Jones, Stephen, ed. The mammoth book of best new horror: 15. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2004. 624pp.
Another one of those self-recommending books. If you like short horror fiction, you will like this book. Even if you don't like short horror fiction, you will probably find a few stories worth your effort but perhaps not enough to make it worth buying the book.
This series is pretty reliable, quality-wise. I usually tend to like about half the stories, be indifferent about a quarter and sorta dislike about a quarter. The half I like is usually worth the price of admission. So, how does this volume stack up? Actually quite a bit better than average -- I would say I like upwards of 60% of the stories or even more. Probably one of the best volumes in the series I've ever read, and the first was volume 6, I think.
the stories from this volume that really stood out for me:
- Cell Call by Marc Laidlaw
- Hunger: A Confession by Dale Bailey
- Mr Sly Stops for a Cup of Joe by Scott Emerson Bull
- The white hands by Mark Samuels
- Dancing Men by Glen Hirshberg
- Bitter Grounds by Neil Gaiman
- Child of the Sones by Paul McAuley
- Exorcising Angels by Simon Clark & Tim Lebbon.
The closing story, Exorcising Angels by Clark & Lebbon was easily my fave from the book. An eerie WWI/WWII historical, featuring Arthur Machen and miracles and the blitz not to mention a valid historical basis, a real tour de force with a sharply defined setting and a terrific premise.
One small note. This book has extensive front and endnotes giving lots of introductory information on the "year in horror" from 2003 (yeah, a little behind in my reading). The actual stories take up about 520 pages.