I've been disappointed recently, and saddened, by a couple anthologies featuring zombie stories by numerous well-known authors. I found myself bored by the majority of them.
"First Time Dead 2" is a tight 220 pages with a dozen tales by first-time published authors and it has just about everything I could hope for in a book about the undead:
1: No vampires.
2: Lots of gory description.
3: (Almost) No voodoo zombies.
4: A good variety of situations and approaches.
I won't go over each story (Stuart Cooper's review did that very well); I'll just briefly mention a few of my favorites.
Voodoo zombies are weak, but "Once More without Feelings" by Joe Blevins was so well-written, it turned out to be one of my favorites in the collection despite a little bit of voodoo action.
"The Mission" by Eric Pollarine was way cool. I want more.
"The Hungriest Zombie" by Jason Thacker reminds us all of the horrors of gingivitis.
"Ooky" by Matthew R. Davis is quite possibly the perfect zombie short story: sexy, gross, funny, and memorable.
"The Last Legacy" by Amanda Larson struck me as more of a cautionary tale. Despite not actually having any zombie encounters, I found it very compelling.
This was the most consistently good anthology I've had the pleasure to read in a long time. Fans of the genre should find plenty to sink their teeth into, and there's something wonderfully reciprocal about the potential for first time zombie readers devouring these stories from first time authors.
And, you know, there's another "First Time Dead" volume: Volume 1. Check them both out... if you dare!