This is the third (and final) anthology of addiction horror edited by Mark Matthews, but my first. I want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this read but that feels so inappropriate given the subject matter. Some stories were horrific; not the jump scare variety, but the type that gets under your skin. Many of the stories will be accompanying me for a while, whether I want them to or not.
You Wait For It, Like It Waits For You by Kealan Patrick Burke
Reality isn’t easily distinguishable for Sean, as the days pass in the room with no door.
“Do you know where you are?”
One Last Blast by S.A. Cosby
Sometimes not even death can stop you from needing a fix.
“I … can … smell it.”
What We Name Our Dead by Cassandra Khaw
Eleanor returns to her childhood home, a place of fear and pain.
Hurt changes you. Hurt stays. Hurt gnaws a nest for itself in the heart and stays burrowed there until you die.
Huddled Masses, Yearning to Breathe Free by John F.D. Taff
Alan Denbrough is a collector. If you have trypophobia, you may want to skip this one.
I don’t hoard so much as … collect. And yes, there’s a distinction.
Through the Looking Glass and Straight Into Hell by Christa Carmen
This rehab offers something different: virtual reality recovery simulation.
“What do you wish it would show you?”
Holding On by Gabino Iglesias
Guillermo needs to get Max and Alondra out of Section C before it’s too late.
In Section C, nothing good ever happens at night.
Buyer’s Remorse by Samantha Kolesnik
Sometimes the punishment fits the crime.
“Everything has a price”
A Solid Black Lighthouse on a Pier in the Cryptic by Josh Malerman
If you draw the attention of a witch in a bar, be prepared for the consequences.
“Drink and you are drunk.”
Singularity by Kathe Koja
We’re in space, but I was fairly lost. I may need to reread this one.
You know you’ve never been wanted the way the dark wants you now.
My Soul’s Bliss by Mark Matthews
We meet two addicts, whose lives had diverged, at a funeral.
Because that’s what happens with certain moments. They imprint themselves on you and you can’t change them. They define you, become the hinge all your decisions swing upon.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began this anthology but out of ten stories, I came away with five favourites, those by Cassandra Khaw, John F.D. Taff, Christa Carmen, Josh Malerman and Mark Matthews.
Now I’m keen to read Garden of Fiends and Lullabies for Suffering.
Content warnings include mention of ableism, addiction, death by suicide, homophobia, mental health, physical abuse, racism and suicidal ideation. Readers with emetophobia, beware.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Wicked Run Press for the opportunity to read this anthology.
Once Upon a Blurb
“My soul’s bliss kills my body, but does not satisfy itself.” – Emily Bronte
Addiction is the perpetual epidemic, where swarms of human moths flutter to the flames of hell. Because that warm blanket of a heroin high, that joyful intoxication of a pint of vodka, that electric energy from a line of cocaine, over time leaves you with a cold loneliness and a bitter heart. Relationships destroyed, bodies deteriorate, loved ones lost, yet the craving continues for that which is killing us – living, as the title suggests, like an Orphan of Bliss.
Welcome to the third and final fix of addiction horror and the follow up to the Shirley Jackson Award Finalist, Lullabies for Suffering. A diverse table of contents brought together for an explosive grand finale – an unflinching look at the insidious nature of addiction, told with searing honesty but compassion for those who suffer.
Table of Contents includes:
Kealan Patrick Burke
John FD Taff
The three Addiction Horror anthologies, Garden of Fiends, Lullabies for Suffering, and Orphans of Bliss, do not have to be read in order and are not sequential.