Hey everyone! I’m here today to review the latest Great British Horror anthology from Black Shuck Books – one of my favourite indie presses of all time. The quality of their work speaks for itself… but I’m gonna bleet on a bit about it anyway. As usual, this is a non-spoiler review.
This themed anthology is compiled of 11 previously unpublished stories from a diverse selection of excellent writers. As the title suggests, each story is based on a specific tarot card. As soon as Steve Shaw (owner and editor) told me about this, I was excited. I love themed anthologies, especially when the theme is something along these lines.
Allow me to indulge you with a quick summary/my succinct thoughts on each story:
Wheel of Fortune (by Ida Keogh) – Firstly, the ship is called the Sephiroth, so of course I automatically love Ida for that because I’ve made the automatic assumption – correct or not – that it’s a reference to my favourite game! This is a tense and gripping tale of horror set in the cold isolation of space. Tessa comes to during her space mission to find herself alone and unable to remember why.
The Star (by Anna Taborska) – This is a “charming” father and son tale. It’s so grisly, so… so fleshy… so… eeeeeeek!
The High Priestess (by Dan Coxon) – A strange and engrossing story about a guy who moves his family to a new home and then gets obsessed with his construction plans. Also, there’s a supernatural entity (not a ghost) at play! I love this kind of story.
The Heirophant (by Jonathan Sims) – Beautiful writing. “It was a different world, and it didn’t seem to want him.” Enjoy this tale of a regular guy in a prestigious university, where the academia goes dark.
The Lovers (by Lynda E. Rucker) – This is sad. A tale of loneliness. Hit me in the heart.
Temperance (by Gary Budden) – The note I made for this one goes as follows: “A builder and dust. Loved this story very much but can’t for the life of me figure out how to explain it.”
The Fool (by Carly Holmes) – One of my favourites! Doggo! I think it might actually be a story about grief, but told in a very interesting way.
The Chariot (by Malcolm Devlin) – This is creepy and reminds me a bit of an episode of Tales from the Darkside. Woman works nights in a hotel, a family comes in, and all is NOT normal.
The Tower (by Alison Moore) – This one is also super creepy and stayed with me long after I read it. Hey, you know how parents keep the baby teeth/a lock of hair from their kids? Cute, right? Well… put tooth and hair collecting in a different context and see how cute you find it then.
The Hermit (by Steven J. Dines) – I LOVE how the story was told even more than the story itself. A guy develops a weird habit after separating from his wife. The narrative slips between second and third person, which makes the protagonist seem unhinged. It’s rather unsettling!
The Hanged Man (by Conrad Williams) – Some people will stop at nothing in a bid to impress their partner. This made me tense.
I’d be doing the book a disservice if I didn’t also touch on the artwork – it’s wonderful. The cover (as always) is gorgeous and perfectly sets the tone of the book, and the artwork that introduces each story is captivating and interesting to study before you even get into the writing.
The stories are varied and there are some I prefer over others, but the quality of the writing is high and consistent throughout. I’d recommend this anthology to readers who enjoy strange, dark, creepy fiction.
If you’d like to get your own copy, you can find it here:
If you’d like to check out Black Shuck Books, you can do so here:
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