Sheila's Reviews > The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 11

The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 11 by Ellen Datlow
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really liked it
bookshelves: netgalley, read-in-2019

3.5 stars--somewhere between liked and really liked. However, I'm bumping this up to 4 stars due to the strength of the historical shipwreck story "Haunt." This story, about the slave trade, guilt, and personal responsibility, blew me away. (And so timely.) It echoed a lot of Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and was absolutely stunning; it made me tear up.

Another standout for me was "The Donner Party." Yes, it's about eating people, but not how you think--this is an English Regency romance (really!) with added cannibalism. The slow creeping dread was really well done.

The remaining two stories I especially enjoyed were "No Exit," about cults and cosmic horror, and "Back Along the Old Track," which reminded me of the notorious X-Files episode called "Home."

Following are (very) short reviews for each story.

I Remember Nothing – Anne Billson: 3 stars. Some trippy imagery and good descriptions of violence.
Monkeys on the Beach – Ralph Robert Moore: 2 stars. Meh. Depressing. Not really horror, but more about the awful things that happen in life and a sort of nihilism about them. (At least, that was my reading!)
Painted Wolves – Ray Cluley: 2 stars. Also depressing. About being unable (unwilling?) to stop terrible things from happening. Lots of animal and sexual violence.
Shit Happens – Michael Marshall Smith: 3 stars. Scary monsters combined with gross humor is probably not everyone's thing, but I enjoyed it.
You Know How the Story Goes – Thomas Olde Heuvelt: 3 stars. Good urban legend story.
Back Along the Old Track – Sam Hicks: 4 stars. I adore folk horror, and this is a creepy example.
Masks – Peter Sutton: 3 stars. A retelling of "The Lottery." I really liked it, but felt it was nothing new.
The Donner Party – Dale Bailey: 5 stars. Love the twist in this story and the slow creeping dread as you realize just what kind of person the protagonist is.
Milkteeth – Kristi DeMeester: 3 stars. Brief but intriguing.
Haak – John Langan: 3 stars. Almost 4 stars but it verges on being a bit cheesy for me. However, I loved the literary references.
Thin Cold Hands – Gemma Files: 4 stars. I'm a sucker for these "fairy" narratives. I thought the writing was a bit awkward, though, which is strange since I usually like Files.
A Tiny Mirror by Eloise – C. C. Shepherd: 2 stars. This is spooky, but barely a story.
I Love You Mary-Grace – Amelia Mangan: 4 stars. Loved the weird imagery (the dog head) and the conclusion.
The Jaws of Ouroboros – Steve Toase: 3 stars. I'm not huge into stories about cartel/gang violence, but standing stones that become teeth and chew up the landscape? Hell yeah!
A Brief Moment of Rage – Bill Davidson: 3 stars. Sad, violent, and timely.
Golden Sun – Kristi DeMeester, Richard Thomas, Damien Angelica Walters, and Michael Wehunt: 3 stars. I liked the varying viewpoints, but they also made things vague.
White Mare – Thana Niveau: 3 stars. This should have been great (again, I adore folk horror), but the writing seemed too simplistic and there were some unanswered questions.
Girls Without Their Faces On – Laird Barron: 4 stars. I always enjoy Barron. Here he combines two of his loves: Alaska and cosmic horror.
Thumbsucker – Robert Shearman: I don't know--3 stars? This is a very uncomfortable story, one that functions on a symbolic level. On the literal level it's super gross, lol.
You Are Released – Joe Hill: 4 stars. I disliked reading this story, about being on a commercial flight when WW3 breaks out--I found it upsetting. But isn't that what horror is supposed to do? Thus the high rating.
Red Rain – Adam-Troy Castro: 3 stars. Ahhh so gory!
Split Chain Stitch – Steve Toase: My galley is missing this story. Not sure if it's been cut or just an error with the proof. (Likely the latter.)
No Exit – by Orrin Grey: 4 stars. Cults and cosmic horror--two of my favorite things in horror stories.
Haunt – Siobhan Carroll: 5 enormous stars. Wow. This story alone is worth the price of the book. About guilt and personal culpability. Not for the faint hearted.
Sleep – Carly Holmes:My galley is missing this story. Not sure if it's been cut or just an error with the proof. (Likely the latter.)

I received this review copy from the publisher on NetGalley. Thanks for the opportunity to read and review; I appreciate it!
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Reading Progress

June 5, 2019 – Shelved
June 13, 2019 – Started Reading
June 14, 2019 –
June 26, 2019 –
June 27, 2019 –
July 1, 2019 –
July 2, 2019 –
July 3, 2019 –
July 5, 2019 –
July 8, 2019 –
July 9, 2019 –
July 10, 2019 – Finished Reading

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