Thirty stories on the theme of The One That Got Away. As with all anthologies, some stories appealed to me more than others, but with so many to choose from, there really is a story for every taste.
1. Heavy Metal Coffin by Amira Krista Calvo. An interesting entry into the annuals of demonic music. I liked the threads of obsession running through this tale, and it contains some potent imagery.
2. Bodiless by Faith Pierce. Chilling story about women as property and the unimportance of the single woman.
3. Minor Malfunction by KC Grifant. I enjoyed this body modification cautionary tale.
4. The Incident on Asteroid 4 Pandora by Stevie Kopas. A serviceable science fiction horror that reminded me of the movie Life.
5. The Lady Crow by Lucy Rose. I’m sure there’s a deeper meaning to this transformation story, but it passed me by.
6. The Recliner by Marsheila Rockwell. Excellent story told through the point of view of a five year old boy who wants to save his mother. Conjures shades of The Babbadook but is better.
7. Call of the Tide by Demi-Louise Blackburn. I’m afraid this story wasn’t for me. It appeared rich in symbolism but, as I wasn’t sure what the author was saying, it never came together in a satisfactory manner.
8. Date Night Ablaze by Rowan Hill. Fun little story made more enjoyable by its Australian setting.
9. Shell by Barrington Smith-Seetachitt. I could see this tale about the value of an aging woman as a Twilight Zone episode.
10. From Scratch by Sonara Taylor. Disappointed in this tale of a woman sublimating her destructive desires through cooking.
11. Invasive Species by Dawn DeBraal. Competition and killer plants always make a fun combination.
12. Josephine by Michelle Renee Lane. I didn’t like this erotic tale about monsters in the porn industry.
13. Lure by Catherine McCathy. Absolute standout in the collection. Clever use of second person narrative to tell a fishing story that isn’t really about fishing at all. Left me feeling haunted.
14. The Thrill of the Hunt by Villimey Mist. A serial killer gets a surprise when his latest victim fights back. I don’t like revenge stories and this one left me annoyed.
15. Simba of the Suburbs by Ashley Burns. Another standout for me. This story of a child who can talk to animals was more like wish fulfillment rather than horror, although there was some tragedy in it.
16. Rippers by Ellie Douglas. A fun story reminiscent of The Train to Busan with aliens, which goes in an unexpected direction at the end.
17. Liked by Mocha Pennington. Very familiar story of a woman imprisoned by psychopaths.
18. The Lady of the House by Yolanda Sfetsos. Full of clever nods to other works, this story never quite came together for me despite some nice scenes.
19. Should Have Gone to Vegas by Janine Pipe. This story of two pals vacationing in a cabin in the woods is so much fun! A stand out for me.
20. Atla’s Journey by Carmen Baca. Another five star story for me. This story is so realistic it’s scary. Three kids decide to have some fun, but what happens when the predator becomes the prey? Great characters and a theme I love.
21. Nightcrawler by Ushasi Sen Basu. Diverting cautionary tale about locking your doors at night.
22. Little Sally Ann by Shawnna Deresch. Well written, if familiar, haunted house tale.
23. Bramblewood by Meg Hafdahl. There’s a lot of good to say about this story of a teenager from the wrong side of the tracks who meets a Good Samaritan, but I found it ultimately unsatisfying.
24. Cold Comfort by Amy Grech. Another erotic story. The writing is very strange in this one. Things happen that seem in direct contrast to what happened the sentence before. Didn’t work for me at all.
25. Kiss by R A Busby. Another one of my favorites. A gothic horror story in the spirit of le Fanu or James, about a doctor relating to his friends the tale of his most terrifying patient. Has a meaningful theme running through the chilling story.
26. The Last Thread by Paula R C Readman. An entertaining, if obvious, story about a man fleeing from space pirates who seeks sanctuary on a strange planet.
27. The Letter by Lydia Prime. Imaginative, gory and unexpected, I loved this story. A pregnant woman finds a letter addressed to her unborn son that contains something very unpleasant.
28. Piano Keys and Sugar by Hadassah Shiradski. A competent retelling of Hansel and Gretel, this story failed to capture my imagination.
29. Dear Meat by J Snow. Basically Soylent Green x The Hunger Games, there were elements of this story that I liked, but ultimately I felt the scope was too great for the word limit and it fell flat.
30. The One That Got Away by Rebecca Rowland. Second person story from the point of view of a master manipulator. An ok story that brought nothing new to a well worn path.
I award The One That Got Away…
The One That Got Away is available for $2.76 ebook and $14.99 print book on Amazon.
I received a free copy from the publisher and an voluntarily leaving an honest review.