Sadie Hartmann's Reviews > Campfire Macabre

Campfire Macabre by John Brhel
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Horror readers looking for a who's who in indie horror fiction as well as some new, up and coming voices need to buy this anthology! The submission call to CAMPFIRE MACABRE was for 500-1,000 word stories in a variety of horror sub-genres. Editor, Joe Sullivan states in the introduction, "Each of the five sections seeks to deliver a mini-anthology experience."
It's my opinion that this book delivers on just that.
I was able to breeze effortlessly through each section on a long three-day weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in this book listening to the wide range of storytelling voices.

Here's a breakdown of the entire TOC.

“The Forever Awful House” Cynthia Pelayo- this was a creepy piece about "that house" where all the bad things happen. It made me wonder how many of those houses are out there and we just drive or walk past them every day.

Spook Houses

“Best Friends Forever” Priya Chand- Wasps have always freaked me out!

“Making a Believer” Chad Lutzke- The ending made my jaw drop.

“RV” Mark Cowling- I was not expecting where this one went.

“Best House” Donyae Coles- I loved the theme of denial.

“Sound Never Lasts” Corey Farrenkopf- This is the perfect example of very short fiction that makes the reader thirst for more.

“The Words in the House” R.K. Duncan- This is had an effective literary device I enjoyed

“The Annex” Lisa Short- again, I wanted more with this one. I got a glimpse of something, a piece of the larger narrative but I want to see what happened!

“Cabin Fever” Sydney Richardson-immediately creepy and felt complete.

“Ride Like the Devil” Jason Parent- I love Jason Parent's storytelling. Just a quick, tight, horror tale.

“Keepers of the Light” Sonora Taylor- I thought the ghost lights were so unique! I'd love to see a little graphic novel of this.

“Lullaby” Trevor Tolliver- succinct; dark.

Supernatural Slashers

“Final Girl” Derek Austin Johnson- this was brilliant. I really enjoyed it.

“A Sleepwalker’s Hands” Corey Farrenkopf- This had an urban legend feel. Like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

“Scabby Abby” Lana Cooper- CREEPY!! I enjoyed this one.

“So Many Teeth” Jon Gauthier- I loved this! The ending was so visual and terrifying

“The Crayfish God” Kevin Lucia- My first time reading Kevin's work-I enjoyed it. It gave me the willies.

“All the Makings” Glen Krisch- Interesting take on a ghost/haunting story

“House of Summons” Yolanda Sfetsos- Another little story that felt like a snippet from a much larger universe. Curious if Yolanda has developed this one into a longer story?

“Collateral Damage” John Lynch- I've read this one before and it has an especially visual "jump scare"

“A Busy Season” Adam Godfrey- "The baby was hungry" Adam Godfrey has chops! I liked this intro to his work

“The Sharp Edge of Midnight” Tim Waggoner- in classic Waggoner fashion, this one delivers on the scares-loved the POV


“I Believe in Witches” Matthew Stott- I liked the idea of the repeated curse here. Well done!

“Bernard” Ky Huddleston- This was so immersive--I enjoyed it.

“The Art of Darkness” Regina Garza Mitchell- This one made me a bit sad...until the end.

“The Girl in the Window” Patrick R. McDonough- An interesting urban-legend.

“The Lake of Poppets” Jessica Ann York- Creepy kids up to no good are always my favorite stories

“A Little Justice” Ali Seay- I just enjoy Ali's storytelling. I'm a big fan. This one is quick and nasty

“Eye of Newt” Jessica McHugh- Jessica's narrative drew me in immediately with its special quality.

“Swallowing the Fire” V. Castro- V. Castro can tell me stories about brujas, ghost worlds, and ancestors all day, every day

“Manhunter” Eddie Generous- Despite some awkward word choices, I enjoyed this conjuring tale; scary

“My Evening with the Witch” Brandon Scott--I liked this one "unshackled my spine" was a particularly cool visual

“The Hag’s Gift” Villimey Mist- My first time reading Villimey and it did not disappoint! Some disturbing, gross-out moments

Within the Woods

“The Shimmer of Trees” Eric J. Guignard- I've read enough of Guignard's brand of horror that this was easily recognizable as his own. I loved it.

“Blackjack” Kealan Patrick Burke- The same goes for Kealan. I fancy myself a bit of a KPB aficionado at this point. I think out of all the stories, this one is the most "Campfire Tale"

“Fruiting Bodies” Jude Reid- ugh, just the title was grossing me out, and then the story was also quite visual. Ew, spores. *shivers*

“Its Black and Beating Heart” Robert S. Wilson- I like the style and mood here

“The Wishing Box” Michael Harris Cohen- ugh, this one made my tummy feel sick. I actually played hide and go seek once and hid in an old refrigerator that locked from

“Boys and Girls Come Out to Play” Beverley Lee-One of my favorites from the collection. I love the POV and the atmosphere of this one. Beautiful prose.

“Dewdrops and Blood” Sara Tantlinger- TERRIFYING! Bev and Sara's back to back pieces made for some spine chilling moments. This little tale packs a punch.

“The Bird with the Clownish Plumage” Hailey Piper- Ugh, why is any horror that involves clowns already so unsettling? This story disturbs.

“Heartwood” doungjai gam- I love when inexperienced people dabble in witchcraft/black magic. The result is always so unpredictable.

“Instructions for the Broken Hearted Who Venture into Devil’s Horn Woods” Tiffany Michelle Brown
This was fun. Written like a Wilderness Survival Guide for some Haunted/Spooky woods.

“Her Favorite Story” John Timm- So much building dread for such a short tale!

Cemetery Chillers

“Silence Which Comforted Me” Eugie Foster- I couldn't remember this story so I went back to read it and I smiled. I saw "maggots" and skimmed through. Because--maggots.

“Waking the Dead” Monique Youzwa- This one is hard/sad. Trigger: Animal cruelty. Moral of the story: Don't fuck with cats. I liked the ending.

“The Intern” Michael J. Moore- A fellow Washingtonian! (Is that how you spell that? I'm new here) Visceral/Immersive. I liked this story and trying to figure out where it was going.

“On Halloween Night” Janine Pipe- My girl, Janine!! I love that this story starts off, "Here we come, bitches!" This is classic Janine. There are some nods in this story that are just so sweet-you might see some familiar names. This was a fun story that feels authentic.

“Death Toll” Alex Ebenstein- Ugh, so sad! The last words of this story. *frown* I love when an author can pack so much underlying emotion in the sub-text. Especially in a quick story!

“Midnight Snack” Angela Sylvaine- Another favorite. I love a damned good revenge story.

“The Grave Listeners” Andrew Cull- It's always special when Andrew treats his fans to child protagonists-It's his wheelhouse.

“I Would Have Rescued Them All” R.J. Joseph- After loving, RING SHOUT so much last year, I was excited to see another OwnVoices story with haint folklore. I love Joeseph's storytelling voice. I'll be checking out more of her work.

“Hunger” S.H. Cooper- This feels like the beginning or section of a whole novella! Could read more.

“Shattered World” Kenneth W. Cain- Aww, another sad one. I love how this anthology is good at bouncing the reader's feelings back and forth.

“Up from Under” Tyler Jones- Okay, this one got me! I felt like I was really there with Sam and it made me think about people who really do work in the business of the dead. Never. Why?

“We Need Your Donations!” Elford Alley- A great ending! I loved the novelty of this piece.
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Reading Progress

January 21, 2021 – Started Reading
January 21, 2021 – Shelved
January 21, 2021 –
page 19
"Creepy wasps and kids"
January 21, 2021 –
page 33
"Chad, Donyae, quick, dark tales!!!"
January 21, 2021 –
page 77
"Sonora Taylor & Justin Parent loved these!!!"
January 22, 2021 –
page 80
"Damn! That FINAL GIRL story by Derek Austin Johnson was GOOD"
January 22, 2021 –
page 102
"Just read Ken Lucia’s crawfish story!"
January 22, 2021 –
page 185
"Loved the Witchcraft section: Matthew Stott, Regina Garza Mitchell, Ali Seay, Jessica McHugh, V.Castro, Villimey Mist, SO GOOD!!!"
January 22, 2021 –
page 245
January 26, 2021 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by John (new) - added it

John Lynch Amount of detail in this review is crazy

Sadie Hartmann John wrote: "Amount of detail in this review is crazy"

Aw, hey. Thanks John. :)

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