Rating: 4/5 Bumps in the Night
Give me the short version: No, really, it’s all in the title.
If you haven’t checked them out yet, online horror magazine Deadman’s Tome (founded 2008 as Demonic Tome) has been rapidly spreading its tentacles of outré horror. Monsters Exist is a wonderfully neat concept with wide appeal; short stories about monsters; and from a publisher known for edginess this collection is actually very accessible – you can read it over lunch without losing it.
People always want something different from stories and of course we all have our best and brightest cryptid. I’ve got a nose for what bends the brain so I’m calling out my favourites as:
• The traditional brutal simplicity of Christopher Powers’ Bitten.
• Some unexpected silver-tongued social critique in Leo X Robertson’s Kelpies.
• Mr Deadman himself’s Lake Monster, with its quick-step dialogue and the hilariously great characterisation.
• And my top highlight: to join SE Casey in a frictionless slide into the unnerving with Playing Dead is always a treat.
Something which I haven’t seen much of in other anthologies, Monsters Exist popped author bios at the end of each story. This was super convenient and I loved being able to look the author up (and buy more stories) while still in the moment.
My favourite bit:
“The kissing tent’s side flaps were rolled up allowing a glimpse of Ms. Pinn, the retired town librarian, making out with a much younger man. Harry’s heart jumped at the sight of her grey hair that had been torn away from its bun, the feral kiss too deep and passionate to be appropriate in any context.”
– Playing Dead, SE Casey.