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"Lost Highways: Dark Fictions From the Road" Book Review

Written by Jennifer Turner

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing

Lost Highways D Alexander Ward Poster

Edited by D. Alexander Ward
2018, 372 pages, Fiction
Released on July 20th, 2018

Review:

Anthologies are a love/hate issue with me. I love exploring an unknown author's works and finding new obsessions but I hate how brief some of the stories are and how I'm left wanting more. This is not a problem with Lost Highways: Dark Fictions From the Road.

This is an amazing collection of stories each with its own unique voice and feel and no two stories are alike. It's a roller-coaster of a read with lots of cool tales and very few duds.

My favorite of the series is "No Exit" by Orrin Grey. Exit focuses on an unnamed narrator whose sister has been brutally murdered by a cult. Having obsessed over the murder most of her life, she decides to visit the rest stop where the murders took place. What makes this story my favorite is that it is oddly heartwarming for such a dark subject. There's a really sweet scene towards the end that makes me happy. It is a change from the darker endings in the the majority of book's offerings.

Keeping in theme with the dark warm and fuzzies is "Not from Detroit" by Joe R. Lansdale. I'm already familiar with Lansdale and I knew I would like his contribution. I didn't realize that I would like it so much. The story is about an elderly man who literally chases Death to retrieve his wife's soul. Detroit is more romance that horror and frankly I'm going to be pissed if my boyfriend doesn't do that as well. #couplegoals

Don't be fooled, Lost Highways isn't all sweetness and light as we find out with "Mr. Hugsy" by Robert Ford. This narrative is about a kid named Andy with a particular talent for conjuring things into existence. His jailbird father kidnaps him in order to take advantage of his gifts. "Mr. Hugsy" is dark and satisfying, kind of reminiscent of those old episodes of Tales from the Darkside.

Another particular favorite is "Room 4 at the Haymaker" by Josh Malerman. This twisted yarn is about a woman named Evelyn who never got over being abandoned by her first husband. Many years later, she is stunned to find her still youthful ex hitching a ride. I love the whole psychological aspect as Evelyn slowly realizes that his leaving had been a gift to her and reading about her finally getting closure is amazing. I honestly thought "Room 4 at the Haymaker" would have ended on a sweet note but the ending is violent and twisted and just perfect for the story.

I could go on and on about this anthology, as it has everything: killer mists, zombie babies, and cannibalism to name a few. Each tale is enjoyable and fun. The only one I have an issue with is "Requital" by Richard Thomas, which is about a guy who's being held captive by some demon child. The narrative just seems to be the main character being abused again and again by gross acts of torture.

"Requital" doesn't seem to go anywhere and to add insult to injury, there is an unpleasant reference to cat and dog torture. If you have read any of my other reviews, you'd know that this subject can be a real deal breaker for me. Inside this tough sarcastic exterior is a gooey squishy side and most of it is Taco Bell.

All kidding aside this is a must read for horror and fantasy nuts alike.

Grades:

Overall: Fourstars Lost Highways D Alexander Ward Cover
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About The Author
Jennifer Staff
Staff Writer
Jennifer's love of horror began when she was five and her father let her watch A Nightmare on Elm Street. She is an avid bookworm and part time misanthrope who sometimes wonders if an apocalypse wouldn't be all that bad.
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