HELLHOLE (Publication Date: December 2018)
A descent into terror.
Legends tell of a hollow earth, a world beneath our own. A world filled with wonders… and danger. But what if the legends are true?
Delve into dark worlds in HELLHOLE, where death lurks around every corner, and come face to face with creatures from your worst nightmares in this collection of dark thrillers. New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry and Bram Stoker Award winner Rena Mason headline a cast of bestselling and award-winning authors.
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If claustrophobia and monsters are your greatest fears, then you need to dive right into this collection. Overall, the stories are fast-paced and high-intensity, making it fun to run alongside the main characters as they scramble to get out of tight quarters and sticky situations. The execution of some of these stories grabbed me more than others, but I always say that’s the beauty of an anthology. If you’re not vibe-ing with one, it’s no sweat. Soon enough, you’re on to the next. And, the majority of these tales are well-constructed and may even leave you with a euphoric adrenaline scare. Or yank your heartstrings right out of your chest. They did for me.
The stand-outs for me offered depth of characterization, witty dialogue, seemingly effortless prose, an interesting monster mythos, and a satisfying ending (some of which were like a punch in the gut). Jonathan Maberry somehow jam packs “All the Devils are Here” with all of these things. Not only that, but he puts you up front and center of the mayhem taking place in the dark pit of hell. Masterful story telling indeed. “Pit of Ghosts” by Kirsten Cross is another gem. What do you get when you take a tour in a haunted mine? Let me tell you that you’ll have fun finding out. Not sure I’ll be signing up for any such ghost hunting situation ever, ever, ever. Up next, J.H. Moncrieff writes a gripping prequel to her Return to Dyatlov Pass novel called “The Offspring”. Moncrieff crafts character, backstory, and shakes it all up with absolute terror. That ending. Ugh. I’m still wiping the tears. Aaron Sterns’ “Black Lung” is another fresh take on the theme of this collection. I wasn’t expecting to go on a drug raid, laced with heart-stopping twists and turns. If I reveal anymore, I’ll spoil the adventure. Jessica McHugh’s “Ghosts of Hyperia” has an intriguing premise leading to clever conclusion, the pieces coming full circle. The last tale “He Who Fights” by Sean Ellis is a rightful finish to this book. The realism and the flow of the language swept me right through those pages. I struggled to catch my breath until the final twist.
Although some of the stories here felt a bit same-y, there are enough outstanding ones to make this a must-read. And, if you haven’t been exposed to some of the authors yet, you’ll surely be whetting your taste buds for their other works. Oh, and don’t forget your military grade flashlight. You’ll need it for your descent into HELLHOLE.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐