Dead Letters: Episodes of Epistolary Horror
Jacob Steven Mohr, ed.
Crystal Lake Publishing (November 27, 2023)
Reviewed by Mario Guslandi

The telltale title of the book says it all. Which, of course, causes a certain repetitiveness in the structure of the included stories, despite the laudable efforts of the authors to produce some original plots. In this respect the editor’s decision to include so many tales ( this is a big anthology featuring twenty-one stories) doesn’t help to avoid, every now and then, a certain degree of boredom.

Needless to add, as in most anthologies, the intrinsic quality of the included material is quite uneven, which leads the reviewer to focus only on the more accomplished tales.

“The Parthas UFO Incident” by TT Madden ia an excellent, unnerving story, a good mix of horror and SF taking place in the Nevada desert, while “PFC Nathalien Hart Has Died” by  G. Nicholas Miranda is an intriguing and unsettling piece featuring a man whose heart keeps stopping without provoking any permanent damage to his owner, who comes and goes from life to death and from death to life.

In the offbeat, vivid “The Night Nurses of Verdun” by Gregg Stewart, set mostly in the French trenches during WWI, a couple of female nurses appear and disappear, haunting the soldiers’ bodies and souls.

“In the Event” by Liam Hogan revolves around a real letter from a dead person, a kind of disturbing testament, the true nature of which will be gradually revealed.

“RE: the hand ( of god)” by JAW McCarthy is a very good, disquieting story where a woman trapped in her office tries to get external help. But nothing is what it seems.