The Best Horror of the Year Volume Four

The Best Horror of the Year Volume Four - Brian Hodge, Stephen King, Leah Bobet, Priya Sharma, Anna Taborska, Alison J. Littlewood, Livia Llewellyn, A.C. Wise, David Nickle, Terry Lamsley, John Langan, Simon Bestwick, Margo Lanagan, Glen Hirshberg, Laird Barron, Chet Williamson, Ellen Datlow, Peter Straub I won't be reading all of these stories. Frankly, I don't know why I keep picking these "Best Horror of the Year" anthologies up whenever I come across them at the library. It's almost as if every semblance of fun has been scientifically purged from the pages in some stoic pursuit of literary acceptance and broad acknowledgment of the merit of horror.

C'mon! Why read horror if not to have fun? If you want to be bored to sleep, read William Faulkner.

Anyway, this being horror, a couple of good stories usually manage to sneak in the back door of these stuffy buttoned-down collections, and those are the ones I'm looking for. The Stephen King and Brian Hodge stories were already released in [b:A Book of Horrors|12711120|A Book of Horrors|Stephen Jones||17844816] (why include them in this collection then?), see my reviews for them there. The Brian Hodge story is definitely worth reading.

Fortunately, I started off with a mighty fine tale:

(borrowing this perfect synopsis from my Goodreads friend Nancy Oakes' review - I'll probably only read the ones she recommended)

***** "Final Verse" by Chet Williamson

where a once-popular bluegrass singer whose career is fading decides to go on the hunt for the missing last verse to a traditional Appalachian folksong. A bit of detective work leads him and a friend to an old house in the woods -- where they find much more than they bargained for.

Very nicely written, ol' Chet either loves his bluegrass or does good research, 'cause everything rang nice and true throughout. I really liked this story, hang in there, it's worth it. He should be right proud of this 'un.

(I'll update this review with more as I get to them)