Datlow’s Latest Treat: The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Fifteen, edited by Ellen Datlow

Datlow’s Latest Treat: The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Fifteen, edited by Ellen Datlow

The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Fifteen (Night Shade, January 16, 2024)

Once again legendary editor Ellen Datlow has released her annual anthology featuring the Best horror stories that appeared in print the previous year.

And once again the volume includes, in the front, a detailed, invaluable overview of the year in horror (this time 2022). Being a short story lover I am particularly interested in anthologies and collections and, as it happens, once again I discovered how many interesting books I missed…

I always enjoy Datlow’s selections but, naturally enough, some I found particularly accomplished. Here they are.

“Gate 9” by Jeffrey Ford is a disconcerting, extraordinary story masterfully depicting the unexpected disappearance of a little girl from an airport restroom.

Nothing might seem more preposterous than a tale featuring a giant living in a desert, forsaken island. Yet “ Flaming Teeth” by Garry Kilworth  works just fine and provides a taste of strong horror.

“The Harvester of Ladslove” by Steve Duffy is a truly excellent, unsettling piece of horror set in the trenches of WWI, where an inexplicable creature appears to bring a death more terrible than war.

Tananarive Due provides “Incident at Bear Creek Lodge,” an outstanding portrait of an aged, moody and cruel movie star, seen through the eyes of the young grandson visiting her for the first time.

“Eyes Like Small Black Stones” by David Surface is a dark familiar drama featuring a widow and her little boy, a stern old father and a weak faithful servant.

My favorite tale is perhaps “The Zoo” by Gemma Amor, a very original, horrific story, definitely not for the squeamish. One of the most terrifying tales I’ve read in years (and I’ve read a lot).

In short, this anthology is, as expected, a real feast for any horror lover.

Mario Guslandi was born in Milan, Italy, where he currently lives. He became addicted to horror and supernatural fiction (too) many years ago, after accidentally reading a reprint anthology of stories by MR James, JS Le Fanu, Arthur Machen etc. Most likely the only Italian who regularly reads (and reviews) dark fiction in English, he has contributed over the years to various genre websites such as Horrorworld, Hellnotes, The British Fantasy Society, The Agony Column and many more. His last review for us was Time of Passing by John Gaskin.

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pete johnsen

Ms. Datlow has been one of my favorite editors by a wide margin over the years. Her, Neil Clarke and John Joseph Adams are people who I’ll buy anything from sight unseen. They just deliver interesting stuff year after year. Not sure I need more horror in my live with the election upcoming but I’ll steel myself and dive in anyway!

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