Peter Haining, editor,
Great Irish Tales of Horror:
A Treasury of Fear

(Barnes & Noble, 1995)

Great Irish Tales of Horror: A Treasury of Fear is a book that will make you have nightmares. You will want to leave the light on after reading these stories, which run the spectrum from light suspense to heavy horror. If you like the horror genre, this collection is for you.

This book is divided into three main sections: "Lurking Shadows," "Wake Not The Dead" and "To Make the Flesh Creep." Each section contains eight stories. Authors range from the most famous (such as Bram Stoker and George Bernard Shaw) to the unknowns. Stories each have a brief introduction that tells about the author and how the story developed.

I found the introduction to Stoker's "The Man From Shorrox" to be fascinating. It tells how he heard this Irish folktale and created his own version. It was the beginning of his imaginative spin into the dark horrors that led to his classic novel, Dracula.

My favorite story was "Arachnophobia" by Catherine Brophy. Although it is rather predictable, it is a delightful read in the basic tradition of true horror, dealing with a pair of orphaned children, the woman who cares for them, a deadly fear of spiders and some less-than-helpful professional counseling. There is a high level of suspense throughout this story and the counseling sessions will fully engage your imagination -- especially if you have a tiny fear of spiders yourself!

I suggest reading this book on a stormy night while you are alone just before going to bed to get the full effect of the writings! (Be sure to place a flashlight by the bed. You will want it before dawn!)

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 10 May 2003

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