Excerpt from the introduction:
Editors Randy Chandler and Cheryl Mullenax put the call out to horror writers and editors of extreme stories, the hardcore stuff that breaks boundaries and trashes taboos, the transgressive tales you can't "unread" (as Chuck Palahniuk says). We staked out our territory and nailed this to the wall to guide us:
Year's Best Hardest Horror
Not your mama's best-of horror annual.
This stuff comes from the edge of the abyss,
stories you read at your own risk
because you feel the abyss looking right back into you
through the tainted lens of each twisted tale.
Some of the stories you'll find here are loaded with very graphic descriptions of violence, sex, and depravities, while others may contain only one shocking moment of brutality. In others, the hardcore aspect may be less graphic and subtler than you might expect. Some of these quieter tales offer the listener some time to recover from the more disturbing ones preceding.
Most of the stories collected here are from small and specialty press anthologies, with a few from periodicals, like the prestigious Splatterpunk Zine in the UK and Thuglit here in the US. Bizarro is also represented with a couple of tales from the unlikely anthology Blood for You: A Literary Tribute to GG Allin from Weirdpunk Books. (If you're not familiar with the late GG Allin, you can find snippets from some of his outrageous and obscene punk shows online, which will increase your appreciation of those two tales.)
So for now, forget about that neighbor you suspect is a serial killer, don't worry about the drunk driver that could take you out on your next trip to the store, push those troubling news stories to the back of your mind, and immerse yourself in the imaginary horrors at hand.
But don't be surprised if you sense something dark staring back at you from between the lines. That is to be expected when you enter these forbidding realms. With any luck, you may find something useful to help you survive the approaching Apocalypse.
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A Must for Horror Fans
Joe Hempel's narration. Even the stories I didn't care for so much were pleasant to listen to with his narration. His voice was smooth and easy, the characters he acted out vivid.
This collection is a must for horror fans. Joe's narration was spot on and amazing for each story... and there were a LOT of stories! I'm a huge fan of horror shorts, and this was a fantastic collection. Now, granted, there were a couple of the stories I didn't particularly care for, but that is usually the case in any anthology short story book. The first story was definitely the strongest, and I think the editors did a great job placing it first, really setting the tone for the rest of the book. King Sh*** was probably my least favorite. This is not to say it was bad; it was just my least favorite. I would highly recommend this audio book to any horror fan out there even though I gave the "story" part 4 stars. Most of the shorts were very fine to interesting, and even my least favorite one had some brilliant moments of writing. However, I think that the editors could have worked a little harder on some of the stories to edit the passive voice out ("he could see" " she was sitting", etc) as on a handful of the stories the passive voice distracted me, and frankly, a couple of the offerings weren't as strong as the others. Overall, this was a fantastic nine plus hours!
Absolutely quality and chilling short stories