Fresh Blood by May December Publications
I love a good anthology does I. I love discovering new authors as well, untested new voices in fiction are like a fresh new drug on the scene; it might be dangerous, but you don’t know how dangerous it’ll get until you get to the end.
Fresh Blood deliveries a few pints of the good stuff with a vampesque style antho with the invigorating take of inviting largely non-horror authors to dip their toe into the crimson pool of blood-sucking literature. Unusual; Yes. Does it work; well yes.
A truly good writer should be able to transcend genre as easily as stepping from one stone to another, editor T. W. Brown has picked a fine sampling which works on many levels. Every story intrigues and involves the reader, each giving their all to deliver the goods. I’m not usually a vamp-lit fan, with the saturation of vamp romance in recent years; I tend to give it a wide berth. Quite frankly I’m sick of damsels infatuated with silver eyed cool skinned Goths pleading “Bite Me, Bite Me!” I don’t want it. A blood sucker should be a monster that can’t be reasoned with nor tamed, but still holding on to some vague form of civility.
Stand out stories for me in this collection are the cultural immersive Night Visitors by Yasmin Elbardie, whilst not delivering much on the shocks, she’s in depth enough with her descriptions to take the reader away to another land and its customs.
Ashen by Pete Clark describes his monster with such ease, the timeless prose chilling the reader whilst gearing up the tension page by page. By the end you’ll be wanting to know more.
240V was another favourite, taking a despicable character and giving them superhuman powers is never a good idea; Peter Bailey tells us why.
Sleep, My Sweet, Forever takes the horrifying scenario of a young woman being trapped alone in the woods and makes it worse by making sure she isn’t truly alone.
Bed Bugs by Patrick Evans gives us male infatuation and a gruesome take on the blood sucker tale, which keeps us guessing and gripped until the bitter end.
Whilst a valiant effort, serious gore fans might be a little disappointed with what’s on show here. But considering the authors are swimming in new waters, this can be forgiven. But if like me, you’re a fan of literary horror that pulls you in, you’ll find yourself in good company here. Vampire lovers should rejoice and lap this volume up, with its fresh takes on the blood sucker theme what’s wrong with trying something new?
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)