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The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume One

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Spanning two hundred years of horror, this new collection features seventeen macabre gems, including two original tales and many others that have never or seldom been reprinted. Table of Contents Foreword by James D. Jenkins and Ryan Cagle Aunty Green by John Blackburn Miss Mack by Michael McDowell School Crossing by Francis King A Psychological Experiment by Richard Marsh Th Spanning two hundred years of horror, this new collection features seventeen macabre gems, including two original tales and many others that have never or seldom been reprinted. Table of Contents Foreword by James D. Jenkins and Ryan Cagle Aunty Green by John Blackburn Miss Mack by Michael McDowell School Crossing by Francis King A Psychological Experiment by Richard Marsh The Progress of John Arthur Crabbe by Stephen Gregory The Frozen Man by John Trevena California Burning by Michael Blumlein Let Loose by Mary Cholmondeley Out of Sorts by Bernard Taylor The Head and the Hand by Christopher Priest The Ghost of Charlotte Cray by Florence Marryat The Grim White Woman by M. G. Lewis The Terror on Tobit by Charles Birkin Furnished Apartments by Forrest Reid Something Happened by Hugh Fleetwood The Tarn by Hugh Walpole The Gentleman All in Black by Gerald Kersh


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Spanning two hundred years of horror, this new collection features seventeen macabre gems, including two original tales and many others that have never or seldom been reprinted. Table of Contents Foreword by James D. Jenkins and Ryan Cagle Aunty Green by John Blackburn Miss Mack by Michael McDowell School Crossing by Francis King A Psychological Experiment by Richard Marsh Th Spanning two hundred years of horror, this new collection features seventeen macabre gems, including two original tales and many others that have never or seldom been reprinted. Table of Contents Foreword by James D. Jenkins and Ryan Cagle Aunty Green by John Blackburn Miss Mack by Michael McDowell School Crossing by Francis King A Psychological Experiment by Richard Marsh The Progress of John Arthur Crabbe by Stephen Gregory The Frozen Man by John Trevena California Burning by Michael Blumlein Let Loose by Mary Cholmondeley Out of Sorts by Bernard Taylor The Head and the Hand by Christopher Priest The Ghost of Charlotte Cray by Florence Marryat The Grim White Woman by M. G. Lewis The Terror on Tobit by Charles Birkin Furnished Apartments by Forrest Reid Something Happened by Hugh Fleetwood The Tarn by Hugh Walpole The Gentleman All in Black by Gerald Kersh

30 review for The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume One

  1. 4 out of 5

    Char

    The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume One is one of my favorite collections of this year, and that's saying a lot because I've read some STELLAR collections in 2016. This is one of the rare times that every. single. story. worked. The stand-outs to me were: Miss Mack by Michael McDowell. It's McDowell. How could it not be good? This starts out as such a nice story about a friendship between two women and then it takes a sharp turn into darkness. Permanent darkness. Furnished Apartments The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume One is one of my favorite collections of this year, and that's saying a lot because I've read some STELLAR collections in 2016. This is one of the rare times that every. single. story. worked. The stand-outs to me were: Miss Mack by Michael McDowell. It's McDowell. How could it not be good? This starts out as such a nice story about a friendship between two women and then it takes a sharp turn into darkness. Permanent darkness. Furnished Apartments by Forest Reid (I would be remiss if I did not mention the excellent intro to this little known author's story. This, and the story itself made me want to immediately read more of Reid's work.) This is a creepy little story about (surprise!) a furnished apartment for rent. A Psychological Experiment by Richard Marsh Most known these days for his novel, "The Beetle", Richard Marsh wrote over 80 books and 300 short stories. This particular tale is a delicious story of revenge featuring some creepy crawlies. I absolutely loved it. The Progress of Arthur Crabbe by Stephen Gregory Stephen Gregory is another favorite author of mine. He's not as prolific as I wish he would be. Valancourt somehow dug up this nasty tale, (which, once again, features a bird), originally published in the Illustrated London News back in 1982. I am so glad they did! I have read everything I could get my hands on from Mr. Gregory. Without Valancourt, I would never have had the opportunity to read this gem. California Burning by Michael Blumlein Michael Blumlein is another author introduced to me via Valancourt Books. They published his collection: The Brains of Rats which contains one of the most disturbing short stories I've ever read. Once again, Blumlein knocked my socks off with this story of a man whose bones would not burn. The Terror on Tobit by Charles Birkin A beautifully written tale and one I found to send chills up my spine. Not only because of the spookiness of the story, but because of the amazing prose. I've never even heard of this guy before, but now I want to read everything he's written. The Head and the Hand by Christopher Priest Probably most well known in horror circles for his novel The Prestige , Christopher Priest's contribution to this collection was superb. It reminded me a bit of Katherine Dunn's Geek Love and makes me wonder if she ever read The Head and the Hand. It's a rather weird tale, but I loved it. Plus it made me REALLY want to read The Prestige which has been sitting on my Kindle for well over a year. I could go on and on, because as I said every story in this collection worked for me. I can't write a review that's a long as the book though, so just a few more things. The intros to these stories were excellent. Many of them talk about how these authors were prolific back in their day and now have been forgotten. I love that Valancourt is dedicated to bringing these authors back into the public eye. I'm going to do my best to read more of the authors that appealed most to me, like Priest and Birkin. This collection receives my highest recommendation! Every single story is thought provoking and even the introductions to the tales are well written and informative. Plus, these aren't a bunch of stories that you've already read in countless other collections and anthologies. Valancourt worked hard to bring you enticing pieces that will likely be unfamiliar to most contemporary horror readers. All I can say to that is BRAVO! (And MORE, PLEASE!!) Get your own copy here: The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories *A free copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. This is it!*

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    http://www.oddlyweirdfiction.com/2016... I absolutely love this small indie publisher, and Valancourt's done it again with Volume One of The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories, which, as the dustjacket blurb says, is a "new collection of tales spanning two centuries of horror," and is a mix of stories that range from "frightening to horrific to weird to darkly funny." It is exactly as described, and given how much fun I had with this book, I can only imagine the great time James and Ryan must have http://www.oddlyweirdfiction.com/2016... I absolutely love this small indie publisher, and Valancourt's done it again with Volume One of The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories, which, as the dustjacket blurb says, is a "new collection of tales spanning two centuries of horror," and is a mix of stories that range from "frightening to horrific to weird to darkly funny." It is exactly as described, and given how much fun I had with this book, I can only imagine the great time James and Ryan must have had in choosing the stories that went into it. As an added bonus, at the beginning of each chapter there are informative notes about each story, the author, and the titles that Valancourt has published by each writer making an appearance in this book. This book is tailor made for someone like me who thrives on vintage chills. Some of these stories I'd classify as true horror, some are more on the psychological side, there are ghostly tales, and one even made me laugh out loud. While I get that not everyone appreciates or shares my old-fashioned horror-reading sensibilities, and that horror is indeed in the eye of the beholder, for me this collection was just about perfect. I'm a VERY picky reader, so that says a lot. Please bring out a Volume Two! I loved this book!!!!!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Yes--this one gets all the stars! THE VALANCOURT BOOK OF HORROR STORIES: Volume One, edited by James D. Jenkins and Ryan Cagle is an anthology of some of the more "obscure" atmospheric gems--most of which I was completely unfamiliar with. I can say with all honesty that there was not a single story in this collection that was not a worthwhile read. Since I felt that nearly all of these deserved five star--or close to--ratings, I will only highlight a few of my personal favorites. --"Furnished Apart Yes--this one gets all the stars! THE VALANCOURT BOOK OF HORROR STORIES: Volume One, edited by James D. Jenkins and Ryan Cagle is an anthology of some of the more "obscure" atmospheric gems--most of which I was completely unfamiliar with. I can say with all honesty that there was not a single story in this collection that was not a worthwhile read. Since I felt that nearly all of these deserved five star--or close to--ratings, I will only highlight a few of my personal favorites. --"Furnished Apartments", by Forrest Reid: While the subject matter may be obvious, the telling of the tale stood out among hundreds of similar themed stories. "Houses are like sponges. They absorb . . . And when they're saturated they begin to give out." --"The Terror on Tobit", by Charles Birkin: an atmospheric piece that sucks you into its terror immediately. --"California Burning", by Michael Blumlein: What do you do when something refuses to go away. . . naturally? ". . . On some level, we're all strangers to each other . . . " --"Miss Mack", by Michael McDowell: It is my opinion that anything written by this author is worthy of re-reads. This story leads you in slowly, down a path of occult terror you won't be able to forget . . . --"The Tarn", by Hugh Walpole: The language and emotion that this story brings out makes it seem almost possible . . . --"The Head and the Hand", by Christopher Priest: There's not a lot I can say about this one--specifically--without spoiling the reading experience. However, I was mesmerized from the start, and left open-mouthed in disbelief at its conclusion! --"The Progress of John Arthur Crabble", by Stephen Gregory: If forced to pick only one story from among all of these gems as a particular favorite, this would be it. Gregory's prose is simply captivating, and his use of nature to emphasize character traits is always enlightening to me. He uses his words to paint a very clear picture in the reader's mind. ". . . Most striking of all was his bulging forehead which protruded over his eyes, shadowing them. They retreated into his head like two dangerous eels in an underwater crevice." Positively one of the best anthologies I've read in years, and I can easily see myself re-reading this collection for many years to come. Highest recommendation!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    I read the second volume first, and strangely, felt that had more interesting tales. However, this collection is also pretty enjoyable, if you are willing to stretch your definition of "horror" a bit. Because there are quite a few tales in this collection which do not fall into the genre as it is defined currently - they could be rather called a set of weird tales, intended to create a sense of unease rather than outright horror. My favorite of the lot is Miss Mack by Michael McDowell - a perfect I read the second volume first, and strangely, felt that had more interesting tales. However, this collection is also pretty enjoyable, if you are willing to stretch your definition of "horror" a bit. Because there are quite a few tales in this collection which do not fall into the genre as it is defined currently - they could be rather called a set of weird tales, intended to create a sense of unease rather than outright horror. My favorite of the lot is Miss Mack by Michael McDowell - a perfect Halloween tale with an extremely creepy ending. The sense of no escape in the tale is suffocating. Out of Sorts by Bernard Taylor and The Head and the Hand by Christopher Priest are also outright horror and highly effective: the former very traditional with the final unexpected punch and the latter, truly disturbing in the tradition of splatter movies (don't read it if you are squeamish). School Crossing by Francis King is a disturbing fantasy which does not quite cross over into horror. It is extremely well-written and a highly enjoyable read. Furnished Apartments by Forrest Reid is in the same vein, with the horror just outside the reader's view, but it is only mildly unease-inducing. California Burning by Michael Blumlein is a unique tale, about a man whose bones refuse to burn. It's weird, funny and poignant in turns. Something Happened by Hugh Fleetwood is also unusual - we know there is something wrong somewhere, but we don't get to it. Out of the remaining, Aunty Green by John Blackburn, A Psychological Experiment by Richard Marsh, The Frozen Man by John Trevena, Let Loose by Mary Cholmondeley, The Terror on Tobit by Charles Birkin and The Tarn by Hugh Walpole are all traditional horror tales, more or less - all competently written, but they won't have you peeking beneath your bed at night. The Progress of John Arthur Crabbe by Stephen Gregory is a queer little fantasy; The Ghost of Charlotte Cray by Florence Marryat is more humorous than frightening; and The Gentleman All in Black by Gerald Kersh reads like a dark fable. The most unique offering in the book is The Grim White Woman by M. G. Lewis, a truly Gothic tale in verse, expectedly full of dramatic hyperbole. I enjoyed it!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robert Vanneste

    3.50 . An entertaining read for the most part .

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rob Twinem

    Yet another wonderful compilation from Valancourt Books and what a delight this is. Putting together a number of unknown (to me anyway) authors with each story including an introduction about the writer and what is to follow. So what stood out?" California Burning" by Michael Blumlein...A rather dark comic view on the inability of a crematorium to safely dispose of some human remains came with a subliminal message...we all hold secrets and we are all not what we seem. Of course having read this Yet another wonderful compilation from Valancourt Books and what a delight this is. Putting together a number of unknown (to me anyway) authors with each story including an introduction about the writer and what is to follow. So what stood out?" California Burning" by Michael Blumlein...A rather dark comic view on the inability of a crematorium to safely dispose of some human remains came with a subliminal message...we all hold secrets and we are all not what we seem. Of course having read this tale I was intrigued to learn a little more about the author and the fact that he was also a physician by profession certainly added some intrigue to his writing. I shall be checking out "The Brains of Rats" by Michael Blumlein in the very near future (what a wonderful macabre title!)   "The Frozen Man" by John Trevena was very Lovecraftian (Mountains of Madness) in both its content and execution. An expedition sent out on a journey of investigation to the North as...."some Germans were passing through the country further north, trapping and shooting all the furs they could find, thereby infringing upon the rights of the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson's Bay." I love this type of story with the cold and desolation creating its own terror and the madness that must surely happen!   "The Ghost of Charlotte Cray" a sublime and classic ghost story. Sigismund Braggett, publisher, caught between the love of two women; Emily Primrose and the divine Miss Cray. Braggett had hoped that the two women might meet but this idea faded to nothing (or did it!) when the body of Charlotte Cray was discovered at her lodgings in Hammersmith.   "The Gentleman all in Black" by Gerald Kersh is a familiar Faustian theme of selling one's soul to the devil. It's a short snappy tale to end, and brings to a conclusion a very varied and exciting compilation. Valancourt Books are amazing; They are bringing back into print and helping us discover rare and special books and by so doing introducing us to some amazing authors and their works. A special thanks to them for supplying me with a gratis copy for a fair and honest review and that is what I have written.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kelly B

    This recently released set of horror short stories was the perfect read to get me in the mood for Halloween. Contributing authors include the great (but sadly now almost forgotten) Bernard Taylor, Michael McDowell, Michael Blumlein, Mary Cholmondeley, and many more. You can't go wrong with any of these stories, but my favorite was The Head and the Hand, where a performer perhaps gives his audience more than they bargained for, and begs the question of how far one will go to achieve fame and fortu This recently released set of horror short stories was the perfect read to get me in the mood for Halloween. Contributing authors include the great (but sadly now almost forgotten) Bernard Taylor, Michael McDowell, Michael Blumlein, Mary Cholmondeley, and many more. You can't go wrong with any of these stories, but my favorite was The Head and the Hand, where a performer perhaps gives his audience more than they bargained for, and begs the question of how far one will go to achieve fame and fortune. I also really enjoyed Miss Mack, Let Loose, The Grim White Woman, and The Terror on Tobit. You'll want to take your time reading these tales, to savor them.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lostaccount

    An enjoyable collection of stories by writers I'd mostly never heard of. Made some good discoveries, like Francis King, and Gerald Kersh, whom I read had success while alive but died in poverty after writing over 300 stories and 19 novels.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    Generally most books in the varied-collection-of-horror-stories-from-all-about subgenre suffer from the same disease: they must compare to Roald Dahl's immaculate (if self-named) Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories. That is perhaps the ultimate collection of all-about tales, for even when a story duds within its pages, the greatness of the others holds it up and makes you want to appreciate it. Being the sort of person who had read far too many (and yet, never enough) of these all-about collectio Generally most books in the varied-collection-of-horror-stories-from-all-about subgenre suffer from the same disease: they must compare to Roald Dahl's immaculate (if self-named) Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories. That is perhaps the ultimate collection of all-about tales, for even when a story duds within its pages, the greatness of the others holds it up and makes you want to appreciate it. Being the sort of person who had read far too many (and yet, never enough) of these all-about collections, I can say with some amateur enthusiast authority that Valancourt's equally self-named The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories (Volume One) is one of the few that truly gets into the same league. It does not top the former, but it at least walks somewhere beside it. Before I continue, I must say that this book is a two-birds-one-stone number. While it is a solid horror and horror-esque collection in its own right, it is also (perhaps primarily) a reader to showcase offerings from Valancourt's impressive catalog of books. This shows in a few cases, such as the middling "Aunty Green" launching the book, an odd choice until you consider the wide swath of John Blackburn novels that Valancourt publishes and publicizes in the introduction. Now we come to the bane of every review ever written about such a collection, how to talk about the meat of the meal when the meat is a sample plate of bite-sized pieces? Do I bullet-point a rundown of each story giving my thoughts, or skip across the top of the pond and only dive in at a particularly tempting morsel of salmon? Neither suffices for the dual-purpose of informing yet entertaining the reader. Neither is pleasant to the reviewer. I will endeavor to compromise, and make the worst of both worlds. Perhaps my favorite of the collection is Michael McDowell's "Miss Mack", a story who saves its weird horror to the last quarter but uses it so strangely and outsized that it only adds to the lingering emotional impact of a tale that is mostly forgotten but could be considered one of the premier weird fiction examinations of the suffering of homosexuals in the mid-20th-century Deep South. It accomplishes its feat by not talking about it and almost leading the reader to find it humorous when a butch, chubby, soda-swilling single-at-her-age-? woman is cast into an eternal darkness to die of starvation and suffer loneliness separated from her young, pretty just-a-friend-? companion. If I can accomplish one thing in this review, it is to tell you to read this story and to see what I mean. Likewise, several of the delights are those that are about other things. Hugh Fleetwood's post-modernly titled "Something Happened" is pretty openly a story about divine powers with a surrogate, if less murdery, Cain and Abel, with very nearly a nod to "Waiting for Godot". Forrest Reid's "Furnished Apartment" might be a story about the sexual abuse of young, helpless people hidden inside of an Aickman-esque strange tale. "California Burning," by Michael Blumlein, is a strange sort of humorous story that about dealing with a parent's death and finding the stranger you thought you knew very well. Do not get me wrong, there are many stories in here that are classic horror romps. Charles Birkin's "The Terror on Tobit" is pretty much just a straight creature feature. "Let Loose" (Mary Cholmondeley) features a killer hand let loose from a tomb. And Christopher Priest's "The Head and the Hand" is a grisly story of a man who self-amputates for fame and fortune. The latter is probably my second favorite in the whole thing. Perhaps the weakest story in the bunch, besides "Aunty Green", is Florence Marryat's "The Ghost of Charlotte Cray." And it's alright. Just nothing much to it, really. Others not mentioned vary from really good to fairly good. Well, maybe not "The Progress of John Arthur Crabbe" by Stephen Gregory. That one was...minor. Of all of them, the one I have the hardest time putting my thumb upon is John Trevena's "The Frozen Man," partially because his style of writing took me a moment to get into and partially because it feels like a effectless vignette, a mere description of an odd moment, rather than a proper story. I suspect I did not do it justice in my reading of it. So it goes, sometimes. Buy this one, Space Pilgrims, and enjoy. No doubt everyone will have their own favorites. And if anyone prefers "Aunty Green," feel free to tell me why.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    Beautiful colelction of shorts from quite a broad range of authors. The horror here is often rather subtle. There's not much gore involved, which is fine by me, and the imagery on the whole rather conservative and not to much "out there". I enjoyed every story, especially the first half of the collection. High quality stuff from a dedicated high quality press!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cory

    Finally finished this collection I started last October, and it's rare that I would give a collection that features stories from assorted authors five stars, but this one easily earns the high rating. It's spectacularly edited, and Valancourt Books is rapidly becoming my favorite indie publisher—I have yet to be disappointed by any of their books. Standout stories were definitely John Blackburn's Aunty Green, Michael McDowell's Miss Mack, Stephen Gregory's The Progress of John Arthur Crabbe, Mic Finally finished this collection I started last October, and it's rare that I would give a collection that features stories from assorted authors five stars, but this one easily earns the high rating. It's spectacularly edited, and Valancourt Books is rapidly becoming my favorite indie publisher—I have yet to be disappointed by any of their books. Standout stories were definitely John Blackburn's Aunty Green, Michael McDowell's Miss Mack, Stephen Gregory's The Progress of John Arthur Crabbe, Michael Blumlein's California Burning and Hugh Walpole's The Tarn. I eagerly await starting Volume 2 later this month...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anna From Gustine

    I love Valancourt Press. They are a small publisher that specializes in long-forgotten and neglected authors of gothic, horror and weird fiction. They also publish gay interest books, again with little-known authors just waiting to be rediscovered. Their catalogue spans the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. This is their first book of short stories. I love how they start each story with a short bio of the author, a summary of their work, and which books or other works are available through Valancour I love Valancourt Press. They are a small publisher that specializes in long-forgotten and neglected authors of gothic, horror and weird fiction. They also publish gay interest books, again with little-known authors just waiting to be rediscovered. Their catalogue spans the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. This is their first book of short stories. I love how they start each story with a short bio of the author, a summary of their work, and which books or other works are available through Valancourt. Love these people! Anyway, too many stories to summarize. So, here are two that stood out. My favorite, surprisingly, was one of the more modern ones. California Burning by Michael Blumlein is about a man who can't get his dead father's bones to turn to ash during cremation. I found it unexpectedly moving. Most disturbing? Oh, without a doubt, The Head and the Hand by Christopher Priest. Let's say it's about a man who has a very popular show that he performs for audiences. It involves himself and I can't say any more. It's not graphic or gross in description, but less actually creates more of an impact. It's the kind of story you might find in the Black Mirror anthology....shudder!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marie-Therese

    4.5 stars.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Morse

    The best story in this book, imo, is the one I bought it for, Miss Mack, by Michael McDowell. Unusual for its time (circa 1986), it features an unattractive (fat, greasy hair, face like a pig) woman lead who swoops into town and seizes the affections of pretty Janice, fellow schoolteacher, away from their lazy, entitled principal who expect to marry her one day, when he gets around to it. Because what else has Janice to do but wait for him to ask? Until Miss Mack comes to town and shows her what The best story in this book, imo, is the one I bought it for, Miss Mack, by Michael McDowell. Unusual for its time (circa 1986), it features an unattractive (fat, greasy hair, face like a pig) woman lead who swoops into town and seizes the affections of pretty Janice, fellow schoolteacher, away from their lazy, entitled principal who expect to marry her one day, when he gets around to it. Because what else has Janice to do but wait for him to ask? Until Miss Mack comes to town and shows her what a good time a single girl can really have, even in tiny Babylon, Alabama. But Principal Hill isn’t the type to just sit back and let independent adult women live their own lives. Less exciting but also wonderful is Francis King’s School Crossing, a compelling, beautifully written story which can't help feeling in some way intimately familiar. That may be another way of saying it was predictable, probably even when it was new in 1979. But I still deeply enjoyed the reading and managed to be surprised at the ending though I saw it coming from page two. The actual lowest point is the introduction to the story, where the editor, in praising all that the author has left unsaid, lists elements that are hardly mysteries and caused me to think too much about “the subtle riddles” rather than letting it happen. Don’t make that mistake. The story doesn’t need all the hype. A Psychological Experiment by Richard Marsh is another very good story, this one about a peculiar meeting in a late 1890s men’s club between a nervous outsider and a stranger with a coat full of reptiles. Again, it gets a little predictable, but that’s to be expected with a work that’s over 125 years old. Obviously, we’ve seen most of the fun horror tricks before, from more recent authors. But the over-the-top aspects keep you questioning what you think you know, and it features a very nice pre-Lovecraft use of squid. I also give high marks to Michael Blumlein’s California Burning, which had the potential to be triggery and difficult, as it’s about a man’s attempt to have his father cremated while, in the background of his grief, wildfires ravage the state. As a side note, I’ve had (what I now know to be) his short story collection The Brains of Rats on my Amazon wishlist for years because it names the above mentioned Michael McDowell as co-author. Turns out McDowell wrote the introduction to that book, and after reading this story from the physician-turned-writer Blumlein, I’m even more anxious to read it. One of the few (maybe only) works by a woman to be included, Mary Cholmondeley’s Let Loose, the story of a painter who accidentally releases an unknown malevolence while copying a fresco in a long-sealed crypt, is bold and imaginative with a creative, unexpected ending. Unfortunately it relies too heavily on the actions of the painter’s dog for me to recommend it wholeheartedly to everyone. The Terror on Torbit by Charles Birkin is another favorite, also somewhat Lovecraftian, taking place on Torbit Island, which everyone knows “belongs to the sea”. The others were a mix of are-you-kidding-me predictable and what-the-shit-are-you-on-about over-blown confusion, some worth finishing just to see if I guessed right (The Gentleman All In Black; The Ghost of Charlotte Cray), and others so obviously destined from page one to go only one way that it was difficult to push through (Out of Sorts; The Tarn). But the good ones are worth the price of the book, and as for the others, ymmv.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    The gents at Valancourt prove their worth once again! I am impressed and astonished with the superior quality of their releases and reissues. Not a dud in this collection! As a small-press publisher, Valancourt Books holds equal rank with such legends as Ash Tree Press and Tartarus Press.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    This is a thoroughly engaging collection of macabre tales, some old, some new and all quite twisted and offbeat. I recommend it highly to those who love dark literature!

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Haynes

    High quality short stories without a single weak link. Some of the authors I knew and already loved but some were completely new to me. I will be picking up the second volume of stories.

  18. 5 out of 5

    rebecca

    An enjoyable selection of under appreciated horror stories.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I'm not a fan of most short stories collections. This was really good. A must read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Greg Gbur

    I’ve been following Valancourt Books almost since they started publishing books back in 2005 (and of course I’ve written a number of book intros for them). It has been really exciting to see them expand from their origins in reprinting very rare Victorian (and earlier) novels, to reprinting 20th century classics, to printing original anthologies. This past October, they released a wonderful new anthology, The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories (VBHS). Read the whole review. I’ve been following Valancourt Books almost since they started publishing books back in 2005 (and of course I’ve written a number of book intros for them). It has been really exciting to see them expand from their origins in reprinting very rare Victorian (and earlier) novels, to reprinting 20th century classics, to printing original anthologies. This past October, they released a wonderful new anthology, The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories (VBHS). Read the whole review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ross McClintock

    This was a pretty well curated story collection by Valancourt Books, one of my favorite publishers. This includes tales from different time frames, the early 1800s until as recently as the 80s. Some of the highlights of this collection are from some of my favorite authors, Miss Mack by Michael McDowell, Out of Sorts by Bernard Taylor, The Head and the Hand by Christopher Priest. The stories range from subtle dread to outright ironic twists. Some of the stories can flag a bit, but it helps knowin This was a pretty well curated story collection by Valancourt Books, one of my favorite publishers. This includes tales from different time frames, the early 1800s until as recently as the 80s. Some of the highlights of this collection are from some of my favorite authors, Miss Mack by Michael McDowell, Out of Sorts by Bernard Taylor, The Head and the Hand by Christopher Priest. The stories range from subtle dread to outright ironic twists. Some of the stories can flag a bit, but it helps knowing that there's another great tale around the corner

  22. 5 out of 5

    J.T. Glover

    This is a promising start to a new anthology series treating both famed and lesser known authors. Many of the authors of these tales were mostly or entirely unfamiliar to me, and I'm even more eager than usual to seek out other work written by the authors herein. Check out this book if you like horror stories, enjoy pleasing variation in your tales, and want to find something new to read. There's something here for almost any horror reader's taste.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Riju Ganguly

    This was a book full of subtle horrors , where the impact always came later, much-much later than one expects it to come. I especially liked the chilling and ambiguous endings of 'Aunty Green' and 'Miss Mack'. Those who prefer their horror in grim, human (?), and chilling dosage, would greatly appreciate this volume.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume 1 is a fun read. I don't think I've ever read anything by these authors before. I found quite a few I would like to read more of. I didn't care for some of the stories, and some kind of went over my head, but it's a very enjoyable collection.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jay Rothermel

    I did not skip any stories. They were all new to me, and of very high quality. Thoughtful editorial notes enriched and contextualized the stories. I highly recommend it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    Michael McDowell...so, so good.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Wyrd Witch

    Many, many reviewers in the horror community adore Valancourt Books. It’s not hard to see why. The publisher prides itself on giving back to us, selecting books that have long been forgotten or set aside, and republishing them for our grubby skeletal hands to pry from shelves and read again. With their extensive catalog, I had no idea where to start, really. Should I go for the Paperbacks from Hell series? Or should I just pick a random book to start with? Even then, from which period? Victorian Many, many reviewers in the horror community adore Valancourt Books. It’s not hard to see why. The publisher prides itself on giving back to us, selecting books that have long been forgotten or set aside, and republishing them for our grubby skeletal hands to pry from shelves and read again. With their extensive catalog, I had no idea where to start, really. Should I go for the Paperbacks from Hell series? Or should I just pick a random book to start with? Even then, from which period? Victorian era? Georgian? The early twentieth century? The seventies? I finally chose Valancourt’s highly-rated anthology series, first with Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories and then their normal Horror Stories line. I personally adored the Victorian Christmas ghost stories and how educational it was for me. So, how was their “garden-variety” horror story line going to go? Turns out, it’s a bigger mixed-bag than I expected. Read the rest of the review here.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chris Cangiano

    A solid collection of weird, ghostly and horrific tales and the perfect way to get into the mood for the Halloween season. Valancourt has done a great job of pulling 17 horror tales from its stable of authors for this first book in this otherwise unthemed anthology collection. As with every such anthology, not every tale is going to work for every reader (though there were a surprising few that didn’t work for me - 2, I think). The highlights of the collection for me were Michael McDowell’s deli A solid collection of weird, ghostly and horrific tales and the perfect way to get into the mood for the Halloween season. Valancourt has done a great job of pulling 17 horror tales from its stable of authors for this first book in this otherwise unthemed anthology collection. As with every such anthology, not every tale is going to work for every reader (though there were a surprising few that didn’t work for me - 2, I think). The highlights of the collection for me were Michael McDowell’s delightfully mean-spirited Miss Mack; Francis King’s School Crossing (which leaves so much between the lines to speculate about); Bernard Taylor’s Out of Sorts; Christopher Priest Gran Guignol-esque The Head and the Hand; Matthew Gregory Lewis’ The Grim White Woman; Charles Birkin’s creature feature The Terror on Tobit; Forest Reid’s Furnished Apartments; High Walpole’s The Tarn; and the closing nugget of horror that is Gerald Kersh’s The Gentleman All in Black. Highly recommended. I would give it 4-4.5 stars, though as always your mileage may vary.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Berry

    Not the best horror story collection ever, but credit to the editor that he put together a lot of stories I haven’t already read, and most by authors I’ve never read at all. As for the lackluster stories, maybe those writers have better material that the publisher couldn’t use, who knows, but I’m in no rush to find out. I’m looking forward to reading more from the writers I did enjoy, as well as the next two VH volumes. Stories I’ll re-read someday: Aunty Green (a bit Twilight Zone, but the 80s r Not the best horror story collection ever, but credit to the editor that he put together a lot of stories I haven’t already read, and most by authors I’ve never read at all. As for the lackluster stories, maybe those writers have better material that the publisher couldn’t use, who knows, but I’m in no rush to find out. I’m looking forward to reading more from the writers I did enjoy, as well as the next two VH volumes. Stories I’ll re-read someday: Aunty Green (a bit Twilight Zone, but the 80s revival), Miss Mack (the cream of the crop, RIP MM), Out of Sorts (very Tales of the Unexpected), The Terror of Tobit (makes me want to deep dive into Birkin), Furnished Apartments (beautiful prose yet lacking that Jamesian wallop), Something Happened (albeit something fantastic not horrifying), and The Tarn (Jamesian-esque-ish.) I will second something another reviewer wrote—there’s not a lot of horror here. Even with the stories I like, only one or two of them gave me the creeps. But horror is subjective and what creeps me out might not creep you out. Happy reading!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marlise

    If I could give this more stars I would! A collection of really fantastically written stories. There was not a one that I didn't enjoy. I look forward to reading Volume Two. From THE GRIM WHITE WOMAN: "Her eye, fix’d and glassy, no passions express’d; No blood fill’d her veins, and no heart warm’d her breast! She seem’d like a corse newly torn from the tomb, And her breath spread the chillness of death through the room." From THE TARN: "He liked the touch of the man’s hand on his knee; he himself be If I could give this more stars I would! A collection of really fantastically written stories. There was not a one that I didn't enjoy. I look forward to reading Volume Two. From THE GRIM WHITE WOMAN: "Her eye, fix’d and glassy, no passions express’d; No blood fill’d her veins, and no heart warm’d her breast! She seem’d like a corse newly torn from the tomb, And her breath spread the chillness of death through the room." From THE TARN: "He liked the touch of the man’s hand on his knee; he himself bent forward a little and, thinking how agreeable it would be to push Foster’s eyes in, deep, deep into his head, crunching them, smashing them to purple, leaving the empty, staring, bloody sockets."

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