I really enjoyed that many of the stories focused on female protagonists overcoming almost impossible odds. This anthology was not just story after story of deranged male killers, it was interspersed with women who weren't afraid to kill (for survival or pleasure). This book had something for every horror fan; ghosts, zombies, serial killers, beasts, demons, monsters, and even death itself.
The story that clings to me, days after finishing the collection, is In The Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan. A twisted and sinister homage to Alice in Wonderland (both novel and film), especially referencing the March Hare. We are introduced to our young heroine at age 7, a wild girl with little supervision and no friends. She finds a clearing in the woods and creates her own tea party, soon to find out it is inhabited by a monstrous hare (with the furry body of a man and the head of a rabbit). It jumps between her 7th and 17th year, on the cusp of her birthdays. We learn, at 17, that she survived a traumatic event, a horrific tableau, at age 8 (involving some girls on her street who where mean to her at her birthday party, her clearing, and the march hare). From there we fall down the rabbit hole, as the story becomes clearer and clearer, and by the end we are entranced, gagging and defeated by the atrocities that have occurred. How can we now trust the protagonist?
Many of the short stories have fun turning the readers on our heads, causing us to second guess our loyalty to the narrator, our conclusions, our assumptions, and our overall understanding of the horror genre. As these short tales have shown, there are several ways to breathe new life into an old tale.