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Shadow Masters an anthology from The Horror Zine

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Fear casts a long shadow, and shadows take many shapes… From award-winning editor, Jeani Rector, who brought you the terrifying anthology, WHAT FEARS BECOME, comes a wicked brew of spine-tingling fiction. Featuring never before published works from best-selling authors, this chilling collection of works also includes a foreword from Joe R. Lansdale. From classic horror and Fear casts a long shadow, and shadows take many shapes… From award-winning editor, Jeani Rector, who brought you the terrifying anthology, WHAT FEARS BECOME, comes a wicked brew of spine-tingling fiction. Featuring never before published works from best-selling authors, this chilling collection of works also includes a foreword from Joe R. Lansdale. From classic horror and exciting suspense to Twilight Zone-type speculative fiction with twisted endings, SHADOW MASTERS: An Anthology from The Horror Zine delves into the darkest corners of our nightmares and delivers the shivers.


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Fear casts a long shadow, and shadows take many shapes… From award-winning editor, Jeani Rector, who brought you the terrifying anthology, WHAT FEARS BECOME, comes a wicked brew of spine-tingling fiction. Featuring never before published works from best-selling authors, this chilling collection of works also includes a foreword from Joe R. Lansdale. From classic horror and Fear casts a long shadow, and shadows take many shapes… From award-winning editor, Jeani Rector, who brought you the terrifying anthology, WHAT FEARS BECOME, comes a wicked brew of spine-tingling fiction. Featuring never before published works from best-selling authors, this chilling collection of works also includes a foreword from Joe R. Lansdale. From classic horror and exciting suspense to Twilight Zone-type speculative fiction with twisted endings, SHADOW MASTERS: An Anthology from The Horror Zine delves into the darkest corners of our nightmares and delivers the shivers.

30 review for Shadow Masters an anthology from The Horror Zine

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dave Granger

    I can't believe how fast I plowed through this one, but it really is like watching a great show on DVD. You finish one story and say to yourself, "okay, just one more story" and the next thing you know, you're reading a second, a third and a forth. It is that good. The editor of this collection, Jeani Rector has a knack of putting together stellar line ups of both well known and relative newcomers to the game. Though I am very familiar with some of these lesser known names such as Christian A. La I can't believe how fast I plowed through this one, but it really is like watching a great show on DVD. You finish one story and say to yourself, "okay, just one more story" and the next thing you know, you're reading a second, a third and a forth. It is that good. The editor of this collection, Jeani Rector has a knack of putting together stellar line ups of both well known and relative newcomers to the game. Though I am very familiar with some of these lesser known names such as Christian A. Larsen, Shaun Meeks and Christopher Nadeau from prior Horror Zine anthologies, it will not be long before these writers are known as the cream of the crop. Without giving too much away, I will say I have some favorites in this one for sure. This is only the third story I have ever read by Bentley Little, but the one in here, The End of the Trail, is a great piece. I also loved Lisa Morton's Red Ink, Ronald Malfi's The Housewarming, James J. Marlow's The Thing That Was Not There, and Christopher Nadeau's Willard Junction. By far though, my two favorites here were Shaun Meeks' Red Velvet and Christian A. Larsen's The People Eater. These two have such distinct voices and such a great style, I always look forward to what they put out next. All in all, there is not really a sleeper in this massive collection of talent. Even stories that started off a little slow for me, turned me around by the end and I was glad I didn't skim over it. I highly recommend this!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Siduri Moonshine

    I recently read and reviewed, “What Fears Becomes” and was quite impressed with Jeani Rector’s earlier anthology from The Horror Zine. With tingling chills still rippling up my spine I eagerly delved into another anthology from The Horror Zine also edited by Jeani Rector, “Shadow Masters.” The cover piqued my curiosity as to what might lie hidden within the shadows of that old wooden clapboard house, the ghastly pale glow from the windows beckoning me to crack open this new, Masterpiece” to find I recently read and reviewed, “What Fears Becomes” and was quite impressed with Jeani Rector’s earlier anthology from The Horror Zine. With tingling chills still rippling up my spine I eagerly delved into another anthology from The Horror Zine also edited by Jeani Rector, “Shadow Masters.” The cover piqued my curiosity as to what might lie hidden within the shadows of that old wooden clapboard house, the ghastly pale glow from the windows beckoning me to crack open this new, Masterpiece” to find out what lurked in the shadows. This reviewer, being new to The Horror Zine publications noted that this anthology differed from their other anthologies with the omission of poetry and art as in others. The, “Shadow Masters” anthology contains thirty eight short stories packed into 342 pages. Some familiar names that emerge from the shadows are; Earl Hamner of “The Walton’s and “Falcon Crest” fame, Melanie Tem, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, and Scott Nicholson, to name a few. A plethora of new writers lurk in the shadows waiting to tell you their tales. A forward by Joe R. Lansdale introduces the ever anticipating reader to, “Shadow Masters.” Joe penned the infamous, “Hap And Leonard” series of novels and was a contributing writer for, “Batman: The Animated Series among other writing pursuits. The first few chapters or stories in any literary pursuit, albeit book, magazine, or ezine are critical for the writer. In my humble opinion those first few chapters or stories are critical; the reader is either reeled in and becomes lost in the book or lost in the pursuit of being lost. In, “Shadow Masters” the first story reels the reader in and attempts to lead them deeper into the dark shadows. James Marlow takes the reader to the edge, to that point where one wonders if they really saw something in the shadows or not in his story, “The Thing That Was Not There.” The very first sentence pays homage to some large and looming masters of the dark including Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Bently Little (you’ll meet him in a little bit) ! A story reminiscent of, “It” by Stephen King with the mentions of clowns, shadows, and teeth with a twist on what happens eventually when one OD’s on one too many horror stories and has nothing better to do than read horror all day and night long! After that first story, “Shadow Masters” waxes and wanes. I had to question why that might be. My journey into the shadows is going to be different from others who choose to enter in and I am well aware there are many who will love this anthology and I am sure some who may not. I won’t go into details discussing in this review each one of the thirty eight stories, however I would like to highlight a few that stand out in my mind as, “breaking it” or “making it!” Remember I mentioned earlier how the first few chapters or stories are important? When I finished with the first story I was eager for the next and turned the page. “Red Velvet” by Shaun Meeks is an interesting tale of man who is addicted to the coppery smell and taste of blood. It didn’t reach out and grab me. My mind wasn’t racing and my heart wasn’t pumping. With a little more depth and development this could be a, “Heart stopper!” The stories that reached out and grabbed me were: “The End of The Trail by Bently Little. A bride and groom journey down a haunted bridle path on their wedding day. “Same Sex Wedding” by Garrett Rowan is not your typical vamp tale, there’s a little more for you to sink your teeth into with this story! “The Classmate” by Melanie Tam. A haunting twist on a class reunion when an unfamiliar classmate shows up. A well written story that immediately reaches out and grabs you…..then slowly drags you into the shadows. “Fearful Symmetry” by Devon Carey examines relationships between a father and his two sons, each from a different mother. Who really is the insane monster in this tale? “Come On Down To The Store Minerva” by Earl Hamner is one of my favorites and not because it is penned by one of my favorite masters of the dark either. This isn’t, “Godsey’s Store!” “Wood Witch” by Jonathan Chapman is a moving story about a romance between two abused teens that ends in tragedy with only one physically surviving. My take on this story is that the social worker is the Woods Witch and seeks to save dysfunctional families. No evil witch in this tale, read between the lines! It’s a modern day twist on that classic fairy tale, “Hansel And Gretel!” “Willard Junction” by Christopher Nadeau is a story about a town that exists only in the shadows of one’s mind. Nadeau is an upcoming and talented writer and I can’t wait to read more of his works! “Suka: The White Wolf” (Based On A True Story) by Jeff Bennington is very well written, riveting, and immediately grabs the reader until the very end. “Them Ole’ Negro Blues” by JG Faherty tells the tale of a young musician who discovers “gold” in an old dusty box in his mother’s attic. The box contains old records that were recorded and never published by some of the most talented blues artists. Tempted and greedy the young musician steals the music and makes millions from not one, not two, but three albums before someone who knows comes out of the shadows. By the way, love the nod JG gave to Fleetwood Mac! “Reanimated” and “The Famous Film Star” by Jeani Rector will scare the living daylights out of you! Think haunted house and suddenly someone or something popping out of the dark shadows! Have the toilet paper handy for these two stories! “Shadow Masters” has a little bit for everyone in this fun house of horror. Some stories leave one’s heart pounding with fear and anticipation….that feeling of hiding under the bed because there was a shadow sliding under the closet door. One never really knows what is lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce! I give, “Shadow Masters” a three star rating for it pales in the shadows by a few stories.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Vincenzo Bilof

    Classic Horror from Today's Masters Many of today's writers, and indeed, even the audience, seem to feel an explanation is needed to explain the phenomenon present in any film or book; "open-ended" conclusions are not well-received by the mass audiences. However, the best horror films and books usually don't provide these explanations; as people, we crave answers to everything and we finally have a horror anthology composed by writers who don't feel the need to provide any scientific rationale fo Classic Horror from Today's Masters Many of today's writers, and indeed, even the audience, seem to feel an explanation is needed to explain the phenomenon present in any film or book; "open-ended" conclusions are not well-received by the mass audiences. However, the best horror films and books usually don't provide these explanations; as people, we crave answers to everything and we finally have a horror anthology composed by writers who don't feel the need to provide any scientific rationale for the concept of terror. It's an emotion, something abstract that is realized and experienced, and the authors in this collection demonstrate their mastery of fear. Well-written stories that almost seemed as if all the authors collaborated and decided to take on a unique perspective of fear—I can't choose a favorite story among them because I kept turning the pages. More often than not, we pick and choose stories to read in an anthology, but not this time. I won't ever forget "Red Velvet" by Shaun Meeks or "The End of the Trail" by Bentley Little; while "The Flame of Freedom" by A.J. French neatly completes the anthology with a story that seems to almost thematically draw the entire book to a close by coming full circle, I felt as if any story could've concluded the book. I can't remember the last time I actually read a vampire story that was unique and entertaining; this book seems to come right out of the shadows of more classical horror stories that dare to be original. I paused after each story to digest what I'd experienced, and I wanted to seek out more work by the authors I wasn't familiar with. It's been a long time since a horror anthology was released that showcases the talent of writers who understand what fear is.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    This is a great anthology. Some well established authors and lots of fresh new writers. A super fun read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    C.

    Books like the latest anthology from Horror Zine editor Jeani Rector are exactly the reason I love anthologies. I always discover so many great authors I may not have otherwise discovered. And new authors, for a reader as voracious as myself, is always a plus. SHADOW MASTERS isn’t a very big book--only 342 pages--but with over 30 stories, it feels massive. And within those 30+ stories are some incredible talents. I guess I could showcase the name authors, the ones you’ll recognize, the ones you’l Books like the latest anthology from Horror Zine editor Jeani Rector are exactly the reason I love anthologies. I always discover so many great authors I may not have otherwise discovered. And new authors, for a reader as voracious as myself, is always a plus. SHADOW MASTERS isn’t a very big book--only 342 pages--but with over 30 stories, it feels massive. And within those 30+ stories are some incredible talents. I guess I could showcase the name authors, the ones you’ll recognize, the ones you’ll buy this book for, like Bentley Little, whose story “The End of the Trail” is brilliantly weird and so very well-written. Or there’s Yvonne Navarro’s “Holodomor Girl”, which is without question the darkest thing in this collection, and so good. I could talk about Simon Clark’s “The Tin House” or Melanie Tem’s “The Classmate”, which feels like a terribly deranged world masquerading as our normal everyday one and not doing a very good job of it--this might be my second favorite story here--or there’s Elizabeth Massie’s “Wet Birds”, But I don’t have to, because you know these authors, and when you purchase this book, it’ll be those names that drew you in. Luckily, though, SHADOW MASTERS has so much more to offer and, while the names may not be immediately recognizable (they weren’t to me, anyway), their talent is just as solid, and their stories every bit the equal of those bigger names. Rick McQuiston’s “Don’t Feed the Dog” is a very short, but powerful story about denial, death and dinnertime that demands a second reading, while Tim Jeffreys’s “The Cellar” leaves all the best bits to your imagination, and is an even more powerful story because of it. James Marlow’s “The Thing That Was Not There” is an excellent opener and sets the tone for the rest of the stories that follow while Christopher Hivner’s “I Am the Feeder” and Horror Zine co-editor Dean H. Wild’s story “Foundlings” share a similar theme, but are each very much their own stories. Devon Carey’s “Fearful Symmetry” read like something from Clive Barker at his most inventive and Jonathan Chapman’s “The Wood Witch” was easily one of the most enjoyable reads of the collection. Not because of the incredibly dark content, but because of Chapman’s style. That dude can write! The collection is aptly titled. There’s a darkness that permeates these stories--which is fitting, I guess; they ARE horror stories--but it’s more than just because they’re horror stories. There are themes of hopelessness, despair and regret that run throughout many of them, adding to the feel of the book as a whole. This is not a happy collection. But if it was, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as I did. Jeani Rector is an editor who knows her stuff and she has put together a 5-star collection of long-time horror talents with some up and comers who are sure to make big names for themselves, very soon. SHADOWS MASTERS was, for me, the epitome of why I love horror anthologies in the first place.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Solon Hosophos

    A combination of perfectly crafted classic horror stories and great new approaches, this book has all I want from an Anthology in this genre. There were Zombies, Werwolfes, Ghosts and haunted houses, possesions and it brought new things into the realm of horror as well! Great chills guaranteed, and very few stories were predictable.km

  7. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Milligan

    Love!! Great scary stories... right before bedtime. It's the best time to read these! Love!! Great scary stories... right before bedtime. It's the best time to read these!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeff VanLandingham

  9. 4 out of 5

    AuthorIsland

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn Parker

  11. 5 out of 5

    Monica

  12. 4 out of 5

    Darlene Harris

  13. 5 out of 5

    James

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  15. 5 out of 5

    Francois Oulet

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ginger Minton

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Meeks

  19. 5 out of 5

    James Marlow

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vernita Polk

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leah Polcar

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  24. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

  25. 4 out of 5

    P.D. Smarslok

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tina Rooker

  27. 5 out of 5

    Heather Makover

  28. 5 out of 5

    Terry West

  29. 4 out of 5

    donna moshier

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Duncan

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