Preliminary Horrors

Currently reading

Renfield: Slave of Dracula
Barbara Hambly
Corpse: Nature, Forensics, And The Struggle To Pinpoint Time Of Death
Jessica Snyder Sachs
Collected Poems
Dylan Thomas


Toe Tags - Brian Barnett, William Pauley III, Michael A. Kechula, Graeme Reynolds, Joshua Scribner, Lori Titus, Angel Zapata, L.B. Goddard, Brett Saunders, T.J. McIntyre, Nathan Rosen, Jimmy Calabrese, Stephanie Barnett, Oonah V. Joslin, Robert C. Eccles, Joshua Day, Chad Case Given the generally high marks this book has received (mostly from the contributors and their acquaintances I see), I figured it safe betting that this collection would be an enjoyable read. Toe Tags doesn't feel like it even made it past a quick cursory glance from its proofreader. With stories switching from past to present tense with no reason other than the author's sloppy oversight, to (somewhat baffling) spates of a clear inability to distinguish between "than" and "then", this book is riddled with Grammar and Punctuation 101-level mistakes. I had the strong impression that very few if any of the authors were asked to make revisions beyond their first drafts. Needless to say, it made for a lot of distractions while reading.

The stories themselves, while for the most part unique at their core, are neither frightening nor very enjoyable. That's not to say there aren't a couple of good stories in the collection. However, there seems to be both a lack of story development and general writing style from the large majority of these tales, and the overall work suffers for it. I often found myself bored as I read through this book, which to my mind read like a high school writing project slung together by a band of friends rather than an anthology of new and talented horror authors. On more than one occasion I wondered how a good chunk of these poorly written and cliche-abused stories were approved for publication at all. I had higher expectations, and Toe Tags is definitely not one of the best horror anthologies out there.