First thing's first-if you don't know who these guys are then you, then you haven't done your homework for Horror Fiction 101. Oliveri, Cooper, Keene, and Huyck are the proverbial sparkplugs of the small press, and for good reason. It's apparent in every story that they know when to walk the well-trodden paths and when to leave the trail entirely in search of monsters. Yet there is an intelligence to the horrors in this book that defies the repetetive vampire-ghost-werewolf standbys which continue to be recycled and rehashed by less inventive writers. Where most small press writers would automatically go to their well worn copies of King and Koontz for inspiration, these four draw on a wealth of sources for their ideas that mirrors the depth in their writing. Keene cites a picture he saw in National Geographic as the stimulus for the epic "Earthworm Gods" while Oliveri mentions Nietzsche in his notes on the well-crafted "To Fight With Monsters." As you might imagine, the stories in this book definitely transcend your basic run-of-the-mill horror.
In addition to having depth, this book is simply a lot of fun. It reminds me of a greatest hits collection from my favorite band in that there isn't a bad track in the lot and there's never any desire to skip to the next song. What's more, there's a little something for everybody-from the undead animals in "Wild Kingdom" to the homicidal tattoos in "Dealer's Wheel" to the brutal description of a man getting his comeuppance in "Harvesting Sorrow." There's even a new Brackard's Point story.
The bottom line: if you're going to ride with these Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, make sure you've got a taste for blood, a strong stomach, and a love for the horror genre in all its forms. Definitely recommended.