Strange Tales IV, edited by Rosalie Parker

Review published on February 21, 2014. Reviewed by Mario Guslandi

Nudge Reviewer Rating:

I confess that I was so enthused but the high literary quality of the previous three volumes of the World Fantasy Award- winning series Strange Tales that, foolishly, I was expecting even more from the four installment. Because that’s how we human beings are : we have never enough , we are always aiming to a higher step, a higher target.

Actually the fourth Strange Stories anthology is NOT the best of the batch, but still a very good collection of short stories ranging from the horrific to the fantastic, from the fairy to the weird penned by a group of both well known and less known writers.
Among the fifteen tales included in the book some are especially noteworthy.

“You Promised You Would Walk” by John Howard depicts a gloomy Berlin as the venue of ambiguous male encounters for a visiting Briton while “Forth” by AJ McIntosh is a puzzling but fascinating yarn revolving around an odd, elusive young girl living by the sea.

Richard Hill contributes “Time” an unusual tale portraying a world where time travelling into the past has become a common feature, while John Gaskin provides “The Memento Mori” , a dark, atmospheric piece about a disquieting but fascinating object acquired by an eager, unlucky collector.

The two gems of the volume are Rebecca Lloyd’s “Gone to the Deep”, a powerful story blending horror and folklore where a cruel, ravishing mermaid attracts and destroys men, and Angela Slatter’s “ The Badger’s Bride”, yet another of the author’s delightful fairy tales ,graced by a gorgeous narrative style.

Other contributors to the volume are : Christopher Harman, Rhys Hughes, VH Leslie, Andrew Apter, Matt Leishon, Mark Francis, Andrew Hook, HV Chao and Jason A Wyckoff.

A fifth volume is already planned. We are looking forward to more “strange” but enticing stories.

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Gretel and the Dark, by Eliza Granville

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