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Horror Stories

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This collection features a menagerie of horror stories. Some are scary. Some are disturbing. Some are funny. Meet werewolves, vampires, zombies, psychopaths, aliens, cannibals, ghosts, and various things that go bump in the night. Previously published in dozens of anthologies and magazines, some of these tales are mild, but some are extreme. Let the reader beware... The st This collection features a menagerie of horror stories. Some are scary. Some are disturbing. Some are funny. Meet werewolves, vampires, zombies, psychopaths, aliens, cannibals, ghosts, and various things that go bump in the night. Previously published in dozens of anthologies and magazines, some of these tales are mild, but some are extreme. Let the reader beware... The stories include: Finicky Eater - It's after a nuclear war, and a mother and her son are in a fallout shelter, the food long long... The Screaming - Van Helsing and vampires, in 1960s England. Mr. Pull Ups - A body modification tale taken to the extreme. The Shed - Two burglars find the door to hell. Them’s Good Eats - Rednecks vs. aliens, on a spaceship ride of horrors. First Time - A coming of age tale where all may not be what it seems. Forgiveness - A dying serial killer asks for a priest to hear his last confession. Redux - Ghost story noir, about a private eye and a deadly haunting. The Bag - What's in the bag? You really don't want to know... Careful, He Bites - Lycanthrope flash fiction. Symbios - A sci-fi novella about man's first encounter with alien life, and how things can quickly turn bad. A Matter of Taste - Zombie flash fiction. Embrace - A bit of gothic horror. Trailer Sucks - Some trailer park jerks kidnap a vampire. Markey - Flash fiction, from a twisted point of view. Punishment Room - A horrific suspense tale about a not-so-distant future. The Confession - Terrible crimes, told entirely in dialog. Basketcase - Hardboiled noir with a horrific twist. The Agreement - A gambler pays the ultimate price to get out of a debt. Well Balanced Meal - The worst restaurant you've ever been in. S.A. - A werewolf novella about a Shapshifters Anonymous group that must battle Santa Claus. Dear Diary - A very twisted pom pon girl reveals the secret of her inner strength. Mr. Spaceman - We've come to mate with earth women. Appalachian Lullaby - What do you do with a radioactive monkey? This 70,000 word collection also includes an excerpt from Afraid by Jack Kilborn, and Truck Stop by J.A. Konrath and Jack Kilborn. It also features a navigable table of contents, optimized for Kindle. About the Author JA Konrath is the author of eight novels in the Jack Daniels thriller series. They do not have to be read in chronological order to be enjoyed, but for those who want to know it is: Whiskey Sour, Bloody Mary, Rusty Nail, Dirty Martini, Fuzzy Navel, Cherry Bomb, Shaken, and Stirred. Jack also appears in the novels Shot of Tequila, Flee, Spree, Three, Timecaster Supersymmetry, Banana Hammock, and Serial Killers Uncut, as well as the short story collection Jack Daniels Stories, and the novellas Floaters and Burners. Last Call, the ninth Jack Daniels novel, will be available in spring of 2013. Other novels include Origin, The List, Shot of Tequila, and Serial Killers Uncut. Konrath also writes horror under the name Jack Kilborn, including the bestsellers Afraid, Trapped, Endurance, and Draculas. Haunted House, the new Jack Kilborn novel of terror, will be available in mid 2013. He has sold over a million ebooks.


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This collection features a menagerie of horror stories. Some are scary. Some are disturbing. Some are funny. Meet werewolves, vampires, zombies, psychopaths, aliens, cannibals, ghosts, and various things that go bump in the night. Previously published in dozens of anthologies and magazines, some of these tales are mild, but some are extreme. Let the reader beware... The st This collection features a menagerie of horror stories. Some are scary. Some are disturbing. Some are funny. Meet werewolves, vampires, zombies, psychopaths, aliens, cannibals, ghosts, and various things that go bump in the night. Previously published in dozens of anthologies and magazines, some of these tales are mild, but some are extreme. Let the reader beware... The stories include: Finicky Eater - It's after a nuclear war, and a mother and her son are in a fallout shelter, the food long long... The Screaming - Van Helsing and vampires, in 1960s England. Mr. Pull Ups - A body modification tale taken to the extreme. The Shed - Two burglars find the door to hell. Them’s Good Eats - Rednecks vs. aliens, on a spaceship ride of horrors. First Time - A coming of age tale where all may not be what it seems. Forgiveness - A dying serial killer asks for a priest to hear his last confession. Redux - Ghost story noir, about a private eye and a deadly haunting. The Bag - What's in the bag? You really don't want to know... Careful, He Bites - Lycanthrope flash fiction. Symbios - A sci-fi novella about man's first encounter with alien life, and how things can quickly turn bad. A Matter of Taste - Zombie flash fiction. Embrace - A bit of gothic horror. Trailer Sucks - Some trailer park jerks kidnap a vampire. Markey - Flash fiction, from a twisted point of view. Punishment Room - A horrific suspense tale about a not-so-distant future. The Confession - Terrible crimes, told entirely in dialog. Basketcase - Hardboiled noir with a horrific twist. The Agreement - A gambler pays the ultimate price to get out of a debt. Well Balanced Meal - The worst restaurant you've ever been in. S.A. - A werewolf novella about a Shapshifters Anonymous group that must battle Santa Claus. Dear Diary - A very twisted pom pon girl reveals the secret of her inner strength. Mr. Spaceman - We've come to mate with earth women. Appalachian Lullaby - What do you do with a radioactive monkey? This 70,000 word collection also includes an excerpt from Afraid by Jack Kilborn, and Truck Stop by J.A. Konrath and Jack Kilborn. It also features a navigable table of contents, optimized for Kindle. About the Author JA Konrath is the author of eight novels in the Jack Daniels thriller series. They do not have to be read in chronological order to be enjoyed, but for those who want to know it is: Whiskey Sour, Bloody Mary, Rusty Nail, Dirty Martini, Fuzzy Navel, Cherry Bomb, Shaken, and Stirred. Jack also appears in the novels Shot of Tequila, Flee, Spree, Three, Timecaster Supersymmetry, Banana Hammock, and Serial Killers Uncut, as well as the short story collection Jack Daniels Stories, and the novellas Floaters and Burners. Last Call, the ninth Jack Daniels novel, will be available in spring of 2013. Other novels include Origin, The List, Shot of Tequila, and Serial Killers Uncut. Konrath also writes horror under the name Jack Kilborn, including the bestsellers Afraid, Trapped, Endurance, and Draculas. Haunted House, the new Jack Kilborn novel of terror, will be available in mid 2013. He has sold over a million ebooks.

30 review for Horror Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Jack Kilborn or J.A. Konrath, whatever his name is, the man is a DEMENTED, DISTURBED, SICKFUCKAPATH...and I think I am developing a bit of a man-crush on him. This is the fourth book by NUTSO that I have read (the others being DRACULAS, Endurance - A Novel of Terror and Whiskey Sour) and he continues to shockrock my worldview. I wonder if this is the same kind of odd fascination that impulses women to start up prison romances and marry convicted serial killers. Oh well, I have decided to run sc Jack Kilborn or J.A. Konrath, whatever his name is, the man is a DEMENTED, DISTURBED, SICKFUCKAPATH...and I think I am developing a bit of a man-crush on him. This is the fourth book by NUTSO that I have read (the others being DRACULAS, Endurance - A Novel of Terror and Whiskey Sour) and he continues to shockrock my worldview. I wonder if this is the same kind of odd fascination that impulses women to start up prison romances and marry convicted serial killers. Oh well, I have decided to run screaming with it. There are 26 tasty tasteless tales in this collection and every one of them has some aspect to it that will tighten your sphincter AND cause your bowels loosen (uh...not a comfortable combo I can assure you). Despite the hardcore nature of the stories I must give "Psycho Jack" major kudos because there was not a single story that I did not at least like. Most of the stories fell, along with my stomach and my faith in humanity, in the “really like” or “I love you...but I can’t take you home to meet my parents because they would never understand” category. Overall, an outstanding collection...in a cover your face, hide in the corner and gibber kind a way. Rather then go through and describe all 26 stories (because frankly I don’t have the stomach to relive them all right now), here are my choices for the best, most Gorrifically BADASStic stories in the bunch***(incidentally, these are also the stories I would introduce as exhibits at “Mr. Mental’s” psych evaluation ). Them’s Good Eats: A couple of “cracklin***” eaten rednecks good ole boys meet up with some very NASTY ET’s in one of the most unpleasant alien abduction stories you are likely to come across. ***For non rednecks good ole boys, cracklings are apparently the crisp residue left over after lard has been rendered. In this story, the chaps were cooking pig cracklins...uh....BARRRRFFFF!!! First Time: A short, sweet and UTTERLY FUCKOED tale about a young man’s first experience with a woman...The author was seriously not held enough as a child or else he was help way too much. Forgiveness: Those that say confession is good for the soul, have not read this saintly little nugget about a dying criminal confessing his “curse” to an unsuspecting priest. This was one of the most polished and best written of the stories and the ending was wonderfully chilling, though of course completely messed up. The Bag: What’s in the bag....believe me, you seriously do not want to know but you will be unable to look away. By the way, in the introduction to the story the author said his goal for the story was to think up “the absolute worst thing a paper bag could contain.” Well Sparky....you succeeded brilliantly you twisted sicknut. Trailer Sucks: In the intro to this story, Mr. “Psychotic Tale Spinner” says “I almost didn’t write this story because the subject matter is downright disturbing.” Downright disturbing...downright disturbing...yeah and having your testicles flattened in a vice is “downright” painful...THIS STORY IS SICK! The Confession: As bad as “Trailer Sucks” is, this story wins the award for the most graphic, most brutal and most sadistic story in the entire collection. The author says in the introduction that he “wishes he never wrote it.” Well, I can’t say the same thing because it is something to behold. Dear Diary: A “downright” disturbed pom pom girl shares her innermost thoughts with us...all I can say is holy crapsicles...T...M...I. Honorable Mention goes to Finicky Eater, Basketcase, Symbios, Well Balanced Meal and Mr. Spaceman. This last one is actually a very funny story about an alien looking to mate with an Earth woman who gets WAY, WAY more than he bargained for. It was a nice change of pace amidst all the horror. Some of these stories were written early in CUCKOO’s career and are not as polished as they could be. Still the writing is always at least decent and is usually good to very good. However, for what this collection sets out to accomplish and for the kinds of stories it seeks to tell, it succeeds brilliantly and is sure to please horror fans, especially those who like their stories icky and filled with nasties. 4.5 to 5.0 stars. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...FOR HORROR FANS ONLY!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tressa

    I've never given 5 stars to a short story collection, but Jack Kilborn is rocking the horror genre with these nasty, brutal, repulsively entertaining short stories! This book is a smorgasbord of awesome: an elementary school where kids are tortured instead of nurtured; rednecks get their asses handed to them by aliens; a starving man crash lands on a planet inhabited by dog men; a dead mother & daughter team up for revenge in the next world; a redneck (is this guy friends with Ed Lee?) drags I've never given 5 stars to a short story collection, but Jack Kilborn is rocking the horror genre with these nasty, brutal, repulsively entertaining short stories! This book is a smorgasbord of awesome: an elementary school where kids are tortured instead of nurtured; rednecks get their asses handed to them by aliens; a starving man crash lands on a planet inhabited by dog men; a dead mother & daughter team up for revenge in the next world; a redneck (is this guy friends with Ed Lee?) drags a female vampire to his house and hammers out her teeth so he and his friends can get the best blowjobs of their lives; a sinister young girl's reveals her brutal life in dialog; eavesdrop on a family's disgusting food order at the world's worst restaurant.. Highly recommended. I paid $1.99 for this at Amazon. As cheap as I am, I would have gladly paid $10.99.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bandit

    Exactly the kind of mad nasty crazy gory bloody and occasionally hilarious stories one would expect from the author of Afraid. This book was lots of fun, great cover art too. I'm so glad I was able to find this at the library. I highly recommend this one.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    This aptly titled collection contains 26 horror stories of varying lengths, from short flash fiction to longer tales, with a short story note introducing each one. Most of the stories rated a 4 or a 5 with just a couple of clunkers - the author has included early career stories (that show). My favorite titles were Mr. Pull-ups, Forgiveness, and S.A. Other strong stories included The Screaming, Symbios, and Mr. Spaceman (funny). Overall, a very entertaining read. My story ratings averaged out to 4. This aptly titled collection contains 26 horror stories of varying lengths, from short flash fiction to longer tales, with a short story note introducing each one. Most of the stories rated a 4 or a 5 with just a couple of clunkers - the author has included early career stories (that show). My favorite titles were Mr. Pull-ups, Forgiveness, and S.A. Other strong stories included The Screaming, Symbios, and Mr. Spaceman (funny). Overall, a very entertaining read. My story ratings averaged out to 4.3, hence rounded down to 4 stars.

  5. 3 out of 5

    Bethica

    If you're looking for quick, gruesome, gory, descript horror stories, this is the book for you. I didn't count them but there's alot of very short stories that work great for reading on quick work breaks. I'm gonna drag this puppy back out near Halloween.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Conley

    This book is fucking amazing. I love horror stories, but most of the time they’re not very good. Like Stephen King books, for example. They fucking suck donkey balls. They’re not scary, or even interesting most of the time. But this book? Holy fuck-balls, Batman. It’s full of short horror stories that will totally blow your mind. There’s a story about a man who’s obsessed with beating the world record for pull-ups. He’s so close, he can taste it. But he just can’t make it. So he loses some weight This book is fucking amazing. I love horror stories, but most of the time they’re not very good. Like Stephen King books, for example. They fucking suck donkey balls. They’re not scary, or even interesting most of the time. But this book? Holy fuck-balls, Batman. It’s full of short horror stories that will totally blow your mind. There’s a story about a man who’s obsessed with beating the world record for pull-ups. He’s so close, he can taste it. But he just can’t make it. So he loses some weight. But that still doesn’t cut it. So he has a doctor amputate his legs. Closer, but no cigar. So he has the doctor remove organs, and anything else that isn’t really needed to live. He wakes up in the hospital bed with no arms. I’m pretty sure you could hear him screaming “FUCK MY LIFE!!!!” from Mars. Then there’s a story about some fucked-up gangsters. Some poor sap lost a card game and can’t pay up. So they give him a choice. He can either get shot in the fucking head, or he can hold his hand on the pan on the stove for ten seconds. They told him that the last guy didn’t last more than three seconds. So the guy turns on the stove and burns the living shit out of his hand for their amusement. Then the boss guy says, “You know, we never said you had to turn the burner on.” And the gangsters just laugh their fucking asses off. There’s like twenty more stories like this in this book. They’re all fucking awesome. And each story comes with an introduction by the authors. Like how the story came together, and how impossible it was to get them published. I found those little tid-bits very interesting. But the stories themselves are what carried this book to fucking-awesome-land. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves horror stories, or horror movies, or anything horror. Hell, even if you’re not sure about horror and want to give it a try, check this book out. You’ll get hooked on this shit so fast. Unfortunately, you’re fucked after reading this book. Because you can’t find horror stories like this very often. So enjoy these stories while you can.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Not Now...Mommy's Reading

    I absolutely LOVED this short story collection by Jack Kilborn! I don't believe I read one bad story in the entire collection - great sense of humor, engaging characters, and very unique plots. I will definitely be adding Mr. Kilborn to my list of favorite authors.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Murphy

    Scary collection of some awesome, original tales! This was a great collection of short stories - some only 2-3 pages long, while others averaged around 20 pages; some of them more humorous than scary, and others were downright gross and freaky; but one thing is for sure, every last one was worth reading! There's everything from a desperate family in a fallout shelter after WWIII, to a man stranded on an alien landscape doing what it takes to survive as he slowly goes mad, and a little of everyth Scary collection of some awesome, original tales! This was a great collection of short stories - some only 2-3 pages long, while others averaged around 20 pages; some of them more humorous than scary, and others were downright gross and freaky; but one thing is for sure, every last one was worth reading! There's everything from a desperate family in a fallout shelter after WWIII, to a man stranded on an alien landscape doing what it takes to survive as he slowly goes mad, and a little of everything in between. The best part of this read was the fact that no matter if you have 5 minutes to kill or a couple of hours there is a story the perfect length for any situation. If you enjoy the horror genre then you should love this collection of horror stories, but I should warn you that there are a few that are certainly not for the squeamish. I cannot wait to read other titles by this particular author (or is it authors?). Luckily, he has plenty more out there! Now I just have to decide which great title or collection will be next.

  9. 3 out of 5

    Dalian

    This was a very quick read and I have not read very many of his other works so I can't really compare how his quality has developed. Instead of calling these scary tales, they should be described as disturbing. As you can predict from the cover the contents are gory and unsettling and I guarantee that you will be making facial expressions or gasps in a few of the tales. The violence against women in multiple stories began to feel like what someone else described as 'torture porn' and it made me This was a very quick read and I have not read very many of his other works so I can't really compare how his quality has developed. Instead of calling these scary tales, they should be described as disturbing. As you can predict from the cover the contents are gory and unsettling and I guarantee that you will be making facial expressions or gasps in a few of the tales. The violence against women in multiple stories began to feel like what someone else described as 'torture porn' and it made me uncomfortable. Maybe this is just the author's twisted specialty.. Like I said I have not read his other works. I do worry that this collection does not leave you with anything because there is a very consistent pattern of including a twist in the story at the end so second reads won't leave you with much satisfaction. I recommend that you get it at a library or an e-version because the $12 I paid for a day of reading these stories barely seemed worth it because I value being able to enjoy a book multiple times.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anne (w/ an E)

    As with all anthologies, there were stories that I liked more than others. None of them were really bad, in my opinion.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kelley

    Some were very disturbing, others made me laugh. Overall, a very satisfying collection of stories.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    A grisly set of horror-thriller stories; though many of them perhaps could have benefited from more expansion, they still for the most part manage to be atmospheric and unsettling in a small amount of time and text. Rather than devouring this anthology in a couple hours, as I typically would have, I read approximately one story per day in October (up until my book club meeting, since this was our October selection) in a bid to get in the mood for Halloween. My impressions of each story are as fo A grisly set of horror-thriller stories; though many of them perhaps could have benefited from more expansion, they still for the most part manage to be atmospheric and unsettling in a small amount of time and text. Rather than devouring this anthology in a couple hours, as I typically would have, I read approximately one story per day in October (up until my book club meeting, since this was our October selection) in a bid to get in the mood for Halloween. My impressions of each story are as follows: 1. Finicky Eater - Good lord, this was disturbing. I'd rather starve to death. I'd rather face the nuclear holocaust. I found comfort only in the fact that they'd have died of dehydration before things got this far, but even so it definitely succeeded in giving me the heebie-jeebies (view spoiler)[and an aversion to eating meat (hide spoiler)] for days after. The imagery, god.... Kilborn definitely didn't pull punches with the opening to his anthology, rather dropping you right in the deep end - as far as I'm concerned, if you can make it through this story, you'll be okay for the rest. 4/5 2. The Screaming - I really liked this one; it wasn't particularly comedic, or particularly frightening, but what it lacked in those areas it definitely made up for in atmosphere. 4/5 3. Mr. Pull Ups - I agree with the 'asshole' doctor - this guy needs therapy, not body modification. I'm torn between feeling sorry for him over his obviously unchecked psychological issues and positively zero sympathy for the end that they took him to. (view spoiler)[Also, this is what happens when you go to someone who you KNOW lost their medical license for not following patient instructions and then not being /explicitly/ specific. Though, it occurred to me later, if he can figure out a way to communicate I imagine he can get someone to latch him to the pull-up bar. I'm sure he'll find comfort in that. (hide spoiler)] 3/5 4. The Shed - A little mindbendy (which makes sense, given the subject matter) contributing to its becoming appropriately atmospheric in it's limited range of time. 3/5 5. Them’s Good Eats - While this story was definitely creepy and atmospheric, the victims had been set up as such assholes (in such a limited time that it was impressive) and therefore their fate so poetic that I just couldn't feel bad for them. (view spoiler)[I do wonder about the other guy who the aliens had taken prisoner, though... (hide spoiler)] 3/5 6. First Time - I agree with Kilborn's note about this one- it's too obvious, and lacking any suspense makes the "twist" this story builds to pointless and therefore boring. I've seen this same basic plot line many times in the horror genre, and always handled more deftly than this. 1/5 7. Forgiveness - Brrrrr. This one is going to stick with me. It's grisly but subtle and left me with a chilled feeling when I finished. (view spoiler)[God is real indeed... (hide spoiler)] 4/5 8. Redux - This one was surprisingly sad. Obviously you can only have so much sympathy for (view spoiler)[a drunk who killed someone and refused to turn themselves in (hide spoiler)] but at the same time you know there wasn't /malice/ there, so there's still some sympathy. And the fact that (view spoiler)[once he does turn himself in there's still no respite? (hide spoiler)] It's just a sad ending. 4/5 9. The Bag - Ick. This one managed to be sad and poetic and gross all at once. Since it's clearly rooted in the supernatural, the fridge logic of "How" and "Why" didn't bother me so much as the grossness of what happens to Jimmy. Even so, I feel like this one didn't have enough time to become atmospheric and appropriately creepy (meaning it was just kind of icky), and would have benefitted greatly from being longer. 3/5 10. Careful, He Bites - Ha. Funny in an unsettling way. (view spoiler)[I do wonder why so many of Kilborn's horror stories seem to like to take a traditional 'victim,' e.g. of sexual exploitation, and make them violent/dangerous. (hide spoiler)] I guess it's intended to subvert the audience's expectations, but I think that typically works better in longer works. 3/5 11. Symbios - This story was somewhere in the middle between horribly sad and just plain ghastly. I nearly started crying when I was reading it - a terrible, terrible example of a slippery slope. 4/5 12. A Matter of Taste - I snorted and laughed out loud all through this one. After Finicky Eater I was expecting this to make me squeamish, but it didn't at all. Fun and funny take on zombies and rebellious teens. 4/5 13. Embrace - While somewhat unsettling, I think this story lacked context. Flowery language is not the be-all-end-all of the gothic genre; if anything, one of the primary trademarks of gothic writing is the scope. Gothic horror is typically sweeping and epic, not short and to the point. I think given an extra few pages, this could have been quite good, but as it was, it was just kind of eh. 2/5 14. Trailer Sucks - This story, while containing genuinely disturbing subject matter, upset me more based on the stereotypes that Kilborn played into than by the actual content. Yes, obviously there are rednecks in the world who are jerks, but (view spoiler)[the implication that all rednecks are inherently abusive rapists while also ignoring the homophobia that one would expect would go hand-in-hand with that degree of stereotyping....? (hide spoiler)] There are many men in this world who are horrible assholes (as well as many who are genuinely good people), so playing into these damaging deep-South stereotypes in order to tell this story just struck me as harmful and unnecessary. Creepy and horrifying, but the unfortunate implications drug it down in my estimation. (view spoiler)[Includes possible triggers for rape and sexual abuse (hide spoiler)] 2.5/5 15. Markey - Ugh. The most disturbing part of this one was the question it raised - (view spoiler)[was Markey even real? (hide spoiler)] 3/5 16. Punishment Room - GOOD GOD THE IMAGERY IN THIS ONE. It's BRUTAL. Do not read if you are at all squeamish about body horror. Eyes in particular. Also FUCK (view spoiler)[this took place in a school?! On CHILDREN?! (hide spoiler)] Jesus Christ, that's disturbing. 4/5 17. The Confession - Interesting subversion of my expectations here; (view spoiler)[things aren't always as they appear... (hide spoiler)] While the events that were described were grisly and disturbing, I didn't find the story itself to be nearly as chilling as I might have suspected. This may have been a result of being only dialogue... (view spoiler)[Includes possible triggers for rape and sexual abuse (hide spoiler)] 3/5 18. Basketcase - Whelp. Not sure if this one is so much a tale of "the things we do for love" as it is the things we'll do for hot sex. But that's just me. 3/5 19. The Agreement - You're an idiot. That is all. 3/5 20. Well Balanced Meal - Gross. Gross, gross, gross. Not particularly scary, just turned my stomach. 2/5 21. S.A. - Hilarious. Definitely my favorite story in the anthology. Not scary, just fun. 4.5/5 22. Dear Diary - The epistolary style is always tricky for writing, and it's particularly tricky when trying to build suspense or to describe actions as though "in the moment" - which is why the climax of this story struck me as "off" about ten minutes later when I was grabbing a soda out of the fridge. That said, this story is conceptually probably the most horrifying one in the whole collection. There is little in this world more frightening that the self-absorption of your standard teenage girl - mixing that with (view spoiler)[cannibalism of the living, particularly those who she thinks have 'wronged' her in some way (hide spoiler)] is just a hellish idea. 4/5 23. Mr. Spaceman - As noted by just about every other reviewer on this site, this was a funny story. Not quite what I was expecting, but still enjoyable. However, I do regret eating while reading it (that said, it's the 23rd story I read from this anthology. I have only myself to blame). 3/5 24. Appalachian Lullaby - Bizarre. Nonsensical. Not scary. Again with the rednecks. 2/5 25. Treatment - Also bizarre, and didn't resolve neatly. In most of the stories, I've like Kilborn's notes at the beginning, but you can't tell us it's a story in which things aren't what they appear to be (view spoiler)[and then have everything set up to be a delusion turn out to be true because hello, that's what we're expecting now that you told us that. (hide spoiler)] 2/5 26. A Sound of Blunder - I'm not sure if this one was funny or sad or disturbing. A bit of all three, I guess. I love (and was totally traumatized at a young age by) The Sound of Thunder, so a more bizarre take on it was interesting. Obviously doesn't measure up to the original, but was still a good read. 3/5 Average rating: 3.08/5 = 3 star rating overall

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jenni DaVinCat

    I'm thinking that I probably enjoy Jack Kilborn's full length novels more than this collection of short stories. He seems to be able to blend his various comedy/horror/gross-out factors better when he has more length to do it. For these short stories, gross-out takes precedent with comedy close behind. Horror seems to fall by the wayside a little bit. Seriously. I'm not that easy to gross out, but these stories were easily more grotesque than what I'm willing to stomach. The introduction to a few I'm thinking that I probably enjoy Jack Kilborn's full length novels more than this collection of short stories. He seems to be able to blend his various comedy/horror/gross-out factors better when he has more length to do it. For these short stories, gross-out takes precedent with comedy close behind. Horror seems to fall by the wayside a little bit. Seriously. I'm not that easy to gross out, but these stories were easily more grotesque than what I'm willing to stomach. The introduction to a few stories even said that he had regretted writing the story. If the author regrets it, that should tell you something right there. There was even a story that I had to skip through, as soon as I heard mention of "cream of menstruation" I was done with that one. The saving grace for the audible version was the narrator. This guy was amazing! He made it fun and interesting to listen to. He used fun and interesting voices for the characters, and was easy to listen to. I wonder how hard it was for him to get through reading some of these. So, not my favorite Kilborn book but at least now I know to stay away from the short stories. His full length books are great and I highly recommend them, but I can't say the same for this collection.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steven Guitink

    Anthology series are oftentimes a mixed bag. A lot of writers have done them and since they oftentimes cover a wide range of publications, the quality varies from story to story. Stephen King is by no means a master. Even he has made some duds. So when I picked up the audiobook of Jack Kilborn's (AKA Joe Konrath) anthology series 'Horror Stories' I wasn't sure what to expect. I had never heard of the guy before, but the book was cheap and I figured 'what the hell?' What I got was definitely a ra Anthology series are oftentimes a mixed bag. A lot of writers have done them and since they oftentimes cover a wide range of publications, the quality varies from story to story. Stephen King is by no means a master. Even he has made some duds. So when I picked up the audiobook of Jack Kilborn's (AKA Joe Konrath) anthology series 'Horror Stories' I wasn't sure what to expect. I had never heard of the guy before, but the book was cheap and I figured 'what the hell?' What I got was definitely a range in quality ranging from pretty good to pretty horrible. So here's a quick capsule review of each of them. Finicky Eater: Not a bad start. Quick, simple and to the point, this brutal little tale of cannibalism probably could have been cut off a little before the end. The Screaming: This one dragged. It's slow, plodding and there's no real horror despite the horror elements. It doesn't help that at certain points, Kilborn goes for the 'Tell don't show' style of writing which I hate. It also doesn't help that McCloud Andrews who does the narration does the silliest British accents I've ever heard. Mr. Pullups: In his foreword, Konrath says that you could classify even his scariest stories as dark comedies and I think that's where he feels most comfortable. This one is my favourite in the book. Crisp, brutal and darkly funny while still having a good solid ending that hits out of nowhere. The Shed: Meh. I can understand why it was never published. It doesn't really do anything new and doesn't push any boundaries. Them's Good Eats: Hillybilly horror is kind of a mixed bag for me. Sometimes it seems a little too easy a target. And this one is like the Shed. You can see the ending coming a mile away. It's fun but nothing groundbreaking. First Time: Had I not been implied the ending in the foreword, I probably would have enjoyed this one more. I think it's also a story that demonstrates Konrath's dependency on tried and true twists. Forgiveness: This one gets under my skin. The narrator is a vicious nasty piece of work and the story delves into his psyche. Also his descriptions of how to tear human skin off are just grisly. Redux: I do like that Konrath switches up genres. This one is detective noir mixed with horror and while it's not amazing, its entertaining enough. The Bag: Another piece that demonstrates that when Konrath tries to be creative, he gets CREATIVE. Another one of my favourites. Careful He Bites: Flash fiction piece. Short simple and quick. Moving on. Symbios: Here's the thing. When Stephen King wrote Survivor Type, he wrote it in a way that got into the psyche of Richard Pine. Here Konrath tries the same thing and fails. I never felt invested in the story. Especially when the story just seems to go from one setpiece to the next. A Matter of Taste: Flash fiction piece. Dark, cute and funny. Next Embrace: This one rubbed me the wrong way. Mainly because of the foreword when Konrath disparages purple prose. Don't get me wrong, when done right, Purple Prose can make for some haunting and beautiful work. Poe and Lovecraft put rest to that. But Konrath demonstrates when Purple Prose is done wrong. Embrace is bloated, pretentious and completely lacking in emotion. Trailer Sucks: Again Hillbilly Horror with a vampire this time. Ehhhhh.....this one's a little too childish. I feel like I'm reading something a 15 year old wrote. It's fun but disposable. Markey: Flash fiction about a parasite. Creepy, nasty and brutal. Onward. Punishment Room: This one is surprisingly nasty. The buildup to the climax is suitably dripping with brutality and unsettling setpieces. Very good and very readable. The Confession: Again Konrath showing he can be very creative. Told entirely through dialogue, this one is another that is dripping with tension and brutality. Another good one for the pile. Basketcase: Don't remember this one. TBA The Agreement: This one is just cruel. The ending is also suitably nasty and cruel. I mean all this in a good way mind you. Well Balanced Meal: This one is meant to be disgusting but just reads like a ten years old's idea of a shopping list. Get back to me when you've read some Ed Lee and know what real grossout horror is. S.A: Middling. I remember laughing at some of the scenes in this, if only because of how ridiculous they were. I'm inclined to think that one of Konrath's standby strategies with a story is to just go balls-out insane when he's stuck in a corner. Dear Diary: Not bad. Not great, but not bad. Mr. Spaceman: Weird. Kind of like a scyfy channel movie mixed with a domestic comedy drama. Just weird, not scary and not funny either. Appalachian Lullaby: Another one I'll have to reread. TBA A Voice of Blunder: This one's on the audiobook. Not sure about the Kindle version. This one is fun but in the kind of way a fifteen year old writes a story. it's got this kind of 'and then this happened and then this....' vibe to it, where by the end the whole thing just devolves into this crazy comedy of errors. So overall..........it's okay. I can't imagine myself reading Konrath's larger novels. His style seems to fit the novella or short story format much better. On the other hand I found some of his writing immature and kind of just.....blunt. None of his stories had any degree of subtlety and more often than not went for the jugular instead of the brain. He said in his main foreword that if some of the scenes in his Jack Daniels Books didn't scare me, I must have a heart of stone. Well if Horror Stories is any indication of what I could expect from him, then I must have a heart made from ice mined off the dark side of Pluto.

  15. 3 out of 5

    John Raptor

    Space aliens mating with earth women, redneck fuck-zombies, shapeshifters fighting a demonic Santa Claus, a cannibal cheerleader...a fun collection of perverse, darkly humorous horror stories from Jack Kilborn. Perfect for Halloween reading.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Vix

    Overall, this is one of the funniest horror books I have read, that said its not perfect and has its fair share of errors and boring moments. His longer novels are well worth a read! Finicky Eater: The A-bomb has dropped and Jack Kilborn serves up some yummy food possibilities, the more it continues the more gross it becomes. The Screaming: JK states at the blurb beginning that he wanted to get the local vernacular correct, big fat no from me. Did he miss the fact that 50p was not in circulation u Overall, this is one of the funniest horror books I have read, that said its not perfect and has its fair share of errors and boring moments. His longer novels are well worth a read! Finicky Eater: The A-bomb has dropped and Jack Kilborn serves up some yummy food possibilities, the more it continues the more gross it becomes. The Screaming: JK states at the blurb beginning that he wanted to get the local vernacular correct, big fat no from me. Did he miss the fact that 50p was not in circulation until 1969 (the story is set in 1960s – so just on the cusp, but bad research). Another inconsistency is the journey “out of town” is only 15 miles away but takes TWO hours on the train! I know British Rail has its issues, but seriously what was it powered by, snail juice? Once I got over these really annoying parts the actual story was ok, and only ok, all been done before and nothing new was added. Blah Mr Pull Ups: an obsession with becoming the no.1 entry into the Guinness Book of Records goes sadly wrong. I was not expecting the final line… great stuff. The Shed: strange, just strange! Two would be criminals get their punishments. Them’s Good Eats: two hillbillies get ubducticated, awesome! I tale of piggy revenge! This has to be my favourite, seriously gruesome but so sweet in payback! Some really good humour in this short. First Time: two boys and a slaughter house. Very short and a bit pointless, for me. Forgiveness: a serial murderer gives his confession. Some truly sickening moments, with a climatic ending, very well told as I felt myself becoming quite tense. Redux: a ghostly revenge, cleverly done. Shame about the random errors in spelling and editing. The Bag: a truly repulsive story on so many levels, no spoilers here. For sheer disgusting thoughts and gore; top marks. Careful, He Bites: this reminds me of my favourite novel Werewolves anonymous! I was treated to a were-canary in this short tale, so disgusting what the cat does but giggles abound! Symbios: some good ideas in this sci-fi story, but as I don’t generally read that genre maybe its all been done before. A revolting tale of greed and need. A Matter of Taste: this really made me giggle, a zombie family argue at the dinner table. Who knew that mentioning Waldorf Salad could make me snort out coffee! Embrace: JK does state this is over flowery, but wow its worse than that. I was so bogged down in flowers I missed the whole point of the story. Trailer Sucks: JK really seems to have a hatred of animals as most stories seem to torment them in some ways, its most off putting for an animal lover. Karma is also one of his themes, which I do really like! This one is high on that list as some Red Necks capture a female vampire and do some unspeakable things, karma is a bitch! Markey: again with the animals. Plus I did not like this one as it touches too much on mental health issues. I liked the staccato way of writing tho’. Punishment Room: a tale of torture, most uncomfortable, but with a stranger ending! JK manages to really ratchet up the tension in this one. The Confession: completely told as a narrative this is inspired. Sweet, bloody revenge. I actually enjoyed the descriptions of torture, mostly due to WHO they were targeting. Awesome. Basketcase: just gross, but in a weird and fun way. JAK can certainly show you the appeal of being a basketcase. The Agreement: when some warped mobster is going to torture you, make sure you listen to the agreement! Very clever. Well Balanced Meal: omg my stomach was churning, glad I had not eaten. I can see why it won a Gross Out completion, just glad I was not in the audience. Am still gagging just thinking about this. S.A. : at the beginning of all the stories JK has a little blurb on why, how and where it was written and published. This blurb was very funny, but not as much as the actual story. Totally inspired, this novella (its too long to be called a short) has some amazing nods to the genre and fantastical ideas. Some of the scenes are hysterical I don’t think a chocolate cupcakes will never again pass my lips again. This is my ALL time favourite story from JK. Were-coral still has me in stitches. Dear Diary: teenage girls are so twisted. Feeding, JK is also obsessed with food. Not a yummy story, but a very good one though. Mr Spaceman: I found myself snorting with laughter a lot through this rapid fire short. Aliens vs hookers, yeah no contest! Appalachian Lullaby: Red Necks, monkeys and Uranium – what could go wrong? Treatment: I am running out of words to describe funny, this was brilliant – I cant say anymore for spoilers! Sound of Blunder: poor Willie he seems to have every ailment going, poor Bruno the beagle and you have to love Nana. Aliens, dinosaurs… you name it, plus this has so many body parts in it you will struggle to keep up. It does ramble a bit but then I think the aim was to make you feel like you had eaten the pound cake. Not the greatest story to finish on though.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Actual rating 2.5 stars. This is a collection of horror shorts written by author Jack Kilbourn (aka JA Konrath). Some were included in various anthologies, horror magazines, and the like, some were submissions that were never published until this collection. I arrived at my star rating by assigning each story it's own star rating, and then averaging them out. About half the stories I rated two or lower, meaning they just weren't my cuppa, they were way too short to be really interesting, or someth Actual rating 2.5 stars. This is a collection of horror shorts written by author Jack Kilbourn (aka JA Konrath). Some were included in various anthologies, horror magazines, and the like, some were submissions that were never published until this collection. I arrived at my star rating by assigning each story it's own star rating, and then averaging them out. About half the stories I rated two or lower, meaning they just weren't my cuppa, they were way too short to be really interesting, or something like that. Nine of them I rated three, which meant I found them enjoyable enough, but wished they'd maybe been a bit longer so that they could have been fleshed out a bit more. Three of the stories got a four or above rating, and they are as follows: The Screaming: A vampire story featuring Van Helsing and set in 1960's England. I rated it a four. Because Van Helsing and vampires, that's why. Forgiveness: A young priest is called to hear a dying serial killer's confession. Really creepy! I rated it a four. S.A.: (Stands for Shapeshifters Anonymous) A group of shapeshifters doing battle against Santa Claus--yes, Santa Claus. This one was just great fun, and I rated it a five. Note: Some of these stories are quite gory and graphic, so if that's not something for you, you may want to skip this volume. A couple could also be quite triggering--which I will put under a spoiler cut--(view spoiler)[Trailer Sucks - human male on female vampire rape, The Confession - dialogue about sexual abuse and physical abuse.) (hide spoiler)] I found them both truly disturbing. The author did give warnings as to them containing disturbing subject matter, but didn't specify what, so I thought I'd pass it along in case someone reading this would feel the need to skip over those stories.

  18. 3 out of 5

    Jordan Anderson

    Simply put J.A. Konrath may be the most underrated author of all time. Ever since stumbling across him by accident one fateful day, I have been unable to stop downloading and reading his many books. Sure I’ve read 4 or 5 of his full length novels, but it’s the short stories that truly showcase his talent. Move over Stephen King because Konrath has a thing or two to show you. In “Horror Stories” you have 26 collected shorts from the vast catalogue of Konrath’s stuff (most of which have never been Simply put J.A. Konrath may be the most underrated author of all time. Ever since stumbling across him by accident one fateful day, I have been unable to stop downloading and reading his many books. Sure I’ve read 4 or 5 of his full length novels, but it’s the short stories that truly showcase his talent. Move over Stephen King because Konrath has a thing or two to show you. In “Horror Stories” you have 26 collected shorts from the vast catalogue of Konrath’s stuff (most of which have never been published or are found in rare or out of print magazines and anthologies). Of the 26 stories, I only found 2 that I didn’t like: “The Shed” and “Embrace”. Now don’t get me wrong, neither are really “bad” works, they just fail in comparison to the rest of the incredible gathered stories here. Aside from “Symbiosis” which I had just downloaded and read, the rest of the 24 stories were some of the best shorts I have ever read. You have a pull up competitor fighting to beat the record (“Mr. Pull Ups”) (which was the best in this whole collection), rednecks in space (“Them’s Good Eats”), a psycho stuck in a bombshelter (“Finicky Eater”), a tale of what happens when a bunch of white trash trailer parkers come across a vampire (“Trailer Sucks”) as well as a whole slew of others (“The Bag”, “The Punishment Room”, “The Agreement” and the one story that actually made me laugh out loud while reading “S.A”.) Honestly, this may be one of the best collections of short stories I have ever read and at only 2.99, it was almost a steal. If you like your horror mixed with some twisted dark humor and a lot of disturbing content, “Horror Stories” is for you.

  19. 4 out of 5

    David

    3.5 stars. Some of these stories are so tasteless that I'd be embarrassed to rate this any higher, and a few of the stories aren't that good. Even though the maturity level of humor seldom surpasses the age of 12 (with content meant for 18 and older), it was hard not to enjoy this escapist collection. It's never boring, and is quite imaginative. Not at all for the sensitive. The closest thing I'll offer to a spoiler is that quite a few of these 26 tales focus on cannibalism. There are also a cou 3.5 stars. Some of these stories are so tasteless that I'd be embarrassed to rate this any higher, and a few of the stories aren't that good. Even though the maturity level of humor seldom surpasses the age of 12 (with content meant for 18 and older), it was hard not to enjoy this escapist collection. It's never boring, and is quite imaginative. Not at all for the sensitive. The closest thing I'll offer to a spoiler is that quite a few of these 26 tales focus on cannibalism. There are also a couple sure-to-offend stories involving sexual assault, including the strangest tale involving a vampire (in which the author says in an introduction that he almost wishes he'd never written). So yeah, there are few words I can say to make this sound like an encouraging recommendation to anyone. That I enjoyed it anyway makes it what could truly be called a guilty pleasure.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    As far as short stories go, these were decent. They just seemed too short to actually be horror. There wasn't enough time to build up enough suspense & horror. These stories don't grip you but they are entertaining. Read them after "Afraid" & "Trapped" and you will probably come away feeling unsatisfied & irritated. But, sometimes that is the nature of a short story, it deosn't have the time to "wow" you like a normal novel. Jack Kilborn's flair for visual writing and knack for build As far as short stories go, these were decent. They just seemed too short to actually be horror. There wasn't enough time to build up enough suspense & horror. These stories don't grip you but they are entertaining. Read them after "Afraid" & "Trapped" and you will probably come away feeling unsatisfied & irritated. But, sometimes that is the nature of a short story, it deosn't have the time to "wow" you like a normal novel. Jack Kilborn's flair for visual writing and knack for building intense feelings of suspense & attachment to his charaters is totally wasted in short story form. It takes time to build just the right dramatic affect, and he does it so perfectly, just not in this collection.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    What do I think? I don't know WHAT to think! Some of the short stories leave you cringing and speechless! I don't know WHERE Jack Kilborn/JA Konrath gets his ideas from......... I can't get enough of his books! I already have 4 more of his books (both writing as JA Konrath, and Jack Kilborn)downloaded on my Kindle...the hard part is picking ONE of them to read next! I LOVE short stories...and some of the stories in this collection took me 5 minutes to read - start to finish! And I am a slow read What do I think? I don't know WHAT to think! Some of the short stories leave you cringing and speechless! I don't know WHERE Jack Kilborn/JA Konrath gets his ideas from......... I can't get enough of his books! I already have 4 more of his books (both writing as JA Konrath, and Jack Kilborn)downloaded on my Kindle...the hard part is picking ONE of them to read next! I LOVE short stories...and some of the stories in this collection took me 5 minutes to read - start to finish! And I am a slow reader! Once you get into his stories, it is extremely difficult to put them down. I actually ONLY put them down, because I have to return to work. (I do the majority of my reading while on break at work!). Highly recommend this book if you enjoy unbelievable HORROR.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Billy Wells

    I loved the book so much I read it three times. It is definitely the most gruesome collection in one book I've read. Some of the stories are so depraved, I had to laugh, sometimes out loud, I was so shocked at the level Jack went to in many of his tales of gore and torture, I had to reread the passages several times to verify it really said what I thought it said. I don't think the stories will scare you, they are more black black horror. The author says his stories are horror with a wink. I agr I loved the book so much I read it three times. It is definitely the most gruesome collection in one book I've read. Some of the stories are so depraved, I had to laugh, sometimes out loud, I was so shocked at the level Jack went to in many of his tales of gore and torture, I had to reread the passages several times to verify it really said what I thought it said. I don't think the stories will scare you, they are more black black horror. The author says his stories are horror with a wink. I agree, it's gut wrenching, blatant horror with blood splattering over almost every page with a smile. I'm serious. Don't miss this one. It's the one you'll never forget. I also loved Afraid.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brandy Hunt

    I completely consumed this anthology in 4 hours. It is a blistering, horrific, terrific, disgusting read from beginning to end. Exactly what I needed the morning after thunderstorms and tornado warnings. I would have given this a five star rating, except for one thing. I feel almost knit picky about mentioning it, but the story titles were in a very strange font that doesn't show up well in the smashwords edition on my nook. While every story title wasn't unreadable, by the end, it had become an I completely consumed this anthology in 4 hours. It is a blistering, horrific, terrific, disgusting read from beginning to end. Exactly what I needed the morning after thunderstorms and tornado warnings. I would have given this a five star rating, except for one thing. I feel almost knit picky about mentioning it, but the story titles were in a very strange font that doesn't show up well in the smashwords edition on my nook. While every story title wasn't unreadable, by the end, it had become an annoyance.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I have never read this author before, but 25 stories for only 2.99 on my Kindle? Yes, please... Overall, I enjoyed this collection. Very gory, but suspenseful and scary. This is for those who have a stomach for blood, gore, cannibalism and all those other squeamish factors. Some stories felt a little rushed, but they are 'short' stories, so that is understandable. My favorites were "The Screaming" and "Finicky Eater" Great story for all horror lovers. Hopefully Mr. Kilborn will put out a second c I have never read this author before, but 25 stories for only 2.99 on my Kindle? Yes, please... Overall, I enjoyed this collection. Very gory, but suspenseful and scary. This is for those who have a stomach for blood, gore, cannibalism and all those other squeamish factors. Some stories felt a little rushed, but they are 'short' stories, so that is understandable. My favorites were "The Screaming" and "Finicky Eater" Great story for all horror lovers. Hopefully Mr. Kilborn will put out a second collection. I would buy it.

  25. 3 out of 5

    Alyssa Klinger

    This was definitely different for me. Lately I have been wanting to find a book to read that gets my heart racing and keeps me on my toes. So far I have been unsuccessful and this book was no different. It was super good don't get me wrong but none of the short stories scared me. I was a little disappointed that not even one did but I still loved it and would highly recommend it mainly because the author(s) are EXTREMELY creative and very detailed. Makes me consider reading something else by the This was definitely different for me. Lately I have been wanting to find a book to read that gets my heart racing and keeps me on my toes. So far I have been unsuccessful and this book was no different. It was super good don't get me wrong but none of the short stories scared me. I was a little disappointed that not even one did but I still loved it and would highly recommend it mainly because the author(s) are EXTREMELY creative and very detailed. Makes me consider reading something else by them.

  26. 3 out of 5

    Siobhan

    I liked some more than others but most of them were just ok

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    What a great bunch of stories, this was my first Kilborn book but certainly not my last.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gerbin

    S.A. is the funniest thing I've read this summer

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I could not read this book. I got 3 pages into it and decided that my stomach could not handle it.

  30. 3 out of 5

    britany abernathy

    Great read This book was truly entertaining I was glad to read it and can’t wait to read more from this author

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