night Ablaze by Rowan Hill
9. Shell by Barrington Smith-Seetachitt
10. From Scratch by Sonora Taylor
11. Invasive Species by Dawn DeBraal
12. Josephine by Michelle Renee Lane
13. Lure by Catherine McCarthy
14. The Thrill of the Hunt by Villimey Mist
15. Sings of the Suburbs by Ashley Burns
16. Rippers by Ellie Douglas
17. Liked by Mocha Pennington
18. The Lady of the House by Yolanda Sfetsos
19. Should Have Gone to Vegas by Janine Pipe
20. Atla's Journey by Carmen Baca
21. Nightcrawler by Usashi Sen Basu
22. Little Sally Ann by Shawnna Deresch
23. Bramblewood by Meg Hafdahl
24. Cold Comfort by Amy Grech
25. Kiss by R.A. Busby
26. The Last Thread by Paula R.C. Readman
27. The Letter by Lydia Prime
28. Piano Keys and Sugar by Hadassah Shiradski
29. Dear Meat by J Snow
30. The One That Got Away by Rebecca Rowland

I really enjoyed reading this compilation of short stories. New voices of women authors to keep a look out for in the future. Their style of writing clearly shined through. Really great stories and lots of fun to read!

A huge thank you to Janine Pipe and Kandisha Press for sending me a complimentary copy for an honest review.

Profile Image for Brennan LaFaro.
Author 11 books73 followers
April 11, 2021
Kandisha returns with the third volume in their women-only series of horror short fiction, a line that I’ve enjoyed watching grow from a really cool idea to an eagerly anticipated series in just a few books. Editor Jill Girardi does a great job of mixing well-known names within the horror genre with up-and-comers (I think I’ve heard of them before, now I have an excuse to read their stuff) with brand-new names. Every installment I’ve read I’ve found something from all three categories that grabbed my attention and doomed my book-buying budget. It’s commendable that with the attention these anthologies have garnered, Kandisha is still making it a priority to shine the light on who’s next.

The theme for number three is The One That Got Away, giving us a group of stories revolving around finals girls, survivors, and a myriad of other things that will leave you smiling at how creative each author was at utilizing the theme. There were some stories in the anthology that didn’t work for me, and in a book that spans almost 400 pages, that’s to be expected. What’s great is that the majority did, so let’s talk about a handful of those.

The new-to-me: “Heavy Metal Coffin”, from Amira Krista Calvo, is that quintessential hard-hitting, fast-paced opening number. It’s creepy and graphic with well-laid visceral descriptions that made me want to read more by this author. KC Grifant’s “Minor Malfunction” fuses sci-fi and horror, taking the ‘one that got away’ theme to a new and intriguing place.

“Date Night Ablaze” from Aussie author Rowan Hill was a major stand-out in the book. One of those pieces where you don’t just flip the last page and say “neat”, rather you need to read what else this writer has to offer. “Little Sally Ann” by Shawnna Deresch is the one that’s going to put goosebumps all up and down your arms. Creepy as all hell with some terrific surprises for readers.

In the Hey, I’ve seen your name before category: Dawn DeBraal’s “Invasive Species” excelled with a ripped-from-the-headlines type story, not usually my favorite, but executed too well to ignore here. I’ve seen Villimey Mist around, and I’ve wanted to read her stuff. I dove into my first chance with a fervor. Mist mixes unflinching horror with mythology, and I’m a sucker for that. Bramblewood, from Meg Hafdahl, another author I’ve seen making the rounds and was delighted for an excuse to read their work, didn’t disappoint. Sometimes you note the author’s choice of narration (first-person in this case) and realize the story couldn’t have been told any other way. Hafdahl takes a story you think you’ve heard before and gives it a brand-new pair of legs. Not to be missed.

Old friends: Sonora Taylor has been in the last two volumes and she has a way with short fiction that speaks to me. “From Scratch” is so reminiscent of her voice that I could almost hear Sonora reading it to me. Michelle Renee Lane’s “Josephine” is a little longer than most, but held my attention the whole time. So different than her entry in volume two, and it almost borders on erotica, which is not my go-to genre, but it’s done in such an engaging way, I couldn’t put it down.

“Lure” from Catherine McCarthy, is in second-person, which when done well earns a star from me off the bat. McCarthy does it well, rest assured. This is a deep one, no pun intended, and demands multiple reads to see what this author is really capable of. “Should Have Gone to Vegas” by Janine Pipe is a fantastic showcase for her style. Admittedly, it didn’t hit me as hard as her story in the last volume, but it retained her storytelling voice while not retreading familiar ground, making me very excited to see what she can do in her upcoming collection.

If you’ve read this far, you know that the can’t-miss far outweighs the can. I’ll keep saying that women are kicking all of the ass in horror right now, and if you don’t realize that, you’re not paying attention. These anthologies put a spotlight on just a fraction of the women you should be reading, and The One That Got Away is no exception.

I received a copy from the publisher for review consideration.
Profile Image for Stephen Howard.
Author 10 books6 followers
February 28, 2021
Don’t let this one get away...

There’s something for everyone in this collection. Haunted houses, feminist space horror, vengeful gods, fishing trips gone awry, dystopian futures of manufactured scarcity, not-so-perfect neighbourhoods... I could go on. There simply isn’t a weak story. With each new tale you’re fully sold on the concept, setting, and storytelling.

I began picking out my favourites to highlight them here. By the time I was writing an eighth story title, I gave up. So, in conclusion, all I can really say is this: buy it, read it, love it.
Profile Image for Hail Hydra! ~Dave Anderson~.
166 reviews48 followers
October 6, 2022
And me? Oh, I'll be simply devastated to learn of your passing. You were so kind to help a stranger in need, and so personable once we met... and of course, the fringe benefits were lovely as well. But I'm off to the bank: I want to make a quick transaction before the sun sets and it gets really chilly. I never know how my car locks will perform once the wind starts blowing. Look for me, and you’ll glance right past me. I hide in plain sight. I'm the one that got away... over and over again.
Profile Image for Denver Grenell.
Author 14 books17 followers
March 23, 2021
The One That Got Away: Kandisha Press Women Of Horror Anthology Vol. 3

Heavy Metal Coffin by Amira Christi Colvo

I love me some heavy metal horror & this story concerns a possessed Mexican guitar & it’s supernatural effect on the musician Miguel, who buys it. We follow Tatiana, who is pregnant with Miguel’s child & is concerned with his obsession with his demonic axe. This is a dark & creepy tale, with a Latino angle & a great start to this anthology.

Bodiless by Faith Pierce

This story has an ambitious idea that is a bit murky in execution but interesting & affecting, despite this. Reminds me of a supernatural Handmaids Tale. I think it would do well in a longer format to explore the ideas more fully.

Minor Malfunction by KC Grifant

A sleek bit of tech horror here with a woman who is getting used to her new mechanical arm in a near future where a number of people are born without limbs. Nicely sets up the world & how the afflicted are viewed as an other, despite the normalisation of the tech. Even though you know where it’s going to end up it doesn’t detract from the effectiveness of it .

The Incident On Asteroid 4 by Pandora Stevie Kopas.

Taking elements of Alien & other sci-fi horror this story shows that harrassment & abuse is more threatening than the alien life form a deep space crew discover. Also the fear of being stuck in space with a scumbag for months on end is terrifying. This story puts a modern spin on a well worn genre & freshens it up. It also has a very satisfying ending (to the story & a certain POS character).

The Lady Crow by Lucy Rose

A 1950’s housewife finds freedom from the unlikeliest of sources in this stately tale, which while not really my cup of tea style wise, continues the thematic thread of the anthology & again, wraps things up with a nice little ending.

The Recliner by Marsheila Rockwell

This one is a dark fairytale about a demonic recliner chair, which while hard to grasp as a real threat, makes sense from the POV of a child, who believes it killed his grandfather & is now after him & his mother. Evokes the imagination & fears of a young boy & won me over by the end.

Call Of The Tide by Demi-Louise Blackburn

This was a fantastic story about a couple making a fresh start in a home by the sea. We get the sense of some unspoken event in their recent past before the woman hears a song calling to her from the sea. Beautifully written, this is my fave so far.

Date Night Ablaze by Rowan Hill

Great setting in the Australian outback during bushfire season & a cool idea is marred by some awkward writing & a failure to utilise the backdrop both physically & thematically. Still has potential - could see this as a short film or expanded into a longer narrative.

Shell by Barrington Smith-Seetachitt

A woman goes to a facility for some sort of beauty treatment, which remains somewhat vague until after the procedure. Loved this story, particularly the ending. Thematically resonant. Would make a great episode of Black Mirror or a similarly creepy sci-fi anthology show.

From Scratch by Sonora Taylor

This was a vivid & icky slice of body horror involving food. The language is visceral & queasy. I was expecting more of a jab at the end but this was an effective, sometimes sickening (in a good way) story.

Invasive Species by Dawn DeBraal

This story gets points for setting an invasive plant horror in the world of garden competitions. Though not what I’d normally gravitate towards, it’s got good idea, well told & with a dark sense of humour.

Josephine by Michelle Renee Lane

Takes the Dracula template & applies it to the porn industry, with a vamp porn star who becomes obsessed with his costar who reminds him of a former flame. The dialogue feels a bit arch at times, but the themes are strong & the mix of horror & erotic is well handled.

Lure by Catherine McCarthy

The first ‘fishing horror’ story I’ve read where a fisherman with a dark secret becomes obsessed with an old lure he snares on his line. Nice writing & character study here with a satisfying conclusion.

The Thrill Of The Hunt by Villimey Mist
combines a serial killer with a mythological figure in a tale of revenge. Short, sweet & another satisfying example of justice for the victims of the killer.

Simba Of The Suburbs by Ashley Burns

Carrie meets Dr Doolittle here, & while the writing didn’t quite get there for me, the author tells a complete story in only so many pages & leaves you wanting more, which is also a good thing.

Rippers by Ellie Douglas

Sorry to say that this story didn’t work for me with its abundance of on the nose similes, not great dialogue & an ending that wasn’t set up well enough to land. But it did have a sense of gory fun to it with its alien slug zombies on a train vibes. And I did read it on a train too.

Liked by Mocha Pennington

A dark thrilling tale involving a woman captured & taken to a remote cabin. Seethes with the injustice of her captivity & culminates in righteous, well earned vengeance.

The Lady Of The House Yolanda Sfetsos

An enjoyably dark fairytale of skeleton people with flesh masks & lost souls of the dead trapped in a house & an unrequited love between a girl & one of the Bone people. A nice change of pace from the previous stories.

Should Have Gone To Vegas by Janine Pipe

Two men on a hunting trip stumble across
‘something’ in the woods. What I liked in this story was the relationship between the 2 characters & their banter - it felt realistic & built a nice sense of history before the bloodletting started.

Atla’s Journey by Carmen Baca

This impressive Latin horror story had a jarring beginning with dead bodies & spirits but then settles into a sinister tale packed with a lot of detail & a rich sense of history.

Nightcrawler by Ushasi Sen Basu

Nice writing in this story about a person with a proclivity for sneaking into unlocked apartments in the building where they live. The first person perspective helps justifiy their actions which later reveals a supernatural element. Light horror with a twist.

Little Sally Ann by Shawnna Deresch

A haunted house story with a wicked 70’s horror movie sensibility. A DIY TV show presenter & her husband move into a doer-Upper in an attempt to save their marriage, but his mistress & the spirit that dwells in the house have other plans. Good fun.

Bramblewood by Meg Hafdahl

In a strong anthology this was a standout - a Texan woman hitches a ride away from her no good boyfriend & spends a night in the titular suburb. A twisted story excellently told.

Cold Comfort by Amy Grech

This story reads like a cheesy 90’s erotic thriller and not in a good way - unlikeable characters doing bad things to each other. Wasn’t feeling this one.

Kiss by R.A. Busby

Another highlight of the anthology, Kiss is a great piece of late 19th Century gothic with a hint of cosmic horror. A doctor receives a visit from a woman who hides her face behind a white veil. When he finds out what’s behind the veil, his life is changed for good.

The Last Thread by Paula R.C. Readman

Familiar but cool sci-fi with a twist of horror, this story adds some variety to the anthology. Like the best stories in here, it creates a world in a short space of time, one populated by space pirates, a mysterious woman & lethal aliens.

The Letter by Lydia Prime

A pregnancy horror story that goes where you least expect it. Well written, very bloody & with a (mean) streak of black comedy running through it. The ending is a riot!

Piano Keys And Sugar by Hadassah Shiradski

A twisted fairy tale with ghostly siblings, piano music & a witch. Dark & interesting with a fiery ending.

Dear Meat by J Snow

A near future parable about population control & food resources, this tale almost tried to do too much in the short space but won me over in the end when the story re-focused on the personal.

The One That Got Away by Rebecca Rowland

A fitting end to a great anthology, this story is told from the POV of a femme fatale, detailing the ease with which she carries out her liaisons with various men & the means she will go to to get what she wants.

Final thoughts: a fantastic anthology with a lot of varied voices and stories. Way more hits than misses for me & one of the stronger anthologies I’ve read in a while. Highly recommended.

Profile Image for Steph.
235 reviews38 followers
February 9, 2021
The One that Got Away is a fun-filled deep dive into the horrific minds of many amazing female horror authors. It was a perfect read for Women In Horror Month. A great way to celebrate women writers.

All the stories were wonderful and unique. Here were some of the highlights for me:

I loved Bramblewood by Meg Hafdahl. Her world building was wonderful and the juxtaposition between the “wrong side of the tracks” and suburbia was perfect. The suburban world complete with perfect wife, doctor husband and lots of potpourri set the stage for some amazing psychological horror.

Should Have Gone to Vegas by Janine Pipe was a blood fueled gore fest and I loved it. On one level I understood that these guys were “innocent” although the one dude was an unfaithful jerk. But on another level I felt a kinship with these awesomely powerful female creatures who are able to tear apart their foes. Maybe I’m just weird...haha.

Dear Meat by J. Snow was twisted and surprising. I love a good dystopia and this one proved to be one of the more troubling dystopias I’ve read. A bunch of powerful men trying to solve the problem of over population. And of course the answer is...cannibalism? Of course...why didn’t I think of that?

5 stars. Fantastic stories of horror!
Profile Image for Sarah Huntington.
Author 22 books68 followers
February 21, 2021
Exceptional stories. All of them. I loved every single one. My favorites were Lure, Should have gone to Vegas, and The Lady Crow. But the rest were still absolutely fantastic. Not one poor story in this collection.
Profile Image for Dona Fox.
Author 108 books36 followers
February 1, 2021
I really liked this book. All of the stories are well-written horror that depicts women from different points of view. And there were broad interpretations of who exactly was The One That Got Away. Very Interesting.

Sometimes the first sentence and the first paragraph are so intriguing I didn’t want to read any further; I just wanted to stay in that bubble of weirdness the author had created. Some of the tales were sad, distressing, and angry-making. There are women with cads for boyfriends; I remember one SOB I hated with a purple passion kind of hate–that tells you how good the writing must be to make me feel so rabid.

Women change in these stories, sometimes physically, painfully, and sometimes they descend/ascend to something else. There are jealous, controlling, domineering wives and clingy, helpless women. You’ll find a woman as an enabler and an opportunistic woman. Women are shown both as fighters and goddesses. There are powerful little girls and spooky girls.

Some stories are wistful, others will make you want to read everything that author has ever written (Sonora Taylor, I’m looking at you), some tales will make you feel hot, many that will give you nightmares, stories where the author had fun fitting in little puzzle pieces-references to classic horror-that may make you smile, and revenge stories. I thought I didn’t like space stories that much, but there are two in this book that I loved.

There are haunting closings, twist endings, and something even more than a twist–an ending that flipped my brain. And maybe, if we’re lucky, some that will be continued… (Janine Pipe)

Pick three or five, they say:
Kiss by R.A. Busby is a heck of a story told by a doctor in a gentleman’s club about a woman whose head is covered in a thin white material with a red ribbon tied around her neck. She seems to have no face. She’s been following him. The end of the story is unexpected. I loved this one for the style, the tone, the setting, the quality of the writing, and the story itself.

The Last Thread by Paula R.C. Readman is a story set in space. I groaned. Then I loved it. Our scoundrel, chased by pirates for the money he owes them, answers a distress call – see, he’s a good guy at heart – finds a beautiful woman alone on a planet with a bunch of wrecked ships – from which he might scavenge the part he needs for his old rust-bucket. But something’s off on this planet, and here come the pirates. It’s a great read.

The Letter by Lydia Prime was another great story. A pregnant woman has everything ready for her baby boy’s arrival; then a black envelope arrives on her doorstep telling her that her son will be an evil warlord and all hell breaks loose. Great ending.

Rippers by Ellie Douglas – A couple of strangers, man and woman, are trapped on a speeding train with intermittent lighting and a lot of bloody dead bodies as giant slug-like monsters threaten to attack them. Tons of tension, so much action, and the cast of characters–the jealous, controlling, domineering wife and the clingy, helpless woman—see we are looking at all sides of women in this anthology. Perfect ending. Well written.

Who knows what’s going on in a child’s mind? I loved the time spent inside the mind of the imaginative five-year-old boy in The Recliner by Marsheila Rockwell, the detailed description of the art he created to save his mother, and the haunting ending. One of my favorites.

It’s so hard to leave the other stories behind. Heavy Metal Coffin - Amira Krista Calvo nailed it. Lure by Catherine McCarthy – a fantastic fisherman story – violent, dangerous. The Lady of The House by Yolanda Sfetsos.

Profile Image for TJ Price.
65 reviews8 followers
February 10, 2021
Kandisha's whole motivation for publishing this kind of anthology is to put a spotlight on women in horror, which is a fine goal, and worthy of praise. There are a few authors which I may not have encountered, were it not for this volume (and the one that preceded it), and for that I'm very thankful. There are also stories included in here which boggle my mind. The tone of them all ranges from confusingly haphazard and seemingly unfinished to confident, assured and polished.

This is an anthology of thirty stories, all loosely grouped around a central theme of "the one that got away." And when I say loosely, I mean ... very loosely. Some of the stories included only refer to the theme once, or tack it on in a final line, as though the story was previously written and then submitted with a minor adjustment, just to be considered for selection. Some of them require great stretches of imagination to link to the overarching theme. Many of these stories are also very, very long. Two of them in particular are split into numbered sections or headed with "chapter titles," and some of them are well over 5,000 words.

Kandisha Press is doing great things for women in horror, and beyond that, for independent writers, by creating this anthologized showcase, but if you're looking for a selectively edited anthology, this is not it. In essence, this is a potpourri of writing - there's something for everyone, though for some, it may take a bit of mining. There's gore and violence, there's nuanced takes on fractured psychology, there are period pieces, there's erotica, there's sci-fi and dark fantasy... There's also extremely explicit descriptions of sex, in some of the stories, and some of it feels a bit gratuitous.

I'd also like to make mention of the fact that there is a lot of stereotypical masculine behavior in these pages. Perhaps this is backlash for the fact that men have written women stereotypically for nigh-on since the Epic of Gilgamesh, but the proliferation of stereotypes doesn't do anything to help strengthen a story - in fact, it rather weakens it, in my opinion. There are, of course, exceptions, as in some horror movies, where one sets up a group of unlikeable people to die hideous deaths (so that the audience can rejoice in their moral superiority) and one could certainly argue that is the case for some of these stories. But I think it's worth nothing that there is a good amount of male characters who are just cruel bastards for no real reason other than to serve as the object of a supernatural revenge.

I read every story, and the following five are the ones which really stood out to me:

Call of the Tide, by Demi-Louise Blackburn - This seems to be the first one that really seems to consider the overarching theme of “The One That Got Away”… and then subverts it, all in service to a story that is genuinely creepy and soaked in dread. This story is more like a watercolor than it is an acrylic, daubing and washing with both the passage of time and the subject of adultery in nuanced, emotional ways. I felt empathy for both of these characters, and whereas I’m not sure that their fates were entirely earned, the title points us to the reason why: sometimes the call, be it of the tide or the hope of love, is just too strong. The last line is thrilling, and you don’t see any of it coming. Reminded me of a lot of Adam Nevill’s work, especially The Reddening.

Shell, by Barrington Smith-Seetachitt - This story surprised me. The idea, the setup, the characters, all flowed together with a really well-dripped suspense. The dramatic device used towards the end, for the reveal, didn’t work as well as I wanted it to, and I feel like the transition there could have been a bit smoother, but the story itself is enough to carry this through, despite that small hiccup. It caught me in a surprisingly vulnerable place – that eerie zone where nostalgia and be-careful-what-you-wish for intersect. This author is new to me, but I will be looking for more of their work after reading this.

From Scratch, by Sonora Taylor - Sonora’s entry in the last Kandisha anthology, The Clockmaker, was one of the ones that really stayed with me after I finished the volume, so I was excited to get to this story. I was not let down. This story is playful with its language, delighting in using culinary metaphor and analogy to evoke the horrific, and the imagery alone is worth the visit. Tightly written and glazed with mordant humor, the story is set up like a five-course meal – each course is a snapshot of a life lived in the shackles of suppressing an innate (albeit anti-social) appetite. Each morsel is more intense than the one prior – and like the best meal, it leaves you wanting more of its uniquely crafted flavor.

Lure, by Catherine McCarthy - “Lure” is stylized and sophisticated, with lush language and a hinted-at backstory that isn’t dropped on the reader all at once but fed out cannily, rather like…well, the line on a fishing reel. This story is written in the second-person – a divisive styling, but one that I personally love – and also composed largely of fragments, like a constant tremor is underlying the prose. As a result, the reader is subjected to an uncanny sense of instability, as though the ground could give way beneath your feet at any moment. This then does double-duty, as it mimics the erratic thought process of the protagonist, and provides a really clever immersive effect that reminded me a lot of some of Tana French’s writing. The ending felt like it could have been a little more resonant, though – I feel like the reader is given clues to one mystery, but then the story suddenly becomes about another. There’s a piece missing, but I’m not sure where or what it is. Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed it – especially the descriptions of the surrounding nature, and the way it evolves to mirror the protagonist’s deepening unease.

Kiss, by R.A. Busby - I first discovered this author in the last volume, with her stunningly creepy and remarkably assured story about trypophobia, "Holes." It was easily the strongest story in the entire anthology, standing out far and away from all the rest. "Kiss" shows me that the author is incredibly versatile (and certainly does her research - the period details are phenomenal!) - putting a disturbing story of cosmic horror in a tale-told flashback framing device that feels natural and even heightens the dramatic tension as the story unwinds. It instantly rings the old Edgar Allan Poe bell, flirts with the tone of Hawthorne and Lovecraft, and yet is uniquely its own piece. I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that it literally gave me goosebumps when I finished. There's something, too, about the metaphor of addiction, beneath the cosmic horror, and (perhaps appropriately) I've got a craving to read it again...and anything else Busby's written.

For these five stories alone (and of course, to support an independent press with a hard-working editor), I'd say this anthology is worth reading. With so many to choose from, you may find something within that fits your predilection - and even if you only find one new writer or story that you love, this particular anthology's goal has been accomplished.
Profile Image for Justin Montgomery.
Author 2 books8 followers
April 27, 2021
The One That Got Away features 30 tales by women, all centered on the theme of “The One That Got Away”. Curated by the wildly talented and powerhouse storyteller Jill Girardi of Kandisha Press & with a foreword by the fantastic Gwendolyn Kiste, this enormous anthology was a treat to sink my teeth into. I’m a big fan of the long short story, and, thankfully, this anthology contained them in droves!

Each story collected puts a unique spin on the theme, even when discussing similar subjects—after all, with such a focused theme, it’s inevitable—and each author has put their heart and soul into the stories here. What it means to be a woman and the terrors they face on a daily basis are discussed at length, whether it’s on our familiar Earth or across the breadth of time and space. I enjoyed such a deep dive into the female lens, seeing how the female experience alters how the world and others are perceived.

The authors here, as I stated before, put their all into these stories, and it shows. There are many scenes that still stick in my mind. I doubt I’ll ever again get on a train and be calm. I’ll never again walk past a crow without a sidelong glance. Hell, even the recliner in my living room is now suspect.

As with any anthology, some stories impacted me more than others. There isn’t a bad story among those collected, although a few have multiple spelling, formatting, and grammatical errors. Some of the stories felt as if they needed one more draft to really be a slam dunk, creating moments of frustration and ambiguity on the reader’s part—more so because the content is engaging throughout, and reworking some stories to aid with visualization of events/actions/creatures would go a long way, because every story has a kickass premise that sometimes becomes muddled by the language. The stories are still enjoyable, but missed the Killshot they could have been. Even still, those stories which could use some tuning also contain some really fantastic prose, so it’s a wash, I suppose.

As I said, there isn’t a bad story in this anthology. Personal favorites:

• Bodiless by Faith Pierce

• Minor Malfunction by KC Grifant

• The Incident on Asteroid 4 Pandora by Stevie Kopas

• Call of the Tide by Demi-Louise Blackburn

• Bramblewood by Meg Hafdhal

• Liked by Mocha Pennington

• Dear Meat by J Snow.

• Little Sally Ann by Shawnna Deresch

My absolute favorite stories in the collection were Lure by Catherine McCarthy and Kiss by R. A. Bubsy. These two need to be in a Norton anthology. Phenomenal tales. Like, classic literature great. Like, these stories need to be in classrooms for the next hundred years.

Those that weren’t listed are still awesome stories. If you take anything away from this review, it should be that this anthology rocks and you need to read it.

Don’t let this anthology be the one that got away. These stories are haunting, and the women here have some gruesome stories to tell, should you be brave enough to listen.

Profile Image for Caoimhín Paor.
Author 2 books3 followers
February 22, 2021
I really loved this anthology; with 30 stories total, there are representations from just about every genre (romance, horror, sci-fi/dystopia, fantasy), all of them excellent, making it a really worthwhile pick up. I wish I could write about all of them, as I enjoyed all of the stories and there is definitely something in this for everyone - that said, here are some of my favourites:

Heavy Metal Coffin (Amira Krista Catus): The anthology opens with a bang; this story had fantastic descriptions, especially in its amazing ending, where - despite perfect accounts of the unfolding horror - it was still really difficult to imagine just exactly what was occurring; truly an indescribable nightmare. Amira has an in-depth musical knowledge but conveys important items and ideas accessibly, so readers with little terminology will still love the music and horror woven together (literally!).

Lady Crow (Lucy Rose): I loved the quiet, quaint setting of this story, which is shattered with the story's final gruesome descriptions. The story transforms from endearing period drama into visceral horror with little warning - I felt like a rug had been pulled from under me. The narrators inner voice and the prose are both excellent, and the piece plays out very cinematically, like a screenplay for a short-film (which makes perfect sense, given the author's background in film). Without giving much away, I adore stories like this, where the narrative circles around in a seemingly endless loop, making the reader groan - Oh no, we've done this before, haven't we?

Call of the Tide (Demi-Louise Blackburn): This story is beautiful, with a very confident author's voice. The narrators inner thoughts and the prose had me entranced. I grew up near the sea and I loved the descriptions of the beach here, the shells and creatures, which took me right back. The story provides a healing escapism to its main character, both through the canvas and through the ocean, which was bittersweet to read.

Shell (Barrington Smith-Seetachitt): A brief but perfectly told Twilight Zone/Black Mirror style story, where a woman undergoes a procedure with unforeseen consequences. Short and sweet with a sad twist, impressively contained within a few pages. A new benchmark for me in what a short story can do. I really liked this and am hungry to find more of the authors work.

Josephine (Micelle Renee Lane): one of the more R-rated stories in the collection! This was one hell of a ride, very well written, with the main characters having an excellent cat-and-mouse back-and-forth in their dialogue. I really enjoyed the wits and witticisms they both had. Michelle pens some very graphic descriptions in this piece without batting an eyelid; the subject matter is explicit, but it works when it's handled this straight and confidently.
Profile Image for Justin Lewis.
79 reviews45 followers
November 11, 2021
* I read this as part of my #KandishaCountdown to Vol. 4, DON'T BREAK THE OATH the came out on 10/31/21.

When you hear the phrase "the one that got away", what do you normally think of? For me, it's usually that relationship that never started or didn't work out. So it that what this is? 30 horror stories of unrequited love? NO. NO IT IS NOT. Sure, there are some stories that focus on a "relationship", though those are anything but typical. These authors managed to apply that idiom to situations I never would have thought of in a million years and the anthology is better for it. Kudos to Jill Girardi for grouping these together; I enjoyed every single one of these 30(!) stories.

Here are some that stuck out to me, but again, these were all great:

"Bodiless" by Faith Pierce - The loss of agency in this story really got under my skin.

"The Incident on Asteroid 4 Pandora" by Stevie Kopas - I loved everything about this story. This made me want to go read a bunch of sci-fi horror.

"The Recliner" by Marsheila Rockwell - A story about a recliner and it was amazing. Trust me.

"Date Night Ablaze" by Rowan Hill - Bad date, fantastic story. Guys are jerks.

"The Thrill of the Hunt" by Villimey Mist - Can't say why I like this one without spoiling it, but I liked the ending.

"Simba of the Suburbs" by Ashley Burns - This story takes being an animal person to another level.

"Rippers" by Ellie Douglas - I really dug the seeing the event from different characters' perspectives.

"The Lady of the House" by Yolanda Sfetsos - Yolanda's stories are always among my favorites. This one is no exception. Beautiful and otherworldly.

"Should Have Gone to Vegas" by Janine Pipe - They really should have. Janine's writing is a blast and I know I'm in for a good time with her stories. This one is splattery fun!

"Kiss" by R.A. Busby - Whew, what a great story. The description of "her" is still in my head.

"Dear Meat" by J Snow - Brutal world, brilliant story.

That's 11! I'm cutting myself off and telling myself this is the last anthology review I write where I pick favorites. There's just too many good stories in these to pick and choose, so when Vol.4 comes out, I'm writing something about all of them. But all in all, another winner of an anthology from Kandisha Press. More like Kan-do no wrong-isha Press, am I right? That's enough from me.

**I was given a copy of the book for review by the publisher, but I also bought a copy.
Profile Image for Kristina ||.
334 reviews26 followers
March 14, 2021
This is a great collection of horror depicted in so many different ways. All written by women with a wide range of genres. Some were fantastical, sci-fi, cosmic..etc.

It's hard to review this book and all it's short stories but as a whole I feel they worked well as a collection. I really enjoyed the ones that made me think and feel my feels. The ones that stood out most to me were:

- Bodiless by Faith Pierce
- The Lady Crow by Lucy Rose
- Lure by Catherine McCarthy
- Nightcrawler by Ushasi Sen Basu
- Dear Meat by J Snow
- The One That Got Away by Rebecca Rowland

I am glad I read this during February's WiHM and discovered some new female horror writers I can add to my "want to read" more from list.

*Content warnings: all of them

46 reviews2 followers
February 26, 2021
As in the preceding volume, #3 is full of varied, astonishing stories. A tale here for every liking, from brutal (SHOULD HAVE GONE TO VEGAS, HEAVY METAL COFFIN) to ethereal (BODILESS, NIGHTCRAWLER). Seen in the previous collection, Carmen Baca continues a profound saga with ATLA’S JOURNEY. KISS by R.A. Busby is a gothic gem. FROM SCRATCH is best read not during lunch; INVASIVE SPECIES is not an environmental cozy. JOSEPHINE by Michelle Renee Lane—sensual and fierce! Reliable, high quality series.
Profile Image for Mark.
Author 77 books218 followers
February 8, 2021
I received a copy in exchange for a review.
Overall I found the One That Got Away: the Women of Horror Anthology Volume 3 a fairly interesting collection of stories. Written entirely by women, even though I liked some of these stories more than others, it won't affect giving it a five-star rating. Now to try and read Women of Horror Anthology Volume 1 and 2.
February 16, 2022

Its so hard to think with all the visuals and emotions swirling through me that these stories created! Each n EVERYONE deserves a standing ovation!!
Profile Image for Iseult Murphy.
Author 24 books105 followers
April 27, 2021
Thirty short stories, mostly horror with a couple of erotica and one science fiction, all interpretations of the theme - the one that got away.
Like all anthologies, some stories appealed to me more than others. Six stories stood out to me as 5 star stories.
Lure by Catherine McCarthy. A beautifully written story about fishing, that isn’t really about fishing at all. The combination of the language and the subtle revelations of what’s going on left me an emotional mess. Impressed by the story telling craft, near tears because of the tragedy and truly horrified.
Simba of the Suburbs by Ashley Burns was more like wish fulfillment for me, in a delightful tale about a little girl who can communicate with animals.
Should have gone to Vegas by Janine Pipe is so much fun! I love the Easter eggs she hides in her stories, and she’s great at balancing lightness and gore in her work.
Atla’s Journey by Carmen Baca was like reading a true crime story, with great insight into humanity and a theme that I love - what happens when monsters meet a bigger monster?
Kiss by R A Busby perfectly captures the ninteenth century gothic ghost story and is thought provoking as well as chilling.
The Letter by Lydia Prime is full of imaginative elements as well as some visceral horror and gore.
I received a free copy from the publisher and I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.
Profile Image for S.J. Townend.
Author 23 books30 followers
August 1, 2021
Some great spooky tales written by women. Hilights for me included The Recliner, Shell and Kiss.
Will buy the next anthology for sure.
Profile Image for Sarah Budd.
Author 18 books70 followers
November 9, 2021
I've read a few anthologies from Kandisha Press and absolutely love them! The One That Got Away features thirty of the best women in horror who each offer their unique take on doomed romances. There really is something for everyone and I loved the variety.

There's too many to mention here but my highlights include -

Bodiless by Faith Pierce
I've never read anything like this tale before and it chilled me to the core. Beautifully written this ethereal tale of an outsider wanting to be accepted really got me!

From Scratch by Sonora Taylor.
This tale stood out to me straightaway of a woman who loves to cook. I loved the humour in this and can't wait to read more of Sonora's tales!

Shell by Barrington Smith-Seetachitt. Wow this tale really struck a chord with me, aging is never easy but I feel for a women who are always judged on their appearances it can be really tough. Definitely one of my favourites.

Lure by Catherine McCarthy. I'm a HUGE fan of Catherine's tale and this is the third time I've read this tale and it just keeps getting better!

Kiss by R.A.Busby. Wow there's so much going on in this tale. This one really stood out to me of a doctor recalling a strange case. Deeply terrifying!

Should Have Gone to Vegas by Janine Pipe. This was so much fun to read I'd love the humour in it and who can resist tales of things that go bump in the night!
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