Book Review: Scared Spitless anthology

Disclaimer: My story, “Dorsal Fin,” appears in this anthology. The anthology was published several years ago, and I thought I’d wait a while to review it to avoid an immediate conflict of interest. I receive no financial benefit regardless of how well the anthology sells.

The anthology contains 75 pages of horror stories, 11 stories in all. The stories are just realistic enough to be plausible but just speculative enough to fall into horror. They run the gamut of witchcraft, murder and hitchhiking, taxidermy, and more. I enjoyed the anthology. It was dark but not super explicit. There were no stories that made me truly want to cringe (though the taxidermy story made me come close). Rather, the stories allowed the reader to use her imagination to fill in the explicit bits. And there were certainly elements to disturb a reader.

I liked how each story had its own style, so they always felt fresh. On the other hand, they were all of similar quality: I always felt I was being given relevant details without any uselessness. While short, the anthology kept my interest.

My story, “Dorsal Fin,” is based partly on my ability as a kid to jump into my mother’s mind. Once, when lost at Kids ‘R Us, I heard my mom calling to me and telling me where she was, even though when I asked her about it, she said she hadn’t said a word and didn’t even realize I was lost (she thought I was just browsing clothes). Similarly, when my husband and daughter wandered off at Walmart, an image of fabric jumped into my mind, and sure enough I found them by the craft section next to the fabrics. But in each of those circumstances, a bit of panic inspired me to use my mind in ways it is not normally used. In the story, a character has a similar ability and is stranded in paradise—a desert island and is in need of a way to create panic to reach out to her mother for rescuing.

All in all, the anthology is a good read for around Halloween, or—if you’re like me—during the darkest days of the year.

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