Reviewed by Elaine Lamkin
Edited by Romana Baotic and Gary Lucas
Published by Severed Press
Bathophobia: The fear of depths. The fear of deep water.
Ichthyophobia: The fear of fish.
If you don’t already suffer from bathophobia and/or ichthyophobia, you probably will after reading this amazingly wonderful horrific collection of short stories about what lurks beneath the waters of the world.
From the opening story, “Fox Goes Fission” by Ron Lemming, which was an absolutely unsettling read for me, to Tim Curran’s fascinating and gruesome tale of zombie pirahnas, “Piraya” to the MORE than squirm-inducing “Crawlies” by David Dunwoody, nearly every tale in this 19-story anthology is a winner.
There are revenge-driven lobsters (“Lobster Stew”), a mermaid with a score to settle (the cleverly-named “Death Roe”) as well as murderous suck holes (“Noodlers”) and, for male readers especially, the cringe-inducing “Something Fishy is Going On”. I am not sure how the idea of a “fish-based” horror anthology came about and I have to admit I was skeptical about how scary fish could be, given that the REALLY freaky ones are found too deep in the ocean for man to take a swim with or go fishing for (Angler fish, anyone? Brrrrr…), but the concept REALLY works here.
This anthology comes courtesy of a new Australian-based publisher, Severed Press, and in my opinion, horror literature fans should REALLY keep an eye on them. I just received their latest publication, the 666-page (really – 666 pages!) zombie novel Resurrection from Skin Medicine scribe Tim Curran. Severed Press has the cojones to publish THE most outrageous, nasty and downright wonderfully disgusting horror that I’ve seen in quite a while. They are the folks who took a chance on Curran’s Western/horror novel, the aforementioned Skin Medicine, which was out-of-print and now it’s getting rave reviews on Amazon.com as well as several horror sites. It’s one of MY all-time favourite horror novels.
So go grab yourself a handful of Dead Baitbefore they are all gone and prepare to be grossed out, terrified, freaked out, etc. Definitely a must-have for horror fans.
4 1/2 out of 5
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