Friday, June 24, 2016


Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, published by Crystal Lake Publishing and Joe Mynhardt, is now available for purchase. I bought mine through pre-order, but now is your chance for an instant Kindle buy. This great anthology is also available in paperback. This super tome has been anticipated for a long time, and it is now here.


Blaze McRob

Book description:

 From Bram Stoker Award-nominated publisher, Crystal Lake Publishing, and the editing duo who brought you the best-selling and critically acclaimed small-town Lovecraftian horror anthology Shadows Over Main Street, comes Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories—a disturbing journey into the beauty that rests inside the very heart of darkness.

Awe meets ache.

Terror becomes transcendence.

Regret gives way to rebirth.

Fifteen short stories and one poem span nearly every twisted corner of the horror and dark fiction genres:

A woman experiences an emotional reckoning inside a haunted house.

A father sees his daughter rescued after a cold case is solved, only to learn the tragic limits of his love.

A man awakens a vengeful spirit and learns the terrible price of settling scores.

A boy comes of age into awareness of a secret universe of Lovecraftian scale.

A young woman confronts the deathly price of existence inside a German concentration camp during the Holocaust.

And much, much more…

Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories features the most celebrated voices in dark fiction, as well as a number of exciting new talents:

Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Tremblay, John F.D. Taff, Lisa Mannetti, Damien Angelica Walters, Josh Malerman, Christopher Coake, Mercedes M. Yardley, Brian Kirk, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Amanda Gowin, Richard Thomas, Maria Alexander and Kevin Lucia. Edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward.

With a foreword from Cemetery Dance magazine founder Richard Chizmar.

Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing.

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Have you ever been punched in the stomach? You know, just hit so hard that it knocks the wind out of you and all you can do is sit there and try to catch a breath. That’s how I felt after reading this book. Each and every story packs such a powerful punch it’s hard to say which is the better one! Kudos to Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward for gathering together such a stellar collection of stories that so aptly go with both the darkly beautiful cover by Caitlin Hackett and of course the title… Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories.

Stephanie M. Wytovich — “The Morning After Was Filled with Bone”
Read this poem and then look at the cover again, this is a poem of empowerment. It encompasses the body of the book and is a great introduction to the stories within.

Brian Kirk — “Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave”
A child abducted, and as hope begins to wane of ever seeing her again the unimaginable happens… she is found. But, can things ever go back to what they were? A father’s love is pushed to the limits.

Lisa Mannetti — “Arbeit Macht Frei”
It is said, ‘All’s fair in love or war’. But, what does that really mean, and how far should one go?

Neil Gaiman — “The Problem of Susan”
Survivor’s guilt, what a cross to bear. Or is it remorse? ‘Why not me?’ one may ask.

Christopher Coake — “Dominion”
I’ve heard it said that the soul will linger at the site of death until it can find a resolution. A group of kids ready to party are soon to find out whether this is true.

Mercedes M. Yardley — “Water Thy Bones”
Love comes in many strange forms, it’s just a matter of finding someone who is willing to accept what one willingly has to offer.

Paul Tremblay — “A Haunted House is a Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken”
This is a splendid interactive story where you, Dear Reader… are able to choose your path through the chapters. The outcome is up to you!

Damien Angelica Walters — “On the Other Side of the Door, Everything Changes”
Such a sad story of choices. How can one be sure which is the correct answer, until the choice has already been made?

Richard Thomas — “Repent”
When one’s soul has been blackened so darkly can there be any room for atonement?

Clive Barker — “Coming to Grief”
The grieving process comes in many forms, if one is not careful it has a way of swallowing you whole.

John F.D. Taff — “Cards for His Spokes, Coins for His Fare”
Oh my, I wanted to cry. How could a birthday gift go so terribly wrong?

Amanda Gowin — “Cellar’s Dog”
As in Androcles and the Lion, we find good deeds are rewarded when Laticia summons the courage to rescue a dog.

Kevin Lucia — “When We All Meet at the Ofrenda”
Ah, Day of the Dead… it’s the one day every year that we can visit with our loved ones long gone. Whitey has a date and a promise he aims to keep.

Maria Alexander — “Hey, Little Sister”
A brother’s love for his little sister can be a powerful thing. So powerful in fact, that it can raise the dead!

Josh Malerman — “The One You Live With”
Does anyone truly know who we are? Or, better yet, do you truly know who you are?

Ramsey Campbell — “The Place of Revelation”
To tell a story you must first own it. Uncle Lucian has been telling young Colin stories for years, now it's Colin's turn to tell his story.

It would be remiss of me not to mention Luke Spooner. His beautifully done artwork graces the pages of this fine book. Or, Crystal Lake Publishing for bringing this book our way! Truly one of the best anthologies I have ever read.

Format: Paperback
An absolutely stunning collection. Haunting and heart wrenching, not one story misses. Although horror fans will celebrate the familiar names, newcomers to the genre will not be disappointed. Paul Tremblay's story alone is worth the purchase price. 

Format: Kindle Edition
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this anthology.

Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories is fantastic! Most multi-author collections have some stories that I love and some that are just ok, but Gutted is filled with wonderful stories. The tales found here are touching and horrific, heartbreaking and full of hope. None of them are disappointing. A few of my favorites are:
The Problem of Susan by Neil Gaiman — A very dark twist on a beloved children's story.
Dominion by Christopher Coake — A girl gets help from the other side. Great ghost story!
Water Thy Bones by Mercedes M. Yardley — This is a disturbing and yet somehow beautiful tale of love and death.
On the Other Side of the Door, Everything Changes by Damien Angelica Walters — A truly heart-wrenching story about bullying and it's consequences. This one was hard to read through my tears.
Repent by Richard Thomas — A father is willing to make any sacrifice to save his son.
Cards for His Spokes, Coins for His Fare by John F.D. Taff — This one broke my heart!
Cellar’s Dog by Amanda Gowin — Revenge doggy style.
When We All Meet at the Ofrenda by Kevin Lucia — A widower brings his family together for Día de Muertos. Touched my heart.
Hey, Little Sister by Maria Alexander — A man seeks revenge for his sister with unintended consequences.
Horror fans will find much to love in this superbly written anthology. A highly recommended 5 star read.

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