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Year's Best Hardcore Horror, Volume 4

Narrated by: D. Paul Faulkner
Series: Year's Best Hardcore Horror, Book 4
Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
Categories: Fiction, Horror
3 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Red Room Press is extremely proud to present its fourth annual anthology featuring this year's hardcore corps of authors with the best extreme horror fiction of 2018 that breaks boundaries and trashes taboos.

First up is Vigil by Chad Lutzke. Chad takes us into a neighborhood where a steady stream of decayed corpses are exhumed from a neighbor’s cellar. Extreme olfactory horror at its best.

Deborah Sheldon went under the knife for the inspiration of Hair and Teeth, and the result is a tale of gynecological body horror likely to terrify women and make most men squeamish.

With Rut Season Brain Hodge makes a return to Year’s-best stories in a tale as chilling as it is heart-wrenching, inspired by a thousand-mile drive littered with roadkill and some personal tragedies.

Control by Jeff Parsons introduces us to a meth addict stalking potential victims in Central Park to get money for the next score. 

Annie Neugebauer is back with Cilantro, a Neugebauerian yarn of culinary chaos sure to turn stomachs and cause nightmares. 

Tim Waggoner likewise returns this year with Voices Like Barbwire, an exploratory dig into old wounds and painful memories.

Rebecca Rowland’s Bent wins the Most Cringe-worthy Story honor with her twisted tale of extreme body horror. Her well-drawn characters seem to come off the page but God forbid they do. Their idea of a pretzel party is truly twisted.

Scath Beorh takes Lovecraftian cosmic horror to its next level with Lord of the Mesa.

Sean Patrick Hazlett’s story The Godhead Grimoire possesses dangerous religious overtones and a forbidden bloodthirsty book.

Carnal Bodies by R.E. Hellinger is a shocking story of baroque horror and demonic necrophilia from Two Dead Queers Present: Guillozine. You’ll have to read this one to believe it.

In Crossroads of Opportunity Ed Kurtz and doungjai gam take you on a-deal-with-the-devil-at-the-crossroads trip with a son driving his dead mother to an uncertain destination. Trouble is, his mother is a bit of a backseat driver and she just won’t shut up.

Seras Nikita’s Dad’s Famous Preserves won’t do much for your appetite but it will show you a recipe for disaster when a jungle missionary’s foot infection blossoms into a stomach-churning nightmare.

The Bearded Woman, brought all the way from Rome, Italy, by the inimitable Alessandro Manzetti. His dystopian future tale takes us for a ride in the Bearded Woman’s circus trailer as she and her dwarf husband bring their marriage to a bloody end.

Sara Tantlinger’s The Devil’s Dreamland takes us inside the Murder Castle of the infamous H.H. Holmes with her brilliant narrative poem of macabre beauty.

Frank Oreto’s All God’s Creatures Got Reasons reveals that there are real monsters walking among us, monsters with a savage appetite for young flesh, but they are so skilled at covering their tracks, we never even know they’re there.

The Ugly by J.R. Park introduces us to a couple of sweet little kids who may have a good reason for torturing and eating cats. It’s a way to keep the ugly at bay. Or is it?

Doug Ford’s I Have a Confession takes a coldblooded plunge into sex with a ghost. But what if it’s not a ghost?

In When the Owls Call Lyman Graves takes us “stealth camping” in a Texas park after hours, where a strange and dangerous gathering is taking place. David Lynch might say, “The owls are not what they seem”. But are they?

Jeremy Thompson is back this year with his nefarious pal the Hallowfiend in Bloodletting and Intrigue on All Hallows’ Eve’. With a stylistic nod to Ray Bradbury, Jeremy delivers on our promise that something twisted this way comes.

Capping it all off, Alicia Hilton serves up Monkey See, Monkey Do as a tasty little nightcap (for those with hardcore tastes).

Salud!

Sleep well. If you can.

- Randy Chandler and Cheryl Mullenax

©2019 Red Room Press (P)2019 Red Room Press

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Year's Best Hardcore Horror, Volume 4

I actually liked this. Interesting overall, this is a remarkable collection of horror, suspense short stories. Good writing and narration.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • timj26
  • ontario canada
  • 10-08-19

Great collection

I’ve become a fan of many talented authors through this series
This felt less gory and more story driven then the previous three books witch should attract a larger horror crowd
The narrator was good but the odd background noise could be distracting
If your looking to get into more hardcore horror I highly recommend this series as a whole
I received a free review audiobook and voluntarily left this review

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not horror

Although I did enjoy this book I don't consider it horror, more like something that goes bump in the night. Lots of sexual activity but again not hardcore.
I received this free for an honest review from the author or narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Simply the worst narration

This is by far, the worst narrated book I have listened, ever. The narrator belongs reading droll books of unimportance as opposed to what should the the best hardcore horror of the year. The lineage of these anthologies was fallen far from the mark.

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A tough listen

I was given this audiobook for my honest review. I have left this voluntarily.

This book is a good collection of interesting short stories with horrifying ideas for the basis. I generally really like listening to these audiobooks, I like how many authors come up with really creative ideas for their stories.

However, I really couldn't finish this audiobook. The narration lacked a lot of inflection and it felt that it was rushed. The narrator needs to pick up on the different narrating styles and differences between the varying point of views. This is a horror book, there is a trick to timing, narrating pacing and letting listeners digest what's going on for more dramatic or moments that we need to "click" when we get it.

My recommendation going forward for D Paul Faulkner is to listen to other similar audiobooks in the genre. Really listen to what works and what doesn't.

Its key to have inflection, pacing and varying narration for different characters and scenes. I really want the Narrator to improve and get better!

Slow down and don't rush through the stories, believe me I know the headspace for these really long book jobs.

Regretfully, I cannot recommend this audiobook. I would recommend reading the kindle version instead.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Pass on the audio and go straight to print

Not the best of the series so far. The narration for the audio wasn't for me and detracted from my enjoyment so much so that I had to switch to the ebook to finish it up. Unfortunately, it didn't get much better after that. Not that all of the stories were bad (because they weren't) but as a collection they seemed uneven and disjointed. Even my favorite stories seemed a wee tame for a collection of hardcore horror.

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Good Audiobook collection

This is the perfect audiobook for those looking for a collection of stories or if you're like me best for a reader with a short attention span. The stories did not share the same or similar structures but each author's work was a pleasant addition to the lot. There was to me not a singular theme. I would have liked a collection more based on a central theme but that is a personal issue. The issue for me was that of the narrator seeming rather robotic and not embracing the characters or their emotions full. I feel this does little justice for the many authors' hard work.

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Definitely not hardcore horror

None of the stories in this collection, in my opinion, would be considered horror, let alone hard core horror. There are a few odd stories but not anything that will keep you up at night or even bother you for a moment after you are finished listening to them. None of the stories in this collection caused me any unease or anxiety. If you are a sincerely a horror lover looking for an amazing horror collection, I would advise you to not purchase this book because you will be let down. The stories were what I consider very juvenile and simplistic horror. In addition to the stories not being what I expected, in my opinion, a better narrator could have been selected. After a while of listening the narrators voice became a droning to me and it made it difficult to continue listening. A narrator who can inflect the tone of fear or unease at crucial points in a story are key to setting a scene for me and the narrator in this book, to me, seems to never change his tone, regardless of the situation. True horror lovers looking for a scare or even a great collection of chilling stories, this is not the book for you.

1 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Disappointed

I received this from Audiobookboom in exchange for an honest review.

DNF @ 30%

Disappointed with this one. There's not much "hardcore horror" here except the stomach-turning horror of what one person can do to another. Several of the stories felt incomplete and left me hanging for some sort of conclusion.

0 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Hardcore Mediocrity

The Year's Best Hardcore Horror series has never been more than hit and miss, and this volume is no exception. Most of the stories here are amateurish and dull, "hardcore" only in their eagerness to wallow in the kind of gross-out body horror that was already passe by the splatterpunk heyday of the early 90s. There are a few decent entries here, but on audio they're unfortunately undermined by the horrible narration. Every story is read in the same glib monotone, which like a broken clock works well for glib, monotonous stories (of which there are more than a few in this collection), but completely robs the more serious tales of any impact. The reader also mispronounces numerous words and place names, which jars you right out of the story.

The fact that the editors signed off on this narration suggests one of two possibilities: either they were too lazy and indifferent to bother finding a competent reader for their collection, or they genuinely thought the narration was awesome. I'm not sure which is worse.

I'll be honest: as a horror fan, and a lover of short horror fiction in particular, I will grab just about any horror story anthology I see on Audible. I've read the previous volumes in this series, and I'll probably read any future volumes. I'm the sucker in that old Woody Allen joke about how "the food here is terrible, and such small portions." But make no mistake, this is a generally terrible, lazily assembled series that in no way represents the "best hardcore horror" of any given year. If you're like me, you'll still give this a listen, but be aware of what you're getting.

0 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Angela
  • 10-21-19

Abandoned 1/3 Through

I really didn't enjoy this, which is a shame as I love horror and I love short stories.
I abandoned listening to this about 1/3 through. I did not enjoy the narrator at all and that may have been part of the problem I had with this book, his voice was a little nasally and it was really starting to grind on me. The stories that I did listen to were alright, but certainly nothing that I would class as 'hardcore horror', more 'mild'.
Sorry, I tried but this wasn't for me.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request via Audioboom and have voluntarily left this review.