Editors Randy Chandler and Cheryl Mullenax put the call out to horror writers and editors of extreme stories, the hardcore stuff that breaks boundaries and trashes taboos, the transgressive tales you can't "unread" (as Chuck Palahniuk says). Some of the stories you'll find here are loaded with very graphic descriptions of violence, sex, and depravities, while others may contain only one shocking moment of brutality. In others, the hardcore aspect may be less graphic and subtler than you might expect.
When Toby Floren was eight years old, he discovered a monster living in the woods behind his house. A ghastly, frightening creature with claws, fangs, and a taste for human flesh. As he ran out of the forest, screaming, Toby felt that he'd been lucky to escape with his life. Years later, Toby finds comfort with the creature. It's his own special secret - something that nobody else in the world knows about. Somebody to talk to. Somebody to confide in.
"I can't even..."
They call her Blister. She's a hideously disfigured 23-year-old woman, living in a shed next to her father's house, hidden away from the world. Jason Tray is a successful cartoonist, banished to his agent's lakeside cabin for a few days of mandatory rest and relaxation. One night, while hanging out with a couple of the locals at a dive bar, he takes them up on their offer to go "see Blister," having no idea what they're talking about.
"Character Driven, Warm and Fuzzy, Funny, Scary"
George and Lou used to be thugs for hire. Now they're living in a shack in Costa Rica, hiding from the crime lord who wants them dead. Their last job, to deliver him a werewolf in a cage, went...badly. But they can't hide out forever, and when they're finally captured, it seems as if George and Lou's ultimate fate will involve being doused in gasoline and set aflame. Instead, they're given a second chance. There's another werewolf out there. This time, it's Ally, a 14-year-old girl.
"Better Than the First"
Meet George and Lou, thugs for hire. The kind of intimidating-yet-friendly guys who will break your thumbs, but be polite about it. Their latest assignment is to drive across Florida to deliver some precious cargo to a crime lord. The cargo: a man in a cage. Though Ivan seems perfectly human, they're warned that he is, in fact, a bloodthirsty werewolf.
Mortimer Moorecook, retired Wall Street raider, avid collector, is losing his fight against cancer. With weeks to live, a package arrives at the door of his hillside mansion—an artifact he paid millions for…a hominoid skull with elongated teeth, discovered in a farmer's field in the Romanian countryside. With Shanna, his beautiful research assistant looking on, he sinks the skull's razor sharp fangs into his neck, and immediately goes into convulsions.
"Exactly what I expected"
Alex stared at the red pocketknife shown to him by his daughter. A pocketknife owned by somebody he hadn't seen in years. They met first in boarding school at age 12. Alex Fletcher, shy and scared. Darren Rust, always furiously scribbling away in a private journal. It was not an immediate friendship, but then one night Darren convinced his roommate to sneak off school grounds to see something glorious.
"It flew by"
Charlie Stanlon is a serial killer. A ghastly, vicious sociopath who chains women to a table in his basement and tortures them to death. He has no friends. He has no family. He despises his co-workers. His only pleasure in life is to cause pain and terror...until the day he finds an adorable Boston terrier and takes it home.
"Great amusing book!"
Henry Lambert would rather play video games than spend time in the great outdoors - but that doesn't make him a wuss. Skinny nerd? Fine. But wuss is a little harsh. Sadly, his dad doesn't agree. Which is why Henry is being shipped off to Strongwoods Survival Camp. Strongwoods isn't exactly as advertised. It looks like the victim of a zombie apocalypse, the "camp director" is a psycho drill sergeant, and Henry's sure he saw a sign written in blood...
Strand's perpetually unlucky character Andrew Mayhem sets off on a simple mission at the request of his wife: Get some spaghetti sauce. On his way to the store he meets Konrath's obnoxious private eye Harry McGlade, co-star of the Lt. Jack Daniels thrillers. Horrific violence, bad jokes, and lots of name calling soon ensues. Some sex, too, but not between the main characters.
"Harry McGlade at his worst which is his best."