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Hark! the Herald Angels Scream: An Anthology

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Eighteen stories of Christmas horror from bestselling, acclaimed authors including Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Josh Malerman, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, and many more. That there is darkness at the heart of the Yuletide season should not surprise. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is filled with scenes that are unsettling. Marley untying the bandage that holds his Eighteen stories of Christmas horror from bestselling, acclaimed authors including Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Josh Malerman, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, and many more. That there is darkness at the heart of the Yuletide season should not surprise. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is filled with scenes that are unsettling. Marley untying the bandage that holds his jaws together. The hideous children--Want and Ignorance--beneath the robe of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The heavy ledgers Marley drags by his chains. In the finest versions of this story, the best parts are the terrifying parts. Bestselling author and editor Christopher Golden shares his love for Christmas horror stories with this anthology of all-new short fiction from some of the most talented and original writers of horror today.


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Eighteen stories of Christmas horror from bestselling, acclaimed authors including Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Josh Malerman, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, and many more. That there is darkness at the heart of the Yuletide season should not surprise. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is filled with scenes that are unsettling. Marley untying the bandage that holds his Eighteen stories of Christmas horror from bestselling, acclaimed authors including Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Josh Malerman, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, and many more. That there is darkness at the heart of the Yuletide season should not surprise. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is filled with scenes that are unsettling. Marley untying the bandage that holds his jaws together. The hideous children--Want and Ignorance--beneath the robe of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The heavy ledgers Marley drags by his chains. In the finest versions of this story, the best parts are the terrifying parts. Bestselling author and editor Christopher Golden shares his love for Christmas horror stories with this anthology of all-new short fiction from some of the most talented and original writers of horror today.

30 review for Hark! the Herald Angels Scream: An Anthology

  1. 4 out of 5

    Justin Tate

    Despite the cute title, take a hard pass on this one. Calling it a "mixed bag" is too generous. Most of the stories are boring to unreadable. Only a few would even be categorized as horror. It's like slogging through the full album of a one-hit-wonder band. No wonder single short stories are so popular on Kindle--buy the one you want and don't waste time on the garbage. If this happens to go on clearance and you do buy it, here are the three stories actually worth reading: Kelley Armstrong - Absin Despite the cute title, take a hard pass on this one. Calling it a "mixed bag" is too generous. Most of the stories are boring to unreadable. Only a few would even be categorized as horror. It's like slogging through the full album of a one-hit-wonder band. No wonder single short stories are so popular on Kindle--buy the one you want and don't waste time on the garbage. If this happens to go on clearance and you do buy it, here are the three stories actually worth reading: Kelley Armstrong - Absinthe & Angels Sarah Lotz - Not Just For Christmas Jeff Strand - Good Deeds

  2. 4 out of 5

    Char

    Christmas! I really can't stand it, but this anthology appealed to me for the following reasons. 1. The killer cover! (For which I got to host the exclusive cover reveal on my blog, Char's Horror Corner, and it was very exciting!) 2. It was edited by Christopher Golden and I've had good luck with anthologies he's edited in the past. I'm happy to report this one was no exception! This book was chock full of stories, nearly 400 pages worth, so I can't get into all of them here, but I will briefly t Christmas! I really can't stand it, but this anthology appealed to me for the following reasons. 1. The killer cover! (For which I got to host the exclusive cover reveal on my blog, Char's Horror Corner, and it was very exciting!) 2. It was edited by Christopher Golden and I've had good luck with anthologies he's edited in the past. I'm happy to report this one was no exception! This book was chock full of stories, nearly 400 pages worth, so I can't get into all of them here, but I will briefly talk about the tales that stood out for me: YANKEE SWAP by John McIlveen. Wow! We go from a woman trying to avoid her sexually aggressive boss at a Christmas party, to her getting knocked over the head and waking up tied to a chair. This tale had it all-violence, surprises and plot twists along with a satisfying conclusion. Bravo! 5* CHRISTMAS IN BARCELONA by Scott Smith. I love Scott's A SIMPLE PLAN, but this tale was completely different from his usual stuff. I was able to guess the end just before the story got there, but that didn't spoil the fun at all. 4.5* THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE CHRISTMAS HOTEL by Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe Lansdale. This was a perfect "ghost gets revenge" type story and I loved it, as I do most anything he writes. 4.5* LOVE ME by Thomas Sniegoski. This twisted little tale reminded me of the Tribble episode from Star Trek. What fun! 4* GOOD DEEDS by Jeff Strand. I don't even know what to say about this one, but it's Jeff Strand. What else do I have to say, really? 4* IT'S A WONDERFUL KNIFE BY Christopher Golden. I figured out the conclusion early on, but that didn't spoil the fun getting there. 3.5* HOME by Tim Lebbon. This was a twisted little tale of the end of the world and Santa, albeit a Santa you would never recognize in a million years. 3.5* Lastly, THE HANGMAN'S BRIDE by Sarah Pinborough. Sarah's books have quickly become some of my favorites in recent history, (and I'm glad I have a good-sized backlog to catch up with), but this tale really took the cake. My second favorite in this anthology, with a distinct Dickensian feel, young William and his soot-filled lungs stole my heart. 5* Most anthologies are hit and miss with me-very rarely do all the stories hit their mark. In this case, though, it was pretty close to doing so, therefore I gave it a four star rating. Even if you hate Christmas, and you "Bah Humbug" with the best of them, this anthology has something for everyone-the variety is outstanding. So as the title suggests HARK people! Come and hear the angels scream! Highly recommended! *Thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for the e-ARC of this anthology in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

  3. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    If there is one horror theme I never get tired of, it’s holiday horror—especially when that holiday is Christmas! When you look at the roots of so many Christmas rituals and celebrations, there really is a dark and fantastical element; when you couple that with the bizarre antics so many are driven to during this stressful and busy time of year, it’s no surprise that these authors could come up with such fun stories. The thing people really hate remembering, even as they celebrate a guy nailed t If there is one horror theme I never get tired of, it’s holiday horror—especially when that holiday is Christmas! When you look at the roots of so many Christmas rituals and celebrations, there really is a dark and fantastical element; when you couple that with the bizarre antics so many are driven to during this stressful and busy time of year, it’s no surprise that these authors could come up with such fun stories. The thing people really hate remembering, even as they celebrate a guy nailed to wood: all Gods demand a sacrifice. They’re so fucking hungry. — Sarah Langan When it comes to an anthology this solid, I feel like I’m doing a disservice if I don’t take a moment to touch on my thoughts for each individual story—especially in a case like this, where some of these were genuinely some of the most delightful and well-written short stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I know not everyone has the time or desire to read this long of a review, though, so I’ll make it easy on you and list my favorites first: F A V O R I T E S : → Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow — Seanan McGuire → Good Deeds — Jeff Strand → Yankee Swap — John M. McIlveen And now, if you’re still with me, let’s get into the specifics! Stories like that don’t start in the dark. They just end there. — Michael Koryta → Absinthe & Angels — Kelley Armstrong ★★★★★ All Michael and Ava wanted was a quiet Christmas weekend in the cabin, but the mummers from Ava’s childhood nightmares have different plans. What a way to kick off a Christmas anthology! This is such a legitimately creepy story that gave me major The Strangers vibes, but with a fun twist—and certainly piqued my interest in Armstrong’s writing. → Christmas in Barcelona — Scott Smith ★★★☆☆ A couple who’s grown accustomed to Christmas holidays doesn’t let their newborn stop them from making a trip to Barcelona, where the father finds some very interesting magical toys. This one had an incredibly slow start for me, and I began to wonder if the ending would pay off, but I was definitely horrified by the outcome. Unfortunately, the terrors of the story aren’t what had me on edge—it’s the total disregard everyone in the story has for the wellbeing of this poor infant. → Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow — Seanan McGuire ★★★★★ Andy’s parents have found a new babysitter for the evening, and she has a very strange Christmas story for him and his siblings. Technically, this is the third story in the collection, but I saved it for last because Seanan is one of my all-time favorite short story authors (literally, she’s only tied with one other writer), so I knew this would be wonderful, and it absolutely was. I’m interested in seeing how people who are new to Seanan’s writing will receive it, as it’s more dark fantasy than horror, but I was endlessly delighted by the lore and care that went into crafting the babysitter’s story and the ending. → Love Me — Thomas E. Sniegoski ★★★★★ Fresh out of prison again, all Flynn wants is a way to see his daughter—and he’ll do anything, even if it means robbing that strange old woman above the antiques shop… A slightly slow start, but so worth it, as the direction this story took stunned me. It’s creepy, gross, and bizarre in all the right ways, and the ending pulls no punches. → Not Just for Christmas — Sarah Lotz ★★★★★ Tired of the responsibilities of real pets, the people of the future have created GenPets—wifi-enabled “pets” with apps, updates, and the ability to speak. This absolutely needs to be an episode of BlackMirror ASAP, because it reminded me so much of that show in the best way. I was torn between feeling horrified and completely amused by the whole thing. → Tenets — Josh Malerman ★★★☆☆ Reason #6 why you should always know exactly who the +1 invites are at your Christmas party: what if someone brings a former cult leader? I think Josh Malerman is a talented writer, but his short stories never seem to resonate with me, and this was no exception. It had an interesting idea but the execution felt under-developed and lacking. → Good Deeds — Jeff Strand ★★★★★ When a particular Grinch-y man is shopping right before Christmas, he meets a little boy who desperately needs to buy his dying mother a pair of shoes—and decides to write an incredibly depressing song about it. This has to be one of my favorite stories in the collection, if only because I laughed my ass off from start to finish. I hate that damn Christmas Shoes song and this entire story was a goldmine, even if it does get rather… well, messy. → It’s a Wonderful Knife — Christopher Golden ★★★★☆ It’s Cassie’s big Christmas Eve night with the hot-shots in Hollywood, when an infamous producer takes her to tour his room of macabre and unique movie items—including a very peculiar murder instrument. This was just a really fun middle finger to the Weinstein types of Hollywood, and I loved it a lot for that. → Mistletoe and Holly — James A. Moore ★★★★★ It’s been a long, hard two years since Deanna’s spouse died, but who knows what kinds of miracles can be worked on Christmas? Oooh, this one hit me right in the heart. I saw the ending coming a mile away, but that didn’t make it any less anxiety-inducing to watch it form, especially as we learned more about the truth behind Deanna’s lost husband. → Snake’s Tail — Sarah Langan ★★★☆☆ Every Christmas, God grows restless and takes child sacrifices—but the adults never seem to learn how to stop it. First, this story is a nightmare for a parent; the idea of children going missing every Christmas and nobody figuring out how to stop it is devastating, and worse yet is the constant parallel being made to our own world and the way we, as adults, look away over and over again from the children dying in oil wars and unnecessary famines. While I loved the entire idea behind the story and the point it presents, I only feel that the execution lacked a little. → The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel — Joe R. Lansdale ★★★☆☆ An elderly man is invited on Christmas Eve to learn the story from a childhood friend about a young woman they met once, so long ago, and the terror of her ghost’s annual presence after her untimely demise. This story was a mixed bag for me; on one hand, I enjoyed the idea of this young woman showing back up each Christmas Eve seeking revenge, and I loved the disgusting descriptions of the form she appeared in. On the other hand, the writing voice felt stilted and unnatural. → Farrow Street — Elizabeth Hand ★☆☆☆☆ An American woman decides to spend Christmas alone in London, but her last-minute planning lands her in poor circumstances as she explores the city. The protagonist of this story in insufferable; she makes terrible decisions and has nobody to blame but herself for her own miserable holiday in London, but worse than how frustrating she is, is how dreadfully slow the pacing in the story is. Nothing of any interest whatsoever happens until the last two pages or so, and even then, the ending wasn’t able to make up for what the bulk of the tale lacked. → Doctor Velocity — Jonathan Maberry ❌ This story evidently ties into a collection of Maberry’s short stories. I gave it a try but quickly decided that it didn’t work for me as a stand-alone tale (or maybe as a story, period), so I’ve opted not to rate or review it here. → Yankee Swap — John M. McIlveen ★★★★★ When Kat is abducted from a company Christmas party, she wakes up tied up and being forced into the worst game of Yankee Swap anyone’s ever seen. This was such a fun theme to play with; as soon as I read the title, I had an idea of where I hoped the story was going, and I was right. As someone who already hates Yankee Swap in real life, I don’t think I’ll ever look at it quite the same way! → Honor Thy Mother — Angela Slatter ★★★★★ Agnes’ family has come to visit her for Christmas, using family bonding time as a guise for their real goal: convincing her to go willingly to a nursing home. They have no idea what Agnes has been hiding. I loved this so much. I’ve never read anything quite like this, and it’s so fun to get inside Agnes’ head and slowly unravel her secrets as she looks onto her family with disgust and venom (rightfully so, at that!). → Home — Tim Lebbon ★★★★★ In a post-apocalyptic setting, an old man and his silent, strange companion search. There’s basically nothing I can tell you about the plot of this story because it’s entirely character-driven, but it’s incredible and speculative and a little bit weird. → Hiking Through — Michael Koryta ★★★★★ There’s a mighty interesting ghost story set in the rugged woods of Maine… This is definitely more of a ‘wintry’ than ‘Christmas’-y story, but it’s so atmospheric and well-written. That ending, though? Perfect. → The Hangman’s Bride — Sarah Pinborough ★★★☆☆ On a cold Christmas Eve night, a grandfather regales his young grandson with an old ghost story about his home. This story has a lot going for it—the writing is beautiful, and the creepy scenes are genuinely unsettling—but it’s far longer than it really ought to be, which diluted the overall effect. Unfortunately, like a few other stories in this collection, it also didn’t feel like it actually had any sort of Christmas theme to it besides one or two sentences in the very beginning. Had the story been in the middle of the anthology, it might not have been so noticeable, but it felt like a letdown to close the collection with a story that didn’t feel as though it fit the theme very well. Content warnings for suicide, self-harm, violence, murder, child death, sexual harassment, ableism All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Anchor Books for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror

    4.5 stars! Rounded up for Goodreads. Christmas is antithetical to horror. It's the season of good cheer, merriment, friends & family and generosity. We even have this spokesperson for Christmas called Santa Claus who sneaks into homes, eating cookies, drinking milk and leaving presents--he's jolly and kindly. Or--he's ripping his good natured face off and revealing the insidious creature that *really* enters your holiday home in the middle of the night! (that cover!!!) This Christmas themed ant 4.5 stars! Rounded up for Goodreads. Christmas is antithetical to horror. It's the season of good cheer, merriment, friends & family and generosity. We even have this spokesperson for Christmas called Santa Claus who sneaks into homes, eating cookies, drinking milk and leaving presents--he's jolly and kindly. Or--he's ripping his good natured face off and revealing the insidious creature that *really* enters your holiday home in the middle of the night! (that cover!!!) This Christmas themed anthology edited by Christopher Golden (I'm a fan of his anthologies) has some of the best names in the industry: including Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Josh Malerman, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, and many more. Sidenote: I will buy any anthology with a Scott Smith contribution because The Ruins and A Simple Plan are just not enough. MORE Scott Smith! I was so pleasantly impressed with this collection. Usually anthologies are a mixed bag ranging from a total dud, to just OK with a few standouts. This is an exception. Almost all of the stories are well above 3 stars with several 4 and 5 star standouts. My favorites were: Absinthe & Angles by Kelley Armstrong Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith (that ending!) Love Me by Thomas E. Sniegoski Not Just for Christmas by Sara Lotz (animal lovers will dig this) Tenants by Josh Malerman It's a Wonderful Knife by Christopher Golden Yankee Swap by John McIlveen and The Hangman's Bride by Sarah Pinborough A very solid collection. I will for sure cherry pick through this anthology every Christmas and re-read some of my favorites because it really put me in the perfect mood! I can't recommend this one enough.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Schizanthus

    Content warnings include suicide, family violence, murder, sexual harassment and kidnapping. I’ll be completely upfront with you; I only wanted this book for the Seanan McGuire story. Well, that and the cover image that reminded me of one of the guys from Mars Attacks! playing dress up. I’ve never read Christmas horror before so didn’t know what to expect. I was hoping this book would contain a bunch of Christmas stories for people who prefer Halloween; serial killer Santas, blood soaked snowmen Content warnings include suicide, family violence, murder, sexual harassment and kidnapping. I’ll be completely upfront with you; I only wanted this book for the Seanan McGuire story. Well, that and the cover image that reminded me of one of the guys from Mars Attacks! playing dress up. I’ve never read Christmas horror before so didn’t know what to expect. I was hoping this book would contain a bunch of Christmas stories for people who prefer Halloween; serial killer Santas, blood soaked snowmen, Christmas trees that come to life and chase people through the house … What I found were some fun, creepy stories mixed in with a whole pile of stories that just so happened to take place on or around Christmas; Santa, Frosty and Rudolph not even peeking their heads around the corner of the page. Absinthe & Angels - Kelley Armstrong ⭐️⭐️⭐️ It’s Christmas Eve and Ava’s childhood fear has just knocked on the front door. The concept was good but felt a bit disjointed for me. “Give us food. Give us wine. Then our song shall be thine.” Christmas in Barcelona - Scott Smith ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Murphy’s Law tags along for a Christmas vacation to Barcelona with a couple and their baby. This one started slowly and didn’t feel like it belonged in this collection for most of the story but then it well and truly made up for lost time. You feel the same thought stirring - everything is going to be okay - but this time you have the wisdom to resist its lure. Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow - Seanan McGuire ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Seanan has proven, once again, why she’s one of my all time favourite authors! A babysitter tells the story of Snegurochka, the Snow Maiden to Andy, Chloe and Diane. I want to tell you more but don’t want to spoil it! “She looks for children who could be great, if only the snow that made them were melted down and given to someone else for safekeeping.” Love Me - Thomas E. Sniegoski ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 The Creeper gets more than he bargained for when he pulls his first job after being released from prison. I enjoyed the buildup but really wanted to know the history of what the Creeper finds in the apartment above the antique store. ”You came to steal from me, I know,” the woman called out. Not Just For Christmas - Sarah Lotz ⭐️⭐️⭐️ If you’ve ever thought your pet being able to talk would be adorable you’ll change your mind after reading this one. Technology and the family pet don’t exactly mix. Oodles of swearing in this one. “Do we really need any more surprises from you this year?” Tenets - Josh Malerman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Bringing a failed cult leader to your holiday party can really ruin the holiday spirit. I wasn’t sure where this one was going for a while but was getting into it when it abruptly ended. While I can imagine all sorts of things I wanted to see what really happened next. The last thing she wanted to be thinking about at a holiday party reunion was cults and cult leaders and what all that means and how sad it was if you really broke it down. Good Deeds - Jeff Strand ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 A man does a good deed and is so proud of himself that he writes a song about how awesome he is. His song changes peoples’ lives, although not for the better. Morbid and sort of amusing (but the type you feel guilty for being amused about), this was one of the weirdest Christmas stories I’ve ever read. I expect the insensitivity of the main character and the subject matter will be offensive to some readers. The world was a dark, ugly, selfish cesspool of misery, but I’d done my part to shine a ray of joy upon it. With only a credit card, I’d made the universe a better place. It’s a Wonderful Knife - Christopher Golden ⭐️⭐️⭐️ A sleazy Hollywood producer gets more than he bargained for when he takes an actress on a tour of his collection of rare movie memorabilia. A timely story but not really a Christmas story; just one that happened to be set around Christmas. “That’s half the fun for a collector. The macabre stuff always goes for top dollar.” Mistletoe and Holly - James A. Moore ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 A mother of three young boys grieves the loss of her husband as Christmas draws near, but just because she misses him doesn’t necessarily mean she wants him back. This one was predictable but creepy. It was the holidays. Best to be prepared for the emotional bloodshed. Snake’s Tail - Sarah Langan ⭐️⭐️⭐️ It’s Christmas Eve and children are going missing in a little town on the bay. I still have no idea what this one had to do with Christmas other than the time of year it was set. Yes, the clock chimes, and by the time it stops resonating, the child is gone. Disappeared from her bed. The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel - Joe R. Lansdale ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Something awful happened in that room in the Christmas Hotel many years ago and now something wants justice. The room was fine the rest of the year, no complaints, but come Christmas Eve, no one could make it through a night. Farrow Street - Elizabeth Hand ⭐️⭐️⭐️ After her holiday plans fall through, Melanie decides to book accommodation in London and spend some time alone. On Christmas day she ventures out, trying to find an open restaurant, and finds herself in Farrow Street. I don’t think she ever gets her meal. I kept waiting for something to happen and when the action is about to start the story ends. She cast a final look behind her. A feather of candlelight touched the floor at the foot of the stairs and faded into darkness. Doctor Velocity - Jonathan Maberry ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Destroyer talks to Doctor Velocity about his desperation and fear of having lost the spark that made his artwork come to life. Doctor Velocity has a Christmas present for him. “Most often a person has survived because the monster did not want to destroy them all the way. To kill them would be to empty them of screams, of struggle, of fear and pain, and that’s what those monsters feed on.” Yankee Swap - John M. McIlveen ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 After avoiding her slimy boss at their work holiday party Kat finds herself in another nightmarish situation, and she’s not alone. That he had chosen her to go first was a terrible omen that seemed to validate her fear of not leaving there alive. Honor Thy Mother - Angela Slatter ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Agnes’ family are having Christmas at her home this year; she insisted. Her sons plan to talk her into moving out of her home and into an aged care facility. Agnes’ plan is better. She likes her privacy, knows it’s integral to her safety; her husband used to joke that if she could have got away with it, she’d have put a plaque on the front fence that read, “Nothing ever happened here.” Home - Tim Lebbon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The man and Old Bob make their way through an apocalyptic landscape. Is the man leading Old Bob or is Old Bob leading the man? And where are they going? It’s not until near the end of the story that its connection with Christmas becomes clear. Standing, stretching, the beauty and horror of what he saw struck home as it did every single morning. Hiking Through - Michael Koryta ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 While planning a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail a seasoned hiker hears a campfire story about a witch. I really enjoyed this one; I always love a good campfire story. We all laugh harder around a campfire, because we don’t want to acknowledge that some part of us is deeply concerned about what’s out there just beyond the reach of the firelight. The Hangman’s Bride - Sarah Pinborough ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The longest story in the collection and one of the best, the characters came to life for me and I want to read more by this author. Without giving away too much, Alexander’s grandfather tells him a story of a chimney sweep whose name is not Tom, a hangman, Miss Darkly, Mr and Mrs West, and the hangman’s bride. ‘People will do terrible things for love.’ Once I got over the gap between my expectation and reality I was able to enjoy most of these stories and have been inspired to attempt to write my own Christmas horror story, with plenty of tinsel, snowmen and blood. Wasn’t it Toni Morrison who said, “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it”? Thank you so much to NetGalley and Anchor, an imprint of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this book. My average rating was 3.86 so I’ve rounded up.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    "It was the holidays. Best to be prepared for emotional bloodshed." - James A. Moore I had so much fun reading Hark! The Herald Angels Scream. This anthology was edited by Christopher Golden, and I was pleasantly surprised with the anthology as a whole. It opens up with Kelley Armstrong's creepy Absinthe & Angels, and then leads you on a crazy Christmas journey from there. I had read a few of these authors before, such as Josh Malerman, Joe R. Lansdale, Jonathan Maberry, and Angela Slatter. I "It was the holidays. Best to be prepared for emotional bloodshed." - James A. Moore I had so much fun reading Hark! The Herald Angels Scream. This anthology was edited by Christopher Golden, and I was pleasantly surprised with the anthology as a whole. It opens up with Kelley Armstrong's creepy Absinthe & Angels, and then leads you on a crazy Christmas journey from there. I had read a few of these authors before, such as Josh Malerman, Joe R. Lansdale, Jonathan Maberry, and Angela Slatter. I found quite a few authors I had not read anything from (whose stories I enjoyed) - Kelley Armstrong, Scott Smith, Thomas E. Sniegoski, and Michael Koryta. It was a good mix of authors, and I appreciated that there were quite a few women authors in this anthology. My top 5 stories were Not Just for Christmas by Sarah Lotz, Good Deeds by Jeff Strand, Mistletoe and Holly by James A. Moore, Snake's Tail by Sarah Langan, and The Hangman's Bride by Sarah Pinborough. With the exception of Sarah Pinborough, it was my first time reading anything from these other authors & I adored their stories. I would love to read more from them. Sarah Lotz's story was hilarious & I can't stop talking about it. Please go read it & laugh about it with me. This anthology dealt with some heavier topics than I expected - although there were fun & light stories, some (like Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith) were pretty serious. It's a good blend between light and heavy, and I think there's something for all horror lovers in this anthology. I didn't love everything in Hark! The Herald Angels Scream, but the hits definitely outnumbered the misses for me. This is one of the better anthologies I've read. If you're looking for some good holiday horror, I highly recommend this one. Thank you so much to Vintage & Anchor Books for sending me a copy to review!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    I had an absolute blast listening to the audio book version of this holiday themed horror anthology! Packed with 18 horrific holiday tales, this collection ranges from humorous to spooky and even snarky. Fun! It was great timing on my part as I was packing away all the holiday decorations, moving furniture and mopping up after the holidays while listening to these stories. Made it more fun! As with any story collection there were tales I loved, some that were good, and two that I really didn't li I had an absolute blast listening to the audio book version of this holiday themed horror anthology! Packed with 18 horrific holiday tales, this collection ranges from humorous to spooky and even snarky. Fun! It was great timing on my part as I was packing away all the holiday decorations, moving furniture and mopping up after the holidays while listening to these stories. Made it more fun! As with any story collection there were tales I loved, some that were good, and two that I really didn't like. It happens. The stories are varied in tone, length and type of horror....makes the collection appealing to a wide range of readers. My favorite story from the book is Good Deeds by Jeff Strand. There is a particular Christmas song overplayed by radio stations every year that I absolutely hate. Every time I hear the depressing tune about a kid buying his dying mother a pair of shoes, I just roll my eyes and wonder if my ears are going to start bleeding. Ugh. I hate that song! How lovely of Jeff Strand to bring a smile to my face with a horror story based on the fact that EVERYONE pretty much hates that song. It brought joy to my heart and I will think fondly on that story every time I am subjected to The-Holiday-Song-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named. Following a close second for me was Absinthe & Angels by Kelly Armstrong. Totally creepy holiday tale about mummers who appear outside a couple's cabin on Christmas Eve. Loved it! All in all, this is an enjoyable holiday anthology that doesn't have to be enjoyed during the holidays. These stories are entertaining and could be read at any time of the year. I listened to the audio book version (Highbridge). At just over 11.5 hours, it took me a couple days to get through all of the stories. Narrated by Teri Schnaubelt and Charles Constant, the audio is high quality and very enjoyable. Both narrators read at a nice pace with great acting skills. A very enjoyable listening experience! This was definitely the perfect audio book to listen to while packing up the tinsel and reindeer! :)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    First off, can we all take a second to appreciate how fabulous this cover is? Good, now that you’ve feasted your eyes, listen to me gush about this anthology! Usually short story collections are a mixed bag, some good mixed in with some bad and some just average. But this collection did not follow in others footsteps. This collection was absolutely stunning! Out of all the stories there’s only one single one I wouldn’t give 5 stars to and that’s pretty damn impressive! I found so many new author First off, can we all take a second to appreciate how fabulous this cover is? Good, now that you’ve feasted your eyes, listen to me gush about this anthology! Usually short story collections are a mixed bag, some good mixed in with some bad and some just average. But this collection did not follow in others footsteps. This collection was absolutely stunning! Out of all the stories there’s only one single one I wouldn’t give 5 stars to and that’s pretty damn impressive! I found so many new authors I want to read and discovered new favourites from authors I already love. There’s really something for every horror fan here, from straight up classic gore horror to more subtle mind horror, this anthology has it all. And don’t let the fact that it’s a Christmas collection fool you, I’d read this gem year round!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mindi

    Ah, Christmas. It's a beloved yet complicated holiday. I've always had this love/hate relationship with all the traditions around Christmas. And I'm talking about commercial Christmas, people who go to church once a year, Christmas. Not the reason for Christmas. Still, many of you are bristling right now. Calm down, I'm not coming for Christmas. It's just not my favorite holiday, for a myriad of reasons. However, Christmas horror? Yes, please! This collection is tons of Yuletide fun. I've really Ah, Christmas. It's a beloved yet complicated holiday. I've always had this love/hate relationship with all the traditions around Christmas. And I'm talking about commercial Christmas, people who go to church once a year, Christmas. Not the reason for Christmas. Still, many of you are bristling right now. Calm down, I'm not coming for Christmas. It's just not my favorite holiday, for a myriad of reasons. However, Christmas horror? Yes, please! This collection is tons of Yuletide fun. I've really enjoyed some of Christopher Golden's previous anthologies, and this one is no exception. As usual there were some standouts for me. Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith is one of my favorites. I love how Smith never holds back. I actually forgot about that while I was reading this one. I was just as enchanted with the story as the characters were, so that ending was like a punch to the gut. I sincerely expect nothing less from Smith though. Tenets by Josh Malerman is such an uncomfortable read. Holiday parties are the worst, and I can't even imagine going to one as cringe worthy as this. I like to think I would avoid falling into the group hysteria in this one, but when you are with a group of friends it's hard not to adopt a hive mentality. I think the scariest part of this one is who we are capable of becoming while in a group. It's a Wonderful Knife by Christopher Golden was fun and totally unexpected. I had no idea where this story was going and I love that. It takes such a bizarre and hilarious turn. I think the less I say about this one, the better. You need to just experience it on your own. The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel by Joe R. Lansdale is a great Christmas revenge tale. Revenge is a theme that seems to be explored quite a bit around Christmas. 'Tis the season. This one is creepy and satisfying. Yankee Swap by John McIlveen is another of my favorites. I'm literally not going to say anything about this one because you need to experience it without any information. It had me turning pages like no other story in this anthology. And finally I loved The Hangman's Bride by Sarah Pinborough. It's so cool how Pinborough mixes the styles of A Christmas Carol with modern day Japanese horror. It's unique, and has some truly creepy moments. I enjoyed this one quite a bit. So this collection was a bit hit or miss for me, but the ones I enjoyed were so strong that I definitely recommend this one. Everyone needs a little horror around Christmas.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    How can you resist the title? Or the wonderful cover? It's an excellent collection of Christmas horror stories, just in time to get you in the mood for the season. Actually, the Christmas connection is a little tenuous in some of the tales, but that's okay. I particularly enjoyed the Golden (which revisits the Hollywood memorabilia collection from his earlier story The Hiss of Escaping Air (I think)), the Lotz (a good sf tale!), the Sniegoski (creepy!), the Malerman (we've all been to parties li How can you resist the title? Or the wonderful cover? It's an excellent collection of Christmas horror stories, just in time to get you in the mood for the season. Actually, the Christmas connection is a little tenuous in some of the tales, but that's okay. I particularly enjoyed the Golden (which revisits the Hollywood memorabilia collection from his earlier story The Hiss of Escaping Air (I think)), the Lotz (a good sf tale!), the Sniegoski (creepy!), the Malerman (we've all been to parties like this), the Strand (weird fun), the Moore (Yuletide Monkey's Paw), the Lansdale (yep), the Hand (just stay home for the holidays, right), the McIlveen (would make a great movie), the Slatter ('cause the season can make you sad, too), the Lebbon, and the Koryta (a good traditional horror). I was a little let down by the Maberry and didn't really get the McGuire, which is odd because they're two of my favorite writers. The best story in the book, by far, is the novella by Sarah Pinborough, a terrific Christmas tale even if Connie Willis or Charles Dickens didn't write it. So, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)

    Every year I say that Halloween doesn't get what it deserves... Thanksgiving is shortly behind and Christmas is frantically trying to cut the line. So when I received a horror anthology catering to a Christmas theme, well color me ecstatic! Now, I'm not usually big on short stories - sometimes they stick, but usually I just have this hankering for more... this one hit a few buttons for me. Equal parts thrilling, filling and just ok - I got what I expected... but THEN SOME. I recognized most of th Every year I say that Halloween doesn't get what it deserves... Thanksgiving is shortly behind and Christmas is frantically trying to cut the line. So when I received a horror anthology catering to a Christmas theme, well color me ecstatic! Now, I'm not usually big on short stories - sometimes they stick, but usually I just have this hankering for more... this one hit a few buttons for me. Equal parts thrilling, filling and just ok - I got what I expected... but THEN SOME. I recognized most of the names of those who contributed but found some new cats I can't wait to skin. While some stories dealt with actual Christmas type events, others just were set during Christmas time and didn't quite bring in a Christmas theme - personally, I was A-OK with that! The best part of the Halloween to Christmas time is that we get to take this time of ghoulishness to jolly celebration and make them all into something sinister if we want. Bring it on! As far as I'm concerned, it's Halloween October 1 - December 31st... oh who am I kidding, bring on the creepy ALL YEAR LONG! Stand outs for me are: Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith, Honor Thy Mother by Angela Slatter and Yankee Swap by John M. McIlvee. The reason why they're stand outs is that I haven't read these authors before. Other stories were also well done by authors I do like to read such as Sarah Pinborough and Josh Malerman. Ultimately I will say that this was one of my favorite short story collections to read. With the mix of good and not so good that comes with any anthology, this one was an easy one to fly through. Thank you to Anchor for this copy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    When I see the name Christopher Golden, it is almost like the angels screaming! I've loved this author for a very, very long time. In this whole anthology, I seriously disliked 3 stories, thought 2 were crap, and the rest? Duh, they were Golden. "Cheesy, stupid grin." Anything that has Scott Smith as one single story out of many, will always get my attention. Add some J. Maberry, and Golden? Dude, it's on. There were quite a few tales here that kinda freaked me out. Other's, they were just reall When I see the name Christopher Golden, it is almost like the angels screaming! I've loved this author for a very, very long time. In this whole anthology, I seriously disliked 3 stories, thought 2 were crap, and the rest? Duh, they were Golden. "Cheesy, stupid grin." Anything that has Scott Smith as one single story out of many, will always get my attention. Add some J. Maberry, and Golden? Dude, it's on. There were quite a few tales here that kinda freaked me out. Other's, they were just really good. I can read anthologies til' the cows come home, but the ones I love are few and far between. This was the best I've read in years. Literally....years. By the way, why the hell hasn't Scott Smith's stories been brought together in its own anthology. Man, I'd pay money for that! As always, my thanks to the publishers and Netgalley. I'm not sure that I would have bought this. I'd have bought Goldens book, but probably not this. I would have missed out. Truly, one of the best anthologies in the past 20 years. No shit.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Hark! the Herald Angels Scream is an anthology of eighteen Christmas themed short horror stories from a unique and talented writers of the genre. Some of my favorite authors of the group include Christopher Golden (also the editor here), Seanan McGuire, Thomas E. Sniegoski, and Jonathan Maberry. While some of the shorts just weren't quite my style, there were some truly fantastic gems that were exactly what I was looking for. For I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Hark! the Herald Angels Scream is an anthology of eighteen Christmas themed short horror stories from a unique and talented writers of the genre. Some of my favorite authors of the group include Christopher Golden (also the editor here), Seanan McGuire, Thomas E. Sniegoski, and Jonathan Maberry. While some of the shorts just weren't quite my style, there were some truly fantastic gems that were exactly what I was looking for. For me, the real standouts from the collection are "Absinthe & Angels" by Kelley Armstrong, "Christmas in Barcelona" by Scott Smith, "Love Me" by Thomas E. Sniegoski, "It's a Wonderful Knife" by Christopher Golden, and "The Hangman's Bride" by Sarah Pinborough. That's not to say that the other stories were bad, they just weren't what I has hoping for. Overall, I do recommend this collection, especially if you enjoy Tales From The Crypt or holiday centered horror.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tanya W

    I really enjoyed the stories in this book. My personal favorite was 'Love Me' by Thomas Sniegoski. The last half of the story had me hooked like no other. If you enjoy basic & just bizarre Christmas themed horror tales this book is for you. Highly recommend it!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brandy Humphrey

    This book surprisingly held a couple of firsts for me. It’s the first Christmas themed horror book I’ve ever read, and the first anthology written by a collection of different authors I’ve ever read. I was initially drawn to the gorgeous cover, but as soon as I saw a few of the contributing authors names, I just knew I had to request it. Hark! The Herald Angels Scream is the perfect book for those looking to fill the season with some holiday themed thrills and chills. It starts out with a bang, op This book surprisingly held a couple of firsts for me. It’s the first Christmas themed horror book I’ve ever read, and the first anthology written by a collection of different authors I’ve ever read. I was initially drawn to the gorgeous cover, but as soon as I saw a few of the contributing authors names, I just knew I had to request it. Hark! The Herald Angels Scream is the perfect book for those looking to fill the season with some holiday themed thrills and chills. It starts out with a bang, opening with a story called Absinthe and Angels by Kelley Armstrong. In it, we’re taught about mummers, something I could’ve happily gone the rest of my life without knowing about. From there on we have amazing tales such as, Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow by Seanan McGuire, Good Deeds by Jeff Strand, and The Hangman’s Bride by Sarah Pinborough; and that’s only a few of the incredible shorts we get from Hark! There were only one or two stories that I couldn’t get into, otherwise I really enjoyed each and every one. Just want to give a special nod to Good Deeds by Jeff Strand. The story was so insanely hilarious that I had tears rolling down my face from laughing so hard. You’ll definitely find a little bit of everything within HTHAS, and I would most highly recommend it to any and all lovers of horror and then some. 

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.0 Stars This is a fun collection of horror short stories all set around the holiday season. I was fairly happy with the variety of the stories in the collection with each author taking a unique angle on the season with stories about everything from vacations to office parties. The stories were light-hearted and easy to read. There were some dark moments, but, overall, the stories didn't seem to take themselves too seriously. Unfortunately, I found most of the stories to be quite lackluster and 3.0 Stars This is a fun collection of horror short stories all set around the holiday season. I was fairly happy with the variety of the stories in the collection with each author taking a unique angle on the season with stories about everything from vacations to office parties. The stories were light-hearted and easy to read. There were some dark moments, but, overall, the stories didn't seem to take themselves too seriously. Unfortunately, I found most of the stories to be quite lackluster and forgettable. However, I did enjoy a few of the stories. Since I have a particular love for invasion/hostage related horror, my favourite stories in the collection were: Absinthe & Angels by Kelley Armstrong Yankee Swap by John M. Mcillveen I requested this anthology from Netgalley because I love holiday-themed horror and, honestly, I was pulled in by the amazing cover art!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elle's Book Blog

    Release Date: October 23, 2018 Genre: Horror Anthology with a Christmas Theme Actual Rating: 3.5 stars Okay. For the most part, this is a good book. It's a horror anthology centered around Christmas and features 18 short stories. Many of the stories are great. They are well written, interesting, somewhat creepy, and original. However, there were a few that didn't bode well with me and I had a hard time finishing them. Because of this, I am right in the middle in terms of my rating. I liked Release Date: October 23, 2018 Genre: Horror Anthology with a Christmas Theme Actual Rating: 3.5 stars Okay. For the most part, this is a good book. It's a horror anthology centered around Christmas and features 18 short stories. Many of the stories are great. They are well written, interesting, somewhat creepy, and original. However, there were a few that didn't bode well with me and I had a hard time finishing them. Because of this, I am right in the middle in terms of my rating. I liked the book, but I didn't love it. One of the best things that I personally got out of this anthology is a list of new authors whose books I will be checking out in the near future. Horror novels seem to be so few and far between these days and I never know which authors are going to thrill me or kill me (not in the literal sense). So this was really exciting! Ahead you will find my thoughts on each short story within this anthology. There aren't any spoilers ahead just a few thoughts about each one including my personal rating for each story. ********************************************** Absinthe & Angels by Kelley Armstrong: 3.5/5 stars My Thoughts: A very short read, but has a creepy urband legend attached (a Christmas one). If this was to be made into a full length horror/Christmas novel I think I would like it. Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith: 2/5 stars My Thoughts This didn’t feel like a horror tale and I skimmed the story. The writing style wasn’t in my taste either so the way it was told bothered me. Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow by Seanan McGuire 4/5 stars My Thoughts: This was a good one! Nothing truly felt creepy until the end, but it certainly ended with a bang I was looking for! I think many readers will enjoy this story. Additionally, I like the way the story was told. I felt as if I were a part of it. Love Me by Thomas E. Sniegosky 5/5 stars My Thoughts This was a good one! Very creepy. Something that will haunt your nightmares! I guess I won’t be looking at dolls and stuffed animals the same again! Not Just For Christmas by Sarah Lotz: 4/5 stars My Thoughts Wow. What an interesting read this one is! It’s original, funny, and creepy all in one. If this is what the future looks like. Eeek! Tenets by Josh Malerman: 2/5 stars My Thoughts: The writing style is something to be desired. I can’t stand sentences that go on, and on, and on…. And they did with this story. Had the writing been a bit more… Normal? I don’t know, maybe this is the authors thing. It would have been good. I liked the ending, that’s for sure. Good Deeds by Jeff Strand: 5/5 My Thoughts: Gruesome, somewhat hilarious, and an all-around Christmas tale of terror! So far, this has been my favorite of the bunch. I loved the narrator even though he was an egotistical tool! It’s a Wonderful Knife by Christopher Golden: 4/5 stars My Thoughts Interesting short story. I liked the idea of this one and seeing as I am a fan of psychological horror this one fit the bill. Mistletoe and Holly by James A. Moore: 4/5 stars My Thoughts: This is a creepy story! It’s like Pet Semetary but for humans! This is another favorite of the bunch and I think many readers will like it. Snake’s Tail by Sarah Langan: 2/5 stars My Thoughts: This one was weirdly religious and my feelings for it are… undetermined I guess you could say. I didn’t hate it but I can’t quite say that I liked it either. The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel by Joe R. Lansdale: 3.5/5 stars My Thoughts: This is a good ghost story although my thoughts were left wondering why the narrator was taken to the hotel in the first place. Farrow Street by Elizabeth Hand: 1/5 stars My thoughts: Didn’t make much sense and it certainly wasn’t scary. Doctor Velocity by Jonathan Maberry: DNF My Thoughts: This short story simply wasn’t my cup of tea Yankee Swap by John M. McIlveen: 5/5 stars My Thoughts: WOW! I really enjoyed this one. I feel like I have seen a movie like this Honor Thy Mother by Angela Slatter: 4/5 stars My Thoughts : This was a lot of fun to read. I do think it could have been a bit creepier if the author TOLD us what the mother did in the end instead of making us guess. Home by Tim Lebbon: 1/5 My Thoughts: Unfortunately, this did not feel like a horror or Christmas tale to me. I didn’y enjoy it at all. Hiking Through by Michael Koryta: 4/5 stars My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. It’s an interesting ghost story with a really cool concept. The Hangman’s Bride by Sarah Pinborough: 2/5 stars My Thoughts: I normally love the authors books and have read a few that I really enjoyed. This one, not so much. I felt like skimming it even though it’s a short story. It just didn’t hold my interest.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    Confession time: I'm not really into Christmas. Yes, I appreciate the time off work, some good presents, and an excuse to watch Die Hard for the thousandth time, but as far as holidays go, it doesn't do much for me. Christmas is up there with Columbus Day as far as important holidays go for me, which is to say it's not important to me at all. I could easily forget all about these federal holidays if given the opportunity and I find their actual historicity all but ignored in favor of doe-eyed re Confession time: I'm not really into Christmas. Yes, I appreciate the time off work, some good presents, and an excuse to watch Die Hard for the thousandth time, but as far as holidays go, it doesn't do much for me. Christmas is up there with Columbus Day as far as important holidays go for me, which is to say it's not important to me at all. I could easily forget all about these federal holidays if given the opportunity and I find their actual historicity all but ignored in favor of doe-eyed revisionism with an emphasis on fantastical feel-good schlock. Hey, Merry effin Christmas, y'all! So, why the hell did I subject to myself the Christmas-themed anthology, Hark! The Herald Angels Scream? Well, two reasons. First, Christopher Golden put this sucker together and I dig the guy. I like his work, and following him on social media I've found him to be a stand-up dude, just an all around good human being. That's a pretty good combination right there. Second, this is a horror anthology, which is a spin on all this yuletide dreck that I greatly appreciate. I mean, good lord, look at that cover! How could I not want to read this? I'll take fare like Black Christmas, Gremlins, or Batman Returns over so-called Christmas classics like It's A Wonderful Life or the insufferably dreadful A Christmas Story, so Santa taking off his face to reveal a Crypt Keeper-like visage is 1000% up my alley. I want blood on the snow, damnit, holiday trees decorated in guts, not garlands. Used to be, you see, that Christmas was a pagan tradition called Yule, which celebrated the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year. Like Halloween, it was believed that the veil separating the living from the dead was as its thinnest, and for a good long while we humans used to actually celebrate the day with ghost stories. We thought a lot about death, our lost loved ones, and looked ahead to the rebirth of spring and summer, decorating homes with branches of evergreen, all the while eating and drinking A LOT. But then the Puritans had to come along and screw up everything, and eventually the day just became a giant crass celebration of commercialism and capitalism with dashes of religious gobbledygook and nuttery that absorbed far older ways and had the pretension to claim they'd invented it. This is a fun review, right? Anyway. Hark! The Herald Angels Scream intrigued me because it looked like Golden and his merry band of elves writers were going to Make Christmas Scary Again! And for the most part, they succeeded!, which makes me happy. I found myself enjoying a good deal of the eighteen stories collected herein, each of which tell a solid horror story with some degree of Christmas backdrop. We get ghosts and witches, groups of people driven to mass suicide, psychotic murderers, and killer toys. All the things that make Christmas worth a damn. I won't go into every single story, but I will highlight here a few I greatly enjoyed. Kelly Armstrong kicks off the anthology with "Absinthe & Angels", establishing the tone readers should expect in the stories to follow, which is to say there's plenty of darkness ahead. I dug her take on the Christmas retreat to a cabin in the woods. Santa isn't able to find the couple there, but thankfully some other wicked forces lurking in the forest make their presence known. Jeff Strand's "Good Deeds" ... Sweet Baby Jesus, what do I even say about this one. It's Jeff Strand, for starters. His protagonist here has to be one of the most clueless narcissists I've read in recent memory, and I freaking loved it. If this ever gets adapted as a short flick, I demand Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) play this dimwit. After an indulgent and uncharacteristic display of seasonally-motivated kindness, the dude just has to let the world know how amazing and caring he is, so he writes a song. You know what they say about the road to hell being paved with good intentions? That's what this is, and it's pretty damn glorious. Golden typically doesn't like to include his own stories in anthologies he's editing, but I'm glad he made an exception here. "It's A Wonderful Knife" revolves around a Hollywood elite and his collection of dark movie props, like the gun that killed Brandon Crow during the filming of The Crow. Golden puts a neat little spin on things, and even though the story itself isn't exactly surprising it is awfully neat. I dug it. "Home" by Tim Lebbon is a cool post-apocalyptic story. Of this, I will say no more. John McIlveen's "Yankee Swap" also gets some points for sheer cool factor in a Saw's Very Merry Christmas kind of story. A group of strangers have been kidnapped by a psycho decked out like Santa and are forced to unwrap a variety of deadly presents. Michael Koryta was one of the few authors in this anthology that I hadn't read before, and it's works like this that really help to remind me why anthologies can be so damn rewarding. Kortya's been on my radar for a good long while, but I just hadn't been able to squeeze in one of his books. That damn sure is gonna change soon. I freaking loved Kortya's voice here, and his authorial style captured me and dragged me into this story straight off the bat. Our protagonist is set on hiking the Appalachian Trail, and when he encounters some strangers on the beaten path, they swap stories. Local legend has it, there's a ghost wandering the Trail, an old woman who stops for nothing and just keeps on walking, and walking, and walking. 'Tis the season she was spotted again, and, incidentally enough, not too long after the remains of a lost hitchhiker are mysteriously discovered in the woods. Hark! The Herald Angels Scream is a well crafted anthology, its various pieces organized and balanced against one another quite nicely, and I found it to have more hits than misses. I wasn't quite ready to yell Yippie-Ki-Yay, motherfucker! at the end of it all, but there were a few times I got awfully close. And if, by chance, the Ghost of Christmas Future sees Golden and his publisher delivering us another slay ride chock full of serial killer Santas and Krampus coolness, I'm certainly game to hop on board. [Note: I received an advance reading copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley.]

  19. 4 out of 5

    Holly (The Grimdragon)

    “Snow is falling and Agnes is sure she can hear it whisper through the air and land with the softest of sighs on tree branches, cars, outdoor furniture, and on the layer of flakes already deposited on the ground. She loves how it looks, loves that there is a season that can be relied upon. Christmas in Salem will always be white.” Hark! The Herald Angels Scream is a collection of 18 stories centered around two of my absolute favorite things – Christmas and horror! Can we just take a moment to appr “Snow is falling and Agnes is sure she can hear it whisper through the air and land with the softest of sighs on tree branches, cars, outdoor furniture, and on the layer of flakes already deposited on the ground. She loves how it looks, loves that there is a season that can be relied upon. Christmas in Salem will always be white.” Hark! The Herald Angels Scream is a collection of 18 stories centered around two of my absolute favorite things – Christmas and horror! Can we just take a moment to appreciate that radical cover?! What a fucking throwback. I LOVE IT! There’s something about horror anthologies, y’know? This nostalgia that cocoons itself comfortably around me like a burrito blanket. Before Goodreads, Bookstagram, Twitter.. there were anthologies. I was never a big fan of short stories, with one exception. Horror. Horror anthologies were where I discovered new (and old) authors in the genre. Horror seems to suit the short story format better than any other. Unfortunately, this anthology was such a missed opportunity to not feature more diversity, especially within such a large collection. There isn’t any excuse not to ensure a diverse selection (with LGBTQIAP+, marginalized voices, POC, gender diversity) that reflects the world today. There are solid writers in this collection, including the elusive Scott Smith! I was already a big fan of Lansdale, McGuire and Armstrong so it was no surprise that their stories ended up being some of my favorites! However, the two standouts for me are from Angela Slatter and John McIlveen. Slatter’s writing reminded me of the glorious Margaret Atwood, which is a massive compliment. Her introduction in the Suspended in Dusk II anthology first drew me to her style and this only cements the fact that I need some more of her writing in my life! McIlveen’s story was along the same vein as a hostage slasher like Saw and Hostel. I dug the hell out of it! My favorites were: Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow – Seanan McGuire It’s a Wonderful Knife – Christopher Golden Mistletoe and Holly – James A. Moore The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel – Joe R. Lansdale Yankee Swap – John McIlveen Honor Thy Mother – Angela Slatter Ultimately, this was a mixed bag of good, bad and filler. (Thanks to Anchor Books for sending me a copy before the release date in exchange for an honest review!)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cassie Lola (holo.reader)

    Review link: https://letsgetgalactic.com/2018/12/2... First things first: I actually started this book back in October, when NetGalley and Anchor Publishing sent me an e-copy in exchange for an honest review (thank you!). When it was announced later that it’d be featured in a Night Worms book box, I knew I had to sign up and grab a physical copy as well! Christmas horror is my #1 favorite genre of anything – from books to movies to art, if it’s creepy and Christmas-y, I’ll probably love it. When I Review link: https://letsgetgalactic.com/2018/12/2... First things first: I actually started this book back in October, when NetGalley and Anchor Publishing sent me an e-copy in exchange for an honest review (thank you!). When it was announced later that it’d be featured in a Night Worms book box, I knew I had to sign up and grab a physical copy as well! Christmas horror is my #1 favorite genre of anything – from books to movies to art, if it’s creepy and Christmas-y, I’ll probably love it. When I first saw HARK! being advertised, I immediately marked it down as something I knew I’d eventually have to own, even if just for the amazing cover art alone! Luckily, this anthology is stellar, and I was super happy with almost every story! I’ve been a longtime fan of some of the contributors, including Christopher Golden himself, who edited this nice little collection. I was thrilled that the collection included stories from both women and men, and absolutely loved the way the different author’s voices created such varied horrors throughout. There are 18 stories in all – some longer, some shorter than the others – and out of all of them, I’d say only maybe 2 rated at less than a 3 for me – which is awesome! While the entire collection centers around the central theme of Christmas, the stories are all extremely different and unique. I’ve included a short list of the stories I’ve rated 4 or 5 stars – although, again, even the ones with ratings lower than that had things I enjoyed, and I’d definitely recommend the collection as a whole! For a list of my favorite stories, check out my blog post! 💖 Overall, this anthology is one I’ll be revisiting again and again, and it definitely did its job to put me in the Christmas spirit! I’m excited to read more by the authors I hadn’t yet become familiar with, and am pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed by any of my existing favs’ contributions here!

  21. 4 out of 5

    John J Questore

    As many who follow me know, I LOVE horror. What you may not know is that I also LOVE Christmas. Yes, I’m the one playing Christmas music right after Halloween (although, you should check out Midnight Syndicate’s CD “Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering” for a nice mix of both). Sadly, there are few authors willing to combine the two; I guess after Dickens, most thought they couldn’t compete. Because of that, any time I see a collection like “Hark! The Herald Angels Scream”, I immediately jump at the ch As many who follow me know, I LOVE horror. What you may not know is that I also LOVE Christmas. Yes, I’m the one playing Christmas music right after Halloween (although, you should check out Midnight Syndicate’s CD “Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering” for a nice mix of both). Sadly, there are few authors willing to combine the two; I guess after Dickens, most thought they couldn’t compete. Because of that, any time I see a collection like “Hark! The Herald Angels Scream”, I immediately jump at the chance to read it. However, when I found out that Josh Malerman wrote a story for this anthology, I immediately logged into NetGalley to request a review copy – and thankfully, my request was granted. Let me start by saying that this anthology is HUGE! While one or two may have missed the mark, for the most part, this was an extremely enjoyable read. ABSINTHE & ANGELS – Kelley Armstrong: This one will have you guessing until the very end. Mix caroling with trick or treating, along with some absinthe, and you’ll go crazy. 4/5 CHRISTMAS IN BARCELONA – Scott Smith: As a child, I was told an urban legend – at midnight on Christmas Eve, all your toys come to life. If you ever find yourself lost in Barcelona on Christmas, be careful of the old lady selling (what appear to be) animatronic toys. 4/5 FRESH AS THE NEW-FALLEN SNOW – Seanan McGuire: Be careful how you treat your kids, and be sure to check out your babysitter thoroughly. You never know who’s watching. 3/5 LOVE ME – Thomas E. Sniegoski: Reading this one, I got a GREMLINS vibe; but in a good way. 5/5 NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS – Sarah Lotz: This story was scary in that it may come to fruition. There’s these new pets, called Gens – extremely lifelike robots. What happens when their software gets hacked? You may not want to know. 5/5 TENETS – Josh Malerman: It’s no secret that this story was the sole reason for me requesting this anthology – and Josh didn’t let me down. There are some things that you just can’t escape – like the cult that Michael belonged to. Don’t answer the door if you have a stranger show up at your Christmas party. 5/5 GOOD DEEDS – Jeff Strand: This was my favorite of the group (sorry Josh). Jeff wrote an interesting take on the song “Christmas Shoes”. This story was hysterical in a very dark way. 5/5 IT’S A WONDERFUL KNIFE – Christopher Golden: seeing how the Capra film is my perennial go-to, this story struck a chord. Christopher writes a story about a stabbing on set, and the curse that the knife has. 5/5 MISTLETOE AND HOLLY – James A. Moore: I don’t even know how to describe this story. The twists and turns had me guessing all throughout. Just a word of caution, don’t steal your sister’s boyfriend, and especially don’t marry him! 5/5 SNAKE’S TAIL – Sarah Langan: I truly didn’t get this one. Children start disappearing, mysteriously. 2/5 THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE CHRISTMAS HOTEL – Joe R. Lansdale: Joe wrote a classic ghost story. Creepy, atmospheric, and enjoyable. 5/5 FARROW STREET – Elizabeth Hand: This story started out to be a favorite. Elizabeth started writing a great Christmas story in London, almost like a modern Dickens tale. Her descriptive writing made you feel like you are actually there. However, the ending was just too bizarre; and didn’t match the beginning of the story. 3/5 (could have been 5/5) DOCTORY VELOCITY – Jonathan Maberry: The story was interesting, but the style was plain weird. I didn’t understand if the main characters where humans, or something else. It was very esoteric, and not my favorite. 2/5 YANKEE SWAP - John M. McIlveen: Take the movie SAW and revolve it around Christmas, but with a very interesting twist. 5/5 HONOR THY MOTHER – Angela Slatter: Wow! Didn’t see that coming. How well do you know the people in your family? Make sure you honor your Mother, or you’ll find out she’s not who you thought she was. 4/5 HOME – Tim Lebbon: A bizarre take on the Santa legend; or is it? Follow an old man in a red coat dragging what appears to be a dead body through a barren, snow covered, landscape. 3/5 HIKING THROUGH – Micheal Koryta: Take “The Blair Witch Project” and hiking the Appalacian Trail, and you have a weird, frightening tale. I have two friends that have hiked the AP, and will be sure to have them read this when the book is released. They may not want to finish the trail. THE HANGMAN’S BRIDE – Sarah Pinborough: This story truly was a gem. A perfect way to end a great anthology. I am a sucker for Japanese horror, they truly know how to create a frightening ghost story. Sarah builds a wonderful love story around the legend of a Japanese spirit. Greed, insanity, death, and legacy – it’s all here. I could actually see this developed into a movie. 5/5 All in all, this was one of the most enjoyable reads (combining horror and Christmas) that I have seen in a long time. Christopher Golden did an excellent job of gathering some great talent. Pick this one up when it’s released.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Crowinator

    Read: Absinthe & Angels by Kelley Armstrong. I had never heard of mummers before but now I am terrified of them. Loved this story. Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith. The ending saved this story, even though I saw it coming. It's a perfect example of a horrible-seeming couple getting their just desserts. Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow by Seanan McGuire. I love her writing but this story was a miss for me. A little too moralistic. Love Me by Thomas E. Sniegoski. I've read a couple of books by Read: Absinthe & Angels by Kelley Armstrong. I had never heard of mummers before but now I am terrified of them. Loved this story. Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith. The ending saved this story, even though I saw it coming. It's a perfect example of a horrible-seeming couple getting their just desserts. Fresh as the New-Fallen Snow by Seanan McGuire. I love her writing but this story was a miss for me. A little too moralistic. Love Me by Thomas E. Sniegoski. I've read a couple of books by Sniegoski and he always goes there. Definitely took a break after that ending. (view spoiler)[Not sure why the baby getting killed in the earlier Scott Smith story didn't bother me while this one did, though. (hide spoiler)] All four of those stories really hinge on the shocking endings, especially the last line or two. That's a thing I love about horror short stories. Not Just for Christmas by Sarah Lotz. Satire? I think so. Still, I think this could be happening in a few years. It reminds me of an episode of Black Mirror. This is a good example of a horror story that isn't scary but is instead disturbing and thought-provoking. Tenets by Josh Malerman. I just...didn't get it. The set-up was like the movie The Invitation, but then...I don't know what happened. Please someone explain the ending to me. Good Deeds by Jeff Strand. The best story in the anthology so far, hands down. A self-absorbed regular Joe does a reluctant "good deed", then congratulates himself for it until his self-importance balloons and takes on a destructive power all its own. It's a Wonderful Knife by Christopher Golden. A Christmas Hollywood revenge story based around a great pun. Mistletoe and Holly by James A. Moore. This creepy story made me uncomfortable in its unfairness. I suppose that is a success? I didn't really like it, though it's well-written. Snake’s Tail by Sarah Langan. I love Sarah Langan. I need to read this again and process it before I can write anything, aside from saying that I love stories that make me think but also creep me out at the same time. This had that Lovecraftian vibe I enjoy. The Second Floor of the Christmas Hotel by Joe R. Lansdale. A classic ghost story that reminded me a little of Peter Straub's A Ghost Story. Farrow Street by Elizabeth Hand. Doctor Velocity: A Story of the Fire Zone by Jonathan Maberry. It kind of sounds like the artist got exactly what he wanted. Am I supposed to be horrified? Maybe this was a happy ending? If anything, I was horrified by his self-pitying "I must be tortured to create" philosophy. Yankee Swap by John M. McIlveen. I feel that the takeaway from this story is that men suck, but the women who help them suck worse? Honor Thy Mother by Angela Slatter. Home by Tim Lebbon. I've had a soft spot for Lebbon since I read The Island and this was weird enough to be captivating but not so weird that it completely shut me out (though it was close). Hiking Through by Michael Koryta. A ghostly hiker gets the gift she needed one Christmas Eve. The Hangman’s Bride by Sarah Pinborough

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    A host of authors contribute to a book full of Christmas-themed horror (some tales submerge themselves within the holiday more than others). As one would expect, there's a spectrum of styles presented, ranging from tongue-in-cheek to full-stop thrillers, and all have no qualms about throwing on some gore and viscera should the need arise. Fans of anthologies such as Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside, and Creepshow are going to feel right at home here, and my money's on *you* feeling A host of authors contribute to a book full of Christmas-themed horror (some tales submerge themselves within the holiday more than others). As one would expect, there's a spectrum of styles presented, ranging from tongue-in-cheek to full-stop thrillers, and all have no qualms about throwing on some gore and viscera should the need arise. Fans of anthologies such as Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside, and Creepshow are going to feel right at home here, and my money's on *you* feeling as if you got your money's worth. Each story is a page-turner, of that I can assure you. When all is said and done, I'm making the declaration that this is a book that will inspire new writers to emerge, to grab the minds of readers young and old and cultivate greater love for the genre, to spotlight these authors and ultimately give them a grander venue through which to share their talents, and to serve as further proof that not everything (speaking to horror, in this instance) is a retread and, if it is, there are ways to inject new life into those stories and bring them about in a fresh and frightening new iteration. It's an emphatic recommend from me. If you're a fan of the horror genre, do not miss this book. Thanks to NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday for the advance read. Super grateful. I made notes on each story, which may contain light spoilers, and posted them onto my Tumblr page (link below). I highly suggest going in to the book without any preview, but I realize that some might want to know a little more, and I thoroughly respect that. http://nathanhelton.tumblr.com/post/1...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mommacat

    Review Copy 4.5 stars HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SCREAMS was not your run of the mill Xmas anthology. Rather than a mixed bag of short stories by authors most of us love, what this anthology brought was an incredible treasure trove of enjoyment that I'll be reading again and again. I found two stories that rated better than five stars which offset the two that I hated. Combine those with the couple of four star tales and I decided my final rating was a 1/2 star deduction down to 4.5 stars. Extra kudo Review Copy 4.5 stars HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SCREAMS was not your run of the mill Xmas anthology. Rather than a mixed bag of short stories by authors most of us love, what this anthology brought was an incredible treasure trove of enjoyment that I'll be reading again and again. I found two stories that rated better than five stars which offset the two that I hated. Combine those with the couple of four star tales and I decided my final rating was a 1/2 star deduction down to 4.5 stars. Extra kudos to author Christopher Golden for his excellent job editing this volume. His arrangement of the stories was perfection. Buy this for yourself and buy it for the gift swaps you attend this year. Highly recommended.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    Christopher Golden did an excellent job editing this collection of Christmas horror short stories. This is exactly what I was craving and it filled me with festive holiday cheer. There was only one story that I felt was mediocre, and it was still readable to the end. The rest were all four or five star stories. Usually, short story collections are hit or miss for me, but I was pleasantly surprised that these were consistently good. The story styles reminded me a little of Tales from the Crypt. 10 Christopher Golden did an excellent job editing this collection of Christmas horror short stories. This is exactly what I was craving and it filled me with festive holiday cheer. There was only one story that I felt was mediocre, and it was still readable to the end. The rest were all four or five star stories. Usually, short story collections are hit or miss for me, but I was pleasantly surprised that these were consistently good. The story styles reminded me a little of Tales from the Crypt. 100% I am the audience for this book. If you like horror and Christmas then you might enjoy this one, too.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    HARK! THE HAROLD ANGELS SCREAM is an anthology of eighteen Christmas horror stories from various authors. If you’ve never considered Christmas to be the perfect time to indulge in stories that will creep you out and leave you wondering, this is the perfect book to change your mind! Within these pages are short stories by many authors you have heard of, such as Josh Malerman, Sarah Pinborough, Scott Smith, and many more. However, my favorite part of this book was discovering authors whose works I HARK! THE HAROLD ANGELS SCREAM is an anthology of eighteen Christmas horror stories from various authors. If you’ve never considered Christmas to be the perfect time to indulge in stories that will creep you out and leave you wondering, this is the perfect book to change your mind! Within these pages are short stories by many authors you have heard of, such as Josh Malerman, Sarah Pinborough, Scott Smith, and many more. However, my favorite part of this book was discovering authors whose works I haven’t had the chance to read before. I now have a ridiculously long list of books to add to my TBR by these authors and I’m not one bit mad about it! HARK! is filled with several standout stories, as well as some that fell a bit flat for me. My favorites were: Christmas in Barcelona, The Hangman’s Bride, Yankee Swap, Absinthe & Angels, Not Just for Christmas, and It’s a Wonderful Knife. Each of these stories had an extremely engaging topic to them that really drew me into the plot and committed my interest until the very end. It is incredible to see what authors can do with such a short number of pages! Christopher Golden truly put together a collection of stories that will get you in the perfect, creepy mood that Christmas is usually lacking. A holiday that is generally about being jolly and consuming everything sweet, now has a book that will delight those who enjoy the darker side to things. With a wide range of whimsical, science fiction, macabre, and unsettling, there is something for every reader within the pages of HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SCREAM.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robert Vanneste

    As with all anthologies there is a mix of meh to loved . My favorite was The Hangman's Bride followed by Good Deeds and Christmas In Barcelona . Overall a good easy read .

  28. 4 out of 5

    David

    There were a few gems, most of the stories were lackluster and average. My review can be read here ---> https://wp.me/p5t5Tf-1Hd

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dez Nemec

    I’ve been holding onto this one to read closer to Christmas. What better way to get into the holiday spirit than reading holiday horror stories? Included are 18 stories for those of us that celebrate, but still know that Krampus is running loose so you best be on your best behavior. The Hangman’s Bride by Sarah Pinborough had to have been my favorite of the bunch. It was a solid Victorian-style ghost story, even including the sweet little boy chimneysweep. Tom, as he is currently being called, ha I’ve been holding onto this one to read closer to Christmas. What better way to get into the holiday spirit than reading holiday horror stories? Included are 18 stories for those of us that celebrate, but still know that Krampus is running loose so you best be on your best behavior. The Hangman’s Bride by Sarah Pinborough had to have been my favorite of the bunch. It was a solid Victorian-style ghost story, even including the sweet little boy chimneysweep. Tom, as he is currently being called, has been “adopted” by a man for his chimneysweep business after the boy’s mother dies. The man is enlisted to clean the chimneys of the hangman, and Tom is requested. But poor Tom finds more than just ash and soot in the old chimneys. Good Deeds by Jeff Strand was another one of my favorites. A man is in line at the store and there’s a small dirty child in front of him. The child wants to buy a pair of shoes for his mother, who is dying. The man buys the shoes and feels so good about himself that he writes a song about it to encourage others to be selfless. But the song does not quite have the effect that he was hoping for. Love Me by Thomas E. Sniegoski is about Flynn, a man recently out of jail and desperate to get his family back. After attempting to find a real job, he reverts to his old one – breaking and entering. But things are a little different this time. He can take all he wants, but one thing will be given to him that he can’t give it back. Not Just For Christmas by Sarah Lotz is another story about a man trying to get back his family. This one does it by getting the kids a puppy. But not just any puppy – a Genpet. You can download apps for it, program a name, even make it talk. Unfortunately, Jake is about to learn there are downsides to all technology. Anthologies are always hit or miss, but this was a lot more hits than misses for me. Some really good stuff in there! I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This is it!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ashley (bookishmommy)

    Christmas horror? This is a thing I needed. I was initially drawn to the cover. As soon as I saw it I knew it had to be mine. And I will say the cover is beautiful but this was also a STRONG anthology. I'm not a big anthology lover. Usually I get bored or the stories just aren't strong enough but THIS!! This was so fun. Of the 18 stories, I'd say only about 2 or 3 were duds. My favorites were: Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith, Good Deeds by Jeff Strand, Not Just for Christmas by Sarah Lotz Christmas horror? This is a thing I needed. I was initially drawn to the cover. As soon as I saw it I knew it had to be mine. And I will say the cover is beautiful but this was also a STRONG anthology. I'm not a big anthology lover. Usually I get bored or the stories just aren't strong enough but THIS!! This was so fun. Of the 18 stories, I'd say only about 2 or 3 were duds. My favorites were: Christmas in Barcelona by Scott Smith, Good Deeds by Jeff Strand, Not Just for Christmas by Sarah Lotz and Mistletoe and Holly by James A. Moore.

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