This anthology of 14 short stories and a novella ranges from quite good to brilliant in its mastery of horror, and speculative apocalyptic fiction with a few historical fictions thrown into the mix. Most of the tales stand completely independent of each other, but three form an apocalyptic trilogy [“Removal Order”, “Herd Immunity” and “Carriers”] and three others form a supernatural triptych in and around swampy Gracetown, FL [“The Lake”, “Summer” and novella “Ghost Summer”].
I had four favorites receiving top ratings in my reviews of each separate story. Firstly, the novella “Ghost Summer” creates a world on multiple timelines with a supernatural horror bridging the two. More of the stories would have benefitted from longer treatment such as this.
“Herd Immunity”, the second in the apocalyptic trilogy was also very strong in its depiction of human motivation against a backdrop of pandemic and panic. Two other apocalyptic stories were independent of all others in the collection. “Patient Zero” provides the unique perspective of someone sheltered from a pandemic infiltrating the world around them. While “Danger Word”, written with Due’s husband Steven Barnes, invented a new type of rage zombie with demonic scheming. It brings a entirely new meaning to the term Horror. Apparently, this tale spawned a novel . . .
I’ve reviewed all of the included tales separately:
“The Lake”–4 stars
“Ghost Summer”–5 stars
“Free Jim’s Mine”–4 stars
“The Knowing”–3 stars
“Like Daughter”–3 stars
“Trial Day”–3 star
“Patient Zero”–5 stars
“Danger Word”–5 stars
“Removal Order”–4 stars
“Herd Immunity”–5 stars
“Senora Suerte”–3 stars
I received my advanced copy of the anthology directly from Prime Books.
[Check out my other reviews here.]