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Come Join Us By The Fire Main

"Come Join Us by the Fire" Audiobook Review

Written by Tracy Robinson

Published by Tor Nightfire

come join us by the fire poster large

Written by Various Authors
Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, Ramon de Ocampo, and Gerard Doyle
2019, 585 minutes, Fiction
Released on October 17th, 2019


Tor Books’ announcement of its newest imprint, Nightfire, was met with much joy from this horror fan. I am a massive fan of small-press horror, but it does my heart all kinds of good to see a larger publisher delving into the genre. While it may be a bit before books hit the shelves, Nightfire announced a FREE, 35-story anthology audiobook in mid-October and I didn’t waste any time in downloading it.

What I found wasn’t just old, safe classic horror, but an array of fresh horror talent from diverse voices and creators. Narrators Saskia Maarleveld, Ramon de Ocampo, and Gerard Doyle brought these stories to life and filled my car with beautiful, creepy horror on my daily commute to and from work. I am giving this anthology five stars because even while there are a few that don't quite work for me, there is something here for all kinds of readers and it really is an amazing production.

I cannot possibly list every story I loved, but here are my “sweet sixteen”; tales that just DID it for me.

“No Matter Which Way We Turned” – Brian Evenson: This was my first exposure to Evenson’s writing. A creepy tale that starts this anthology off in just the right way.

“Daddy” – Victor LaValle: Fatherhood gone, well, wrong is the name of the game with this one. I was almost late for work one day because I needed to know how it ended.

“The Girls in the Horror Movie” – Gwendolyn Kiste: I love Kiste’s mind. One of my favorite modern horror writers, I will show up for anything she writes. This tale is no exception.

“These Deathless Bones” – Cassandra Khaw: Scary! The blood dripped through the speakers with this one. I have Khaw’s Hammers on Bone to read soon and this story made me all the more excited to read it.

“Midnight Caller” – Stephen Graham Jones: Hello, '80s horror movie story. This is a refreshing twist on a familiar plot line, with subtle nods to Friday the 13th. Or at least I think there is.

“When the Zombies Win” – Karina Summer-Smith: This is as bleak and depressing as you might think. I dig the unique storytelling here; it really makes it work.

“Harold the Spider Man” – Paul Tremblay: YUCK. I loathe spiders. I felt them on me (maybe not the best one to listen to while driving) and was creeped out, but I loved poor Harold. You have to check this one out.

“Ponies” – Kij Johnson: It starts off so innocent. Little girls playing, ponies abound. And then it happens. There is some violence towards animals here (even though the animals are not based in reality, I thought I should mention it), but I was enraptured. Couldn’t stop listening. I need to look up more from this author.

“That Guy” and “Beware the Owner” – Chuck Wendig: Having only read his most recent work, Wanderers, I was pleasantly surprised that Wendig also excels at just pure horror. "Beware the Owner" is pretty brutal (animal lovers beware) but like “That Guy”, it is so unique and interesting and left me wondering what else is hiding in this author’s imagination.

“Wasp and Snake” – Livia Llewellyn: If someone MADE me pick my top three, this story is there. Kind of sci-fi, kind of horror, and all the way disturbing. I already picked up two more Llewellyn titles.

“And When She was Bad” – Nadia Bulkin: This “final girl” tale is so great. So much so that I listened to this a month ago and can still recall so many details. I loved the character, the monster, and this journey of self-discovery.

“In Sheep’s Clothing” – Molly Tanzer: Dude, this was WEIRD. There were times I didn’t know what the heck was happening as the world in the story devolved into an apocalypse unlike any I’ve ever read.

“Was She Wicked, Was She Good” – M. Rickert: Scary, evil children for the win. This one joins my top three with Llewellyn’s tale. All horror with fantasy/folk elements, and I was happy that this is one of the longer tales in the antho.

“Greener Pastures” – Michael Wehunt: I’ve read this story before; I have the physical collection. I loved it then and I love it more now. This happened to come on as I made my way home from a 12-hour day at work. It was pitch black and the roads were almost empty. I was scared and I don’t scare easily. An over-the-road trucker stops to eat and finds that this world and the one just under it aren’t as far apart as one might think. This is the other story in my top three.

"A Life That is Not Mine" – Kristi DeMeester: I’m a teacher and I love DeMeester’s writing, so there was no way I was ever going to not love this. Reality is bent and self-discovery isn’t always the best thing in the world.

“That Which Does Not Kill You” – Lucy Snyder: I read this in Snyder’s Garden of Eldritch Delights and it remains a favorite. It was fun to hear it come to life with narration from Saskia Maarleveld – she has a great voice for audio.

It looks like that is seventeen stories, but I’m okay with that. If I didn’t lose you along the way, be sure to check this out. If this is any indication of what we can expect from Tor Nightfire, then we have amazing things on the way.

This audiobook is still FREE to listen to. Head to Tor’s website to see how.


Overall: 5 Star Rating Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Buy from Amazon UK.

[Editor's Note: This review was originally published on SciFi & Scary.]

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About The Author
Tracy Robinson
Staff Writer
Tracy Robinson is a horror reader and reviewer. She posts reviews on Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads/Amazon. She reviews at least bimonthly for Sci Fi and Scary and she has five book reviews (and more to come) published in Rue Morgue magazine. She is also a member of the Ladies of Horror Fiction team, a grassroots organization which strives to lift up women horror authors. In her “spare” time (ha!) she teaches college literature and composition courses as well as high school English, all while spending as much time outside with her kids and husband.
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