Monday, July 11, 2016

Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, edited by Doug Murano and Dr. Alexander Ward

Release date: June 24, 2016
Subgenre: Horror anthology

About Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories:


GUTTED: BEAUTIFUL HORROR STORIES – an anthology of dark fiction that explores the beauty at the very heart of darkness. Featuring horror's most celebrated voices, as well as a number of exciting new talents: Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Tremblay, John F.D. Taff, Lisa Mannetti, Damien Angelica Walters, Josh Malerman, Christopher Coake, Mercedes M. Yardley, Brian Kirk, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Amanda Gowin, Richard Thomas, Maria Alexander and Kevin Lucia.

What is beautiful horror? 
Awe meets ache. 
Terror becomes transcendence. 
Regret gives way to rebirth.

Edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward. With a foreword from Cemetery Dance magazine founder Richard Chizmar. Interior artwork by Luke Spooner. Cover artwork by Caitlin Hackett.

“Truly one of the best anthologies I have ever read.” – Paula Limbaugh, Horror Novel Reviews

“As the title says, Gutted really is a collection of Beautiful Horror Stories that isn't afraid to look for light in the strangest of places, even as it embraces the appeal of the darkness.” – Bob R Milne, Beauty in Ruins

“It's a book for readers who love language as much as story, who understand that horror can be beautiful, ecstatic and revelatory as well as down-right scary.” – James Everington


Excerpt from "Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave" by Brian Kirk:


The box he kept her in was five-and-a-half feet long. I got a glimpse of it as they hauled it from the house, three large policemen lifting on each side as though carrying a heavy coffin to a hearse. Wanting, I suppose, to be a part of history. To take a proverbial brick from the Berlin Wall. They all broke into sheepish grins as the cameras began to flash. Like best men walking down the aisle at a poon hound’s wedding. As if they’d done something noble or heroic, rather than finally follow up on the third tip dropped by a neighbor, who they’d locked up several times for petty crimes.
Five-and-a-half feet long. She was four-foot-nine when he took her. Would have been five-seven now if not for the stooped neck. If not for the stunted growth. But I guess her unattained height is the least of my concern. Or maybe it’s all summarized in that stolen inch.
Here’s how I found out they’d found her. I’m driving home from a gig—I live in Jersey now, I lived in Connecticut then. I’m listening to 96.1 The Thump on the FM dial—which was Meagan’s favorite station. Back then. The one she made me listen to while driving her to-and-from school. It played six minutes of pop songs sandwiched between sixteen minutes of ads for Clearasil and maxi pads. You’d think I would have stopped listening to the station after she was gone, but I couldn’t. In the six years she was missing, the station changed format eight times. Went from pop to oldies to NPR back to pop to sports talk to classic rock back to pop to contemporary rock, which I think just means bland music. It’s terrible, but, then again, I’m not really listening.
They interrupted a Bryan Adams song with one of those screeching AMBER alert sounds. Then, from the ethereal airwaves sent from some turnstile station, I hear:
We have breaking news to report to you right now.
Oh my goodness we do.
Yes, my goodness. Meagan Towser, a young girl from the tri-state area who was reported missing six years ago, has just been located.
Amazing, just amazing.
Amazing is right. According to sources on the scene she has been held captive all this time in a house mere miles from the home she was allegedly abducted from.
I imagine the radio waves streaming through the air like some toxic breeze. Birds falling dead from the sky in droves. The voices get huskier, grave and earnest.
Reports indicate she may have been held captive in a box.
Oh, God, that’s terrible.
Oh, God.
God, that’s terrible. Just terrible.
Terrible, God.


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