________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 2 . . . .September 15, 2006


The Horrors: Terrifying Tales: Book Two.

Peter Carver, ed.
Calgary, AB: Red Deer Press, 2006.
207 pp., pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 0-88995-338-4.

Subject Heading:
Horror tales, Canadian (English).

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by J.A. Greavett.

*** /4



The huge, white moon throws my shadow on the road a couple of hundred meters below, giving me a preview of how my body will look implanted there. A truck runs over it and I swallow hard.
(From “Consequences” by Sylvia McNicoll.)

Tuesday, September 6th, 2005, 4 p.m.

I’m writing this locked in my front-hall bathroom. Today was my first day as a latchkey kid. Now that I’m in high school Mom’s gone back to work so we can afford a house, not an apartment. (Thanks Mom- you better not be reading this!)

Coming in, I saw the door to the basement was ajar. I sensed someone on the other side, down there, waiting for me. I swear I heard the stairs-creaking.
(From “The First Assignment: Fear” by Anne Laurel Carter.)


I have a memory of being 12-years-old, sitting encircled by lamplight waiting for the house to stir. I had the longest wait of my life. It was three in the morning, I was riding a sugar high from my Halloween begging but more importantly I had just finished reading Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. The compulsion to finish the book regardless of what might lurk in the darkness competed with the need for daylight and Dad. That feeling of fear and compulsion is what I use to judge every horror story I read. There were a few of those moments while I read this collection.

     Reviewing a compilation of horror stories is a difficult task. Like most anthologies it contains a smorgasbord of stories. The Horrors: Terrifying Tales: Book Two is no different. The 14 stories range from the proverbial babysitter gone mad (“The Drummer” by Louise Wadsworth) to the necrophilia fairy tale with a twist (“Prince Sandred the Silent: A Truly Grim Tale” by Priscilla Galloway). The one thread that weaves itself through this collection of stories is teenage angst. Each story deals with an aspect of teen life, and the worst nightmares contained in that demographic come true here. What happens if your teacher is a psycho murderer? (“The First Assignment: Fear” by Anne Laurel Carter) How do you deal with an abusive parent? (“Consequences” by Sylvia McNicoll) Is sibling rivalry really that bad? (“The Healer” by Cheryl Rainfield) The Horrors is a teenager’s worst nightmares given breath.

      The writers have experience and awards as varied as the stories contained within this collection: Gillian Chan winner of the Nautilus Award and the White Pine Award; Alison Lohan was first published at the age of 12; and Joanne Findon who was first published only three years ago. Most of the stories had me riveted. Two were predictable, and I was easily distracted while reading them, but the majority of stories in this collection reminded me of sitting in the circle of light waiting for daylight and Dad.


J.A. Greavett, an educator of all age levels including teachers, lives in Kingston, ON. She lives to read and writes to live.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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