Review: The Best of the Horror Zine: The Early Years, edited by Jeani Rector

The Best of the Horror Zine: The Early Years is an anthology edited by Jeani Rector that features horror short stories collected from the best of the first four anthologies from this award-winning, long-running ezine.

Out of the corner of your eye you see something … there’s a shadow in the room that you can’t explain. When you open a certain door, a chill runs through you—it’s a mystery. Everyone enjoys being frightened; we love experiencing fear through reading a horror story. The natural high from the fantasized fight-or-flight response feels great. We love horror because there’s something about the genre that is similar to shouting, “I’m not afraid of death, I’m entertained by it!”

Reading a good short horror story in an anthology is a pleasure. One of the best anthologies I have read recently is The Best of the Horror Zine: The Early Years. It contains fiction from renowned masters of the macabre, all hand-chosen by editor and master horror writer herself, Jeani Rector, who pens an excellent scary story in “The Bus Station.

This is a wonderful compilation of horror stories put together by Jeani Rector. I was particularly fascinated by the short horror stories of Bentley Little’s “The Security System”; Joe R. Lansdale’s “Not From Detroit”; Elizabeth Massie’s “And Baby You Can Sleep While I Drive”; and Bruce Memblett’s “The Police Station.” The authors take what can be everyday situations and twist and turn them so that the imagination takes over and we experience the true horror of what can, and might actually (if we’re not careful), happen to us.

I read some of The Best of the Horror Zine: The Early Years at night while I was alone in the house. The images conjured up by this excellent writing gave me a delicious fright—even though I made absolutely sure that the door to my basement was solidly locked! This is a truly scary selection of stories.

The basis of horror and what it does for all of us is simply this: a catharsis. The Best of the Horror Zine: The Early Years reflects, in a unique way, the times in which we live. Ordinary people leading ordinary lives, when all of a sudden we experience a scary bump in the road. It touches something we all feel and are familiar with and, as such, can reveal a deeper understanding of ourselves as we go through the act of being uncomfortable, then relieved, and then truly terrified. The thrill is an ancient one, and when we feel it, we’re connecting with something old and powerful within us.

The Best of the Horror Zine: The Early Years is an anthology I recommend for those long winter nights when the wind is howling, the snow is falling, and when you look outside, you can swear you see large, inhuman footprints leading up to your back door. This is a great, scary read.


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Kristen Houghton is the author of nine top-selling novels,  including For I Have Sinned and Grave Misgivings, books 1 and 2 in the best-selling new series,  A Cate Harlow Private Investigation.  Book 3 in the series, Unrepentant: Pray for Us Sinners, will be published Fall of 2016. She is hard at work on a new series that features a paranormal investigator with distinct powers of her own.

Houghton is also the author of two non-fiction books and numerous short stories which appear in popular anthologies.


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    Despite being free, he believes he could become a victim once more. “It’s just the times we’re living in,” he says.

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