I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.American Cannibal by Rebecca Rowland, Candace Nola, Jeremy Megargee, V. Castro, Jon Steffens, Owl Goingback, Clint Smith, Elizabeth Massie, EV Knight, Douglas Ford, Gwendolyn Kis, Brian Asman, C.V. Hunt, L. Stephenson, Clay McLeod Chapman, Jeffrey Ford, Bridgett Nelson, Ronald Malfi, Daniel Braum, Holly Rae Garcia, Jeff Strand
Published by Maenad Press on 7 March 2023
Genres: Horror Anthologies, Cannibalism
Format: ARC, eBook
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Those who do not learn from history are doomed to (rep)eat it.
A mother and daughter negotiate the Oregon Trail with grisly results; an elementary teacher watches the carnage of The Challenger explosion spill over into her own classroom. A possible prospector traveling west is drawn to an isolated inn where no one walks away hungry; a 1950s housewife shares the gruesome repertoire of behavior expected of a proper lady. Prohibition and women’s suffrage, the Civil War and the Vietnam War, the JFK assassination conspiracy and the Y2K hysteria: the annals of American history are reimagined with a side order of cannibalism by twenty of the biggest names writing horror fiction today.
Forget what you read in the textbooks.
Everything you were taught about the Land of Liberty is about to be history.
Where do I even begin with the horror anthology that is aptly named, American Cannibal. The title intrigued me, the subgenre of cannibalism hasn’t crossed my path very often – it’s one of those taboo topics that shouldn’t interest you but you can’t help question motives towards eating your own kind. It’s known within the animal world but human nature isn’t wired that way so what makes someone want to taste the forbidden fruit? I didn’t have long to dwell on those thoughts because this anthology instantly pulls back the curtain of cannibalism. Edited by Rebecca Rowland, this anthology has moved up my list of favourite horror anthologies ever,
The writing and editing of this collection is exquisite. Although the subject matter is a constant the ways in which they are written are unique with their own flair for the terrifying on show throughout. I was excited to find some big horror names and some new to me which gave me a taste for their particular flavour. Dark and gritty, each story had the culpability of shattering your world in an instant.
And The Window Was Boarded Shut by Elizabeth Massie had all my senses on overdrive. My body was Intune to the starving women willing themselves to eat but needing their principles to override everything else. The patriarchy is on show once more, a common theme running throughout the anthology. The sexual innuendos, the control, the voice being stamped out. This story had hallmarks of everything I love in horror fiction, heart, emotion and gore.
The Flannigan Cure by EV Knight tackles the tough topic of addiction. Dr Flannigan has been caught previously imbibing alcohol. The laws are such are that of life for a pint. If he gets caught again, he’s done, its game over for him. He’s the doctor for a local gang and is forced into performing surgery on its leader’s son. He’s in no fit state and it ultimately leads to the boy’s death. An arrangement is made where he works at the hospital with his own nurse. He needs to keep his addiction under wraps so he begins to find a weird way to keep it under control but so that he still can have his fix. But what does it have to do with pickled body parts?
Tender Farm by C.V. Hunt was one of my favourite stories. I have a weird fixation on cult stories. A community feeds of mother earth. Everything is natural, their nakedness, their living off the land, sharing sexual partners, they are doing everything that they believe mother earth intended. When two female members invite a male guest into the confines of the commune, and he finds out that nothing is wasted at Tender Farm.
When A Stranger Bites by L. Stephenson is a story that makes me question any stranger that wants to come around my house. What secrets are they keeping, what do they want from me? All I have to say is don’t get in between a blood thirsty stranger and the moon.
Flesh Communion by Holly Rae Garcia is a story that felt real. Like really REAL. Cults are frightening. Its no secret that I love Garcia’s writing style, and this wasn’t any different. Every story she writes pulls you into the darker side of society and Flesh Communion taps into that with a voracious intensity.
Y2K Feast by Jeff Strand gave me whiplash. We’re transported back to 1999 and the threat of the Y2K bug is at the forefront of our minds. Is the world going to shut down and how will everyone survive, what will happen when the food runs out? A man tries to inform his family that they might have to turn to cannibalism to survive. Strand had me hooked with his unique brand of humorous horror.