Title: Dead Letters
Author: Conrad Williams (and others)
Themes: Short stories, Horror, Fiction
Rating: **** 4/5
In 2015, Conrad William’s had the genius idea send a redirected letter, via the Dead Letter Office, to eighteen of the best horror writers in fiction. On receiving the letter, none of the authors knew who it was from, they were told only one thing. Write. And so ‘Dead Letters’ was born.
First of all, I’d like to point out that short stories have never been my type of fiction. I prefer a long book to get stuck into, and a short story always stops just as it’s getting good. This only frustrates me and so I avoid them at all costs. However, this seemed to have something unusual about it. The idea of the dead letters office mixed with the elements of horror is something that really intrigues me, and the things that pass through the post must be very interesting, so I thought, “why not?”
I’m glad I did because some of the stories are particularly brilliant. In all, there are seventeen short stories, by authors such as Joanne Harris, Muriel Gray, Pat Cardigan and
Kirsten Kaschock. Anthologies like this are a great way to sample the work of many different authors, and widen your reading horizons. Granted, not every story was my cup-of-tea, and a few just outright confused me (‘Buyer’s Remorse’ being one of them), but the majority were fantastic!
If horror is not something you’d normally read, then don’t worry, there is nothing really very scary. The horror is more psychological, objects sent in the post moving around on their own, and the characters being led into the unknown.
Some of my top favourite stories were ‘The Hungry Hotel’ by Lisa Tuttle, ‘Over To You’ by Michael Marshall Smith and ‘The Days of Our Lives’ by Adam LG Nevill.Each author takes a totally different approach to the story. For example, a few are set directly in the Dead Letters Office, whilst others begin by receiving something strange in the morning post.
‘Dead Letters’ is definitely a one of a kind anthology, and each story is completely different, so there’s something for everyone’s reading tastes. This brilliant book is out now, and can be purchased here.