cover image The Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 4

The Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 4

Edited by Ellen Datlow. Night Shade (, $15.99 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-1-59780-399-1

The 18 scary stories that Datlow (Supernatural Noir) has selected as the best of 2011 hint at even worse horrors lurking beyond the fringes of their narratives. In “The Little Green God of Agony,” Stephen King profiles an exorcist and faith healer who purports to give physical form to pain. In “Final Girl Theory,” A.C. Wise tells of a cult horror film that triggers a grim collective fantasy in the minds of its viewers. Peter Straub’s “The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine” achieves a Twilight Zone type of unease through disorienting shifts of time and place. In “The Show,” Priya Sharma works a creepy variation on the classic horror theme of the “sham” spirit medium whose skills prove genuine. The variety of concepts and styles on display, and Datlow’s comprehensive introduction, will please horror readers of all stripes. (May)