A story collection from some of horror’s best – “Dark Delicacies”
Dark Delicacies is a horror store in Burbank, California. Run by the husband and wife duo of Del and Sue First, it’s one of those places where the horror elite appear frequently to do readings and signings. Over the years, Del and Sue have made friends with a great number of these folks, particularly writers. The writers have repaid the Firsts for their friendship and hard-work by contributing new, original stories to this 2005 collection – “Dark Delicacies.”
The twenty stories in this collection come from names both famous and new. Big names like Ray Bradbury and Clive Barker appear, as do pieces from less familiar names such as Lisa Morton and Steve Niles. (I mean this as a semi horror novice – maybe if you’re a huge horror buff all these names are celebrities to you.)
Clearly, the writers were free to write whatever they wanted. There are stories in this collection that involve homicidal maniacs, spacemen, mysterious divers, vampires, and heck – cannibal glam rockers.
That’s right – Cannibal Glam Rockers. Nancy Holder contributes a story called “One Twelve-Steppin’ Simmer of AA” that is about two rock stars trying to overcome their addiction to human flesh through the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Sounds weird, right? It’s actually quite wonderful, as many of these stories are.
Ray Bradbury contributes an elegant tale about coming back from the dead called “The Reincarnate.” There’s a great twister of a piece called “The Outermost Borough,” by Gahan Wilson that surprised me immensely. William F. Nolan’s “DePompa” is a wonderfully weird tale of a young man obsessed with the death of a James-Dean-esque celebrity.
However, the most startling piece in the anthology doesn’t involve monsters at all. Whitley Streiber’s “Kaddish” is a horrifying look at America if the separation of church and state didn’t exist and the Christian right took over everything from government to media to politics. In this world, a prison warden struggles with the fact that maybe he (via his belief in God) doesn’t know everything. There’s no vampires or serial killers, just a bleak look at a religion-centered America. It was horrifying to read.
There’s truly a lot of good stuff in this anthology. If you like horror, it’d be a good pick.