Friday 24 November 2023

Thirteen Stories of Horror: Volume 1 - Edited by Nick Steverson and Marisa Wolf - Three Ravens Publishing

Thirteen Stories of Horror: Volume 1
Marisa Wolf (Editor)
ISBN 9781951768980
eISBN 9781951768973

I love reading anthologies for a few reasons. First it is a way to discover new authors. Second Read stories than expand universes that I already read. And Third short form fiction is a very different art form than novels. The writing needs to be tighter and crisper, at least for the story to be successful. I read this volume over a few days while suffering from my first bout ever of vertigo. It added to the experience of exploring the 13 floors of this collection.  

The description of this volume is:

“Thirteen tales of Horror, perfect for a dark and stormy Friday the 13th…or a sunny Tuesday afternoon.

From science fiction to classic European horror, interwoven with layers of creep factor, gore, and mystery that will keep you turning the page…and looking over your shoulder.

So, light the candles, stir the cauldron, and check your ammo count, because things are about to get dark!”

The stories in the collection are:

From the Apartment Manager:
Unclean Hands by Dave Butler
They Called Him Jack by Matt Novotny
Buyers' Remorse by Melissa Olthoff and Nick Steverson
Hungry by Kevin Ikenberry
Wraith by Marie Whittaker
Dark of Night by Christopher Woods
Three Graves Later by H.Y. Gregor
Hyarkeen's Challenge by Rob Howell
Undergrowth by Kacey Ezell and Marisa Wolf
The Call of the Temple by Dan Bridgwater
Dream of Distant Shores by Mark Wandrey
They Burn Witches by Declan Finn
Happy Birthday by Steve Diamond
A Farewell from the Apartment Manager

The story Happy Birthday by Steve Diamond does not appear in the interactive Table of Contents, at least in the Kindle edition, nor does the story Dream of Distant Shores by Mark Wandrey. And it is an excellent story. It really brought to mind Cedar Sanderson’s Groundskeeper Series. I picked up this collection because of Declan Finn’s piece, which I had already read as a standalone story, but it was fun to revisit Alex and others in this piece in the Saint Tommy NYPD Universe. But there are a number of great pieces in the collection. Another stand out story was Undergrowth by Kacey Ezell and Marisa Wolf. The volume begins with:

“Welcome, welcome! Please, come in, come in, don’t be shy. It’s a dreadful night out there, wouldn’t you say? Much better inside. So happy you took an interest in renting one of the floors in our fine establishment. We so rarely have any vacancies. Quite lucky, you are. It seems as though once they move in, our residents just stay forever.”

“Well, enough of my rambling on and on. I’m sure you’re eager to see your final resting place. Come, come, follow me and I’ll show you the way. We’ll take it one story at a time, for each one has its own unique quality, almost a life of its own.”

So it very much has a Hotel California feel and vibe to it right from the beginning. And after each story there is a brief piece by the manager, for example:

““The view of the cemetery is impeccable from this floor. Such quiet neighbors, and so peaceful in the sunlight. This story's residents are all dedicated to celebrating each other's milestones. A community, truly.””


“I can see our building has put quite the spell on you. Some residents have said they've never felt so free as they do here at home…though, of course, they keep any excess behind closed doors. The smoke detectors have all been recently replaced, and one of your possible neighbors here does the most impressive tricks. It's almost as though he can truly make things disappear.””

The contributors in this collection are:

Dan Bridgwater

This is a great collection of stories. Many of the contributors I had not read previously. A few of them I have added books to my wish list. This is a great collection especially for in and around Halloween or a Friday the 13th. And I enjoyed it so much I would not hesitate to pick up volume 2 when it releases. I can easily recommend this collection for those who like stories on the darker and creeper side, I am sure you will find a few stories you love! 

Note: For all reviews of Anthologies click here.
For All reviews featuring Declan Finn click here.

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