[This review appears on DeadHeadReviews.com] Prior to receiving this review consideration, I was unfamiliar with Eerie River Publishing. However, from this point forward, I will be paying attention. This publishing house specializes in anthologies of indie writers, which is pretty great. Their latest collection, It Calls from the Forest (Volume I), features twenty-three authors, none of which I have previously read. Right off the bat, that means you have a possibly enormous find of new writers to research if you like this collection. Personally, I was very satisfied, and have taken notes of numerous authors here for future consumption.
Anthologies can be a tricky thing, as you are probably aware. A lot of the time, I will only enjoy half the stories, making for an uneven experience. With It Calls from the Forest, the percentage was quite a bit higher (thank you!) – seeing as how hard it is to enjoy an anthology throughout, this is a feat to be applauded. Of course, no collection isn’t without its favorites, so those are the ones I will note.
“A Wail of a Tail” (by Emma K. Leadley) shows us one gruesome way to teach poachers and hunters a lesson; “The Thing in the Woods” (by D. R. Smith) was easily in my top three, thanks to its creepy and gory entertainment from start to finish; “Knotwork Hill” (by C. W. Blackwell) has the potential to be a well-stocked novella of power – in this format, it was still a damn good time, cool and well written; “A Matter of Recycling” and “Rouse Them Not” (both by Tim Mendees) also feature concepts that would make great longer stories, given additional background and substance; “Automatic Contamination” (by M. A. Smith) has a really unsettling ending and villain; “Getting Away from It All” (by Greg Hunter) is very weird, but in a really good way; “Fairies in the Forest” (by Jason Holden) surprised me with its mystical fun; “Jodie’s Spot” (by Mark Towse) featured excellent drama and atmosphere; and “Seita” (by Thomas Wake) had an ending I didn’t see coming.
As you can see, that is a hefty selection of recommended stories. Eerie River have done a great job in finding new voices of merit, and you can bet I will continue to devour their anthologies moving forward. Bring on Volume II!