Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas by Matt M McElroy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is an anthology of horror stories set in present day rural East Texas. For a concept, the authors have been given a setting (which has been fleshed out as part of a table top role playing game) and a collection of story hooks (newspaper clippings that were created as part of the game setting).
The goal of horror is not to scare you out of your wits through the story. The goal of the writing is to draw you in so that you can build in your imagination something that is worthy of fear and shock, and your imagination fills in the gaps.
The stories do this admirably. Because it is a game setting that is fleshed out in several iterations and people using their imaginations, the details of the interactions feel right. You get the sense that the 'normal' inhabitants of East Texas are the practical, hard-nosed people who deal with the life on the terms they were given, which include living in a place where horrors make their appearance. In each story you are drawn in to the people who are in them, who make choices that are believable for their situations, and as the stories end, you realize what comes next (not because it is a shocking story turn, but because your imaginations fill in what the author does not get to).
I have not read much horror, as I'm pretty much turned off by the movie treatments of it. But this book was something I got into. And I would not mind more.
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