A SINISTER QUARTET, an anthology
When offered the chance to read the anthology A SINISTER QUARTET as an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) via NetGalley, I jumped at the chance. While I am not necessarily a horror fan, I do love the weird. I love beautiful words and unusual descriptions. I enjoy unique places and stories that linger. Every story in this anthology met those expectations and I highly recommend reading more of each author’s work.
The anthology begins with a short novel by C. S. E. Cooney, “The Twice-Drowned Saint.” This is a strange and imaginative tale about a sacred city of angels, their saints, the citizens of the city, and the pilgrims who vie for citizenship among these privileged few. It’s a reminder of how power can twist even the divine.
“An Unkindness” by Jessica P. Wick is a hauntingly beautiful faerie tale about a sister’s determination to save her brother from a dark and mysterious unknown. Something has changed her loving and lighthearted brother, and when she catches him sneaking out at night, it’s so much worse than she could have ever imagined.
Amanda J. McGee’s “Viridian” has a sinister mood from the very beginning and keeps that tension throughout. While this story is the most realistic one in the anthology, being based in a world like our own, that is most likely what makes it the most disturbing. A grief-stricken woman moves to a small town in Vermont, where she falls in love with a wealthy widower. He’s keeping deadly secrets, however, and has a plan for his newest wife.
The final story in this anthology is “The Comforter” by Mike Allen. The title is amusingly deceptive. This story has the most characters, and it takes time for the reader to see how their lives weave together into the complex web of the story. The images that will haunt me the most are a girl’s sketches in a notebook, and a flap of skin under a school desk attacking a teacher and then spelling the word, “Run,” in his blood. That does not convey the plot of the story, but I’m not sure anything would to my satisfaction without giving the story away. Suffice it to say it is a dark and twisty tale.
This truly is a sinister quartet, though the introduction itself is a powerful opening. Beautiful imagery, and a story unto itself – it’s very well-written. The “About The Authors” at the end are also worth reading, as they explain more about the stories, and their inclusion in the anthology.
A SINISTER QUARTET is the perfect anthology for those who enjoy haunting stories that will stay with you long after you put a book down.