Ruthless: An Extreme Shock Horror Collection

Ruthless: An Extreme Shock Horror Collection - Shane McKenzie, Bentley Little Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 5
boobs: 1
bombs: 0
bondage: 4
blasphemy: 3
Bechdel Test: FAIL
Deggan's Rule: FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL

This is a collection of short horror stories, most of them written by people who's names I don't recognize. There was quite a disparity between the quality of the stories; a couple of standouts really shined but most of the collection is mediocre and two or three of the stories felt like they were below par for the collection. The anthology covered all the usual themes in horror, and frankly I didn't think any of them were especially "extreme". I did not finish this book with a sense of having discovered any new writers, either, which I find very unfortunate - I look forward to anthologies like this to find new talent.

The highlights of the collection are "Little Blenny Bunting" by Airika Sneve. The voicing was especially good in this, and the persepective from the learning-disabled protagonist played well against the setting where he finds himself in a corner of reality where the rules are suddenly different to anything he's experienced before. The other standout story is "Mother's Little Helper" by Tom Olbert, a cautionary tale of what can go wrong when technology and morality collide.

I felt "Sanctity of Passion" by Daniel Fabiani and "Strength" by Alec Cizak were the weakest in the collection. They were written well in the technical sense, but the stories covered well trod ground and failed to bring any new insights or conclusions to the reader, finally leaving me with a feeling of jaded disappointment.

Each of the stories are well written in the technical sense. All of the authors showed an understanding of pace, and the cadence was well handled through vocabulary and grammar. I did not see any typos. However, the epub I have did not have any links from the TOC. This means to go to a particular story you have to page through the whole book until you find it.

I'm torn between two and three stars. If the book weren't labeled "Extreme" and the TOC functioned correctly, I would probably give this three stars. But because it was mislabled, and I had to page back and forth through the whole book to find the stories to jog my memory (yes, most of them are that forgettable) I'm going to go with two stars. I believe that less jaded readers, or people who haven't read as much horror as I have, would enjoy this book more than I did.

Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.