***I received a free copy from Ginger Nuts of Horror in exchange for an honest review***
A neighborhood won’t let its residents forget the past. One taste draws two lovers into a nightmarish addiction. A harsh winter forces strange creatures down from the mountains.
At sea level, where it’s safe, things like this can’t happen. But when you’re sky high in Denver, Colorado, anything goes…including your sanity.
Beware of Terror at 5280’, a horror fiction anthology featuring dark tales set in and around Denver and the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, penned exclusively by local authors.
Edited by: Josh Schlossberg, Gary Robbe, Melinda Bezdek, Bobby Crew, Desi D, Lisa Mavroudis, Thomas C. Mavroudis, and Jeamus Wilkes
I really enjoyed this anthology. I loved how the intro teased that these stories were all based on true events but disguised as fiction. I’m all for a conspiracy theory, so my interest was definitely piqued.
Saying that—I’m a huge horror fan. I live and breathe horror books and horror movies. My Netflix feed is nothing but indie horror films and blockbusters. My favorite types of horror are slashers, hauntings, and survival. The majority of these short stories didn’t really jump as horror to me. They were more like psychological suspense. Most of the stories had a quiet approach of being creepy and setting a dreadful tone.
I’ll go over each story one by one:
The Depths by Matthew Lyons
I liked this story. A kid named Travis had stolen something from a very dark place where “there are too many ghosts buried there.” That line really popped out to me. When the old man banged on the door to get the item back, the tension between the old man and Travis’s dad was interesting. That scene was full of suspense. My favorite lines: 1) “…pretends he can’t feel the curious, dead eyes that follow him all the way home.” 2) “The house is filled with blood, and the silence is back, worse than before.”
Laffing Sal by Lindsay King-Miller
I loved the opening line: “A spider crawled across Sal’s tongue as the three girls came down the stairs.” I loved the twist of how Sal was part of an amusement park prop. The author did a great job of going between Sal and the three girls’ different point-of-views to show the terrifying situation happening. My favorite line: “Sal knew about fear. Fear had brought her to life.”
This Was Always Going to Happen by Stephen Graham Jones
This story used second person point-of-view by using “you” in the narration. The main character had a flat tire, and this weird cyclist kept bothering him with things that wouldn’t help with a flat tire. The author did a great job of making the cyclist creepy. The horror stories that I appreciate the most are the ones that could happen in real life. The ones that show humans can be monsters. I was digging the story then it just ended abruptly.
Electric Stalker by Rebecca S.W. Bates
Lindsay got hit by lightning while waiting on a bus. At the hospital, a woman named Amanda came to visit, claiming they were sisters. Lindsay had no recollection. I didn’t find this story creepy or scary at all. In fact, it seemed more like a contemporary drama with the family dynamics.
Gaze With Undimmed Eyes and the World Drops Dead by Carina Bissett
The author was good with setting and description. As a reader, I could feel the nastiness of the hotel bar. It was gross when a taxidermy squirrel on the rack lost its eye in the lady’s drink haha. I liked the twist of who Bruce turned out to be, but this was another story where I didn’t get a scary or creepy vibe at all.
Grave Mistake by Joshua Viola and Carter Wilson
This was one of my favorite stories in the anthology. Stephanie was pregnant, causing her to think suicidal thoughts because she didn’t want the baby. She was with Oliver and Elijah in a cemetery. They were looking for a vampire who they think killed their friend. The author did a great job of weaving body language into the back and forth dialogue. There was great tension. My favorite lines: 1) “What Stephanie struggles with most was the secret—a secret that began as shame and blossomed into horror.” 2) “Why would ghosts be in a cemetery, anyway?” 3) “The lives they led then, and the futures they hoped for, were gone.”
There Is Something Up There by Joy Yehle
This story was one of my favorites. It managed to make me feel bad for the characters with their tragic backstories. I loved how the emotional aspects didn’t stop the scenes from being full of suspense. Chills definitely went down my spine. Lily was on a search team, looking for a crew member that disappeared in the mines. Her neighbor warned Lily not to go, but she didn’t listen. I would love to say what they found in the mine because the reveal excited me so much! But I won’t spoil the ending.
***To read the full review, please go to: https://gingernutsofhorror.com/fiction-reviews/terror-at-5280by-denver-horror-collective-book-review