All in Fear (Crabbypatty’s Review)

all-in-fearTitle: All in Fear : A Collection of Six Horror Tales
Author: Steve Berman, K.J Charles, Avon Gale, Roan Parish, Kris Ripper, and J.A. Rock
Publisher: Open Ink Press
Release Date: December 1, 2016
Genre(s): Horror
Page Count: 288
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Horror wears many faces, and its masks can be tantalizing. Some of the top names in queer fiction come together to spin their own versions of horror. Worlds rife with dark beauty and mystery, the familiar becoming terrible, creatures ethereal and alluring—and all bearing the gleam of love. Does hope lie along these grim passages or only doom? It will become clear. All in time—and all in fear.

Six of the top names in queer romance join forces with Open Ink Press to bring you a deliciously unsettling horror anthology slated to release December 1st, 2016. All in Fear will feature chilling new and original stories from KJ Charles, Roan Parrish, Avon Gale, Kris Ripper, J.A. Rock, and Steve Berman. Coinciding with the winter holidays, the anthology will focus on the traditional macabre elements of horror coupled with the possibility for romance.

All in Fear is an anthology of horror stories from six M/M romance writers combining vampires, cannibalism, AI, and serial killers (to mention a few) with the desire for true love. The collection includes:

Company by Roan Parrish – Readers often joke about their “book boyfriends” but what happens when one actually appears to teenager Nick? Having Michel de Ludovigne from “The Face of the Vampire” comics by his side seems like a dream come true … until it becomes a nightmare.

Love Me True by Kris Ripper – Although the odds of hooking up with another non-monogamous bisexual switch were “fucking astronomically low,” boyfriends Jon and Palmer are going strong after almost three years. Seems nothing can stand in the way of true love, except for an unsolved string of murders and the fervent hope that “I could share anything with you, and you’d still love me.”

The Price of Meat by K.J. Charles – Charles creates a Victorian AU with a touch of Sweeney Todd, an insane asylum and a rotting warren of land called a “liberty” – an area “in which the laws don’t hold and the King’s writ doesn’t run.” Add one heroic inspector, a brave young woman and a search for the horrible truth hidden amidst the lawless liberty.

Steve Berman’s His Mouth Will Taste of Chernobyl is set in a New Orleans frat house during pledging. One of the pledges has a mysterious “heirloom silver hip flask, wrapped in butter-soft leather” given to him by his father with the instructions: “The flask will help you make friends. But you are never to drink from it. Ever.”

Legion: A Love Story by Avon Gale – Jason, a young marine, is tasked with monitoring a mysterious life form confined in a reinforced enclosure for eight weeks while the original team of scientists and researchers leave in order to supposedly recuperate from their extended exposure to the being. The story is told in a series of emails, transcripts, diary entries and Reddit/Google searches as Jason begins to wonder if this is some sort of psych experiment, or a more horrifying possibility.

Beauties by J.A. Rock – In a future where computerized intelligence in the form of ABs (Artificial Beings) was initially created for multiple commercial uses, Carnificiality has created a “diverse range of Beauties as sexual partners.” Dr. Lester Usole, who works in Early Years Programming with AB babies to monitor organic brain development, is drawn to AB Beauty Ira and purchases him. But Lester soon begins to wonder: “Was loneliness a reason to create? Why else would you? If you had what you wanted beside you, inside you, all around you—what more would you need?”

All in Fear has some truly frightening selections as well a few stories that, honestly, I’m still not exactly sure what they are about! “Love Me True” seems like a “ripped from the headlines” story, while K.J. Charles’ alternate universe is brilliantly complex and absolutely terrifying. I liked the range of styles in this anthology. Don’t read these stories for romance, but I would recommend this anthology to anyone interested in the uneasy juxtaposition between love and terror!

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of All in Fear: A Collection of Six Horror Tales provided by Open Ink Press in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader