The first three volumes of The Best Horror of the Year have been widely praised for their quality, variety, and comprehensiveness.
With tales from Laird Barron, Stephen King, John Langan, Peter Straub, and many others, and featuring Datlow’s comprehensive overview of the year in horror, now, more than ever, The Best Horror of the Year provides the petrifying horror fiction readers have come to expect - and enjoy.
The complete list of narrators includes Lindy Nettleton, Charles Carroll, Shaun Grindell, Angela Brazil, and Fred Sullivan.
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Only a few decent stories in this bunch.
A mixed bag here. I gave every story a chance, but if I wasn't engaged withing the first five minutes, I skipped to the next one. Several engaged me:
The Little Green God of Agony Stephen King (listened all the way through)
Blackwood’s Baby Laird Barron (abandoned after twenty minutes)
Black Feathers Alison J. Littlewood (abandoned after twenty minutes)
In Paris, In the Mouth of Kronos John Langan (abandoned after twenty minutes)
Little Pig Anna Taborska (listend all the way through and enjoyed)
The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine Peter Straub (abandoned after about half an hour)
In the end, I only finished two stories: King's The Little Green God of Agony, which wasn't one of his best, and Anna Taborska's Little Pig, which was the only story in the whole bunch that I actually enjoyed entirely.
I almost made it through Peter Straub's Ballad of Ballardm, which was very engaging and narrated extremely well, but after awhile it meandered and I realized I didn't care about either character or their situation, so I bailed.
I'd give every one of these authors another listen. Some of this was just bad storytelling, but some of it was stiff narration too. For the worst of the stories it's hard to lay the blame completely on the author or narrator's shoulders.
Some narrators were fantastic. Others sounded stiff. As if they were trying so hard to pronounce everything so perfectly that their narration had no natural cadence.
I would have scoured the volumes of Cemetery Dance and Nightmare Magazine, and Dark Discoveries from this particular year and come up with a much better list of Best of Horror.
It was pleasant to discover the one decent story (Little Pig), but not worth the effort of slogging through all the others. I'll be returning this one.
The performances are excellent, but the stories themselves are the most boring, least frightening "horror" stories I've heard in years.
Better editing, I suppose - these stories are not "horror" as I use that word, they are, as best, moody & atmospheric.
- Michael Hall