City Of Hell Chronicles: Volume One edited by Colin F. Barnes

I hesitate to call this an anthology of short stories because there is only one story in this book. Different chapters are written in different styles and from different points of views by different authors. Yes it is different. Probably the biggest way in which it differs is the authors. I shouldn’t really be surprised to find that a horror anthology has six out of seven female authors, but I was. The style of writing used throughout is harsh and nasty. It leaves you feeling numb and disturbed when you put it down. This is not some girlie horror with a happy ending. If you are at all squeamish or afraid of insects then back slowly away from this book.

The first story sets the scene and has a Lovecraftian (that’s a proper word, I looked it up and everything) feel to it. Certainly the way the invasion starts reminds me of several Cthulhu games I’ve played in. I felt my sanity start to wane at several points whilst reading  this book. It only takes one weak mind with the appropriate skills to open the gateway and let the Great Maurr in.

The first story ends as the Great Maurr rises to claim his throne as God of all the creatures on this world. Unlike a lot of apocalypse stories this one doesn’t just take place in American, but all over the world. I found the different points of view and ways to describe the various insects really refreshing. The medical report of the first bug autopsy was one of my favourite parts and was very well written. I was totally absorbed.

The biggest problem with this book is that I wanted at least another story or two to read. There is a second volume right?

I should add that if you require a happy ending you WILL be upset. Not only is the ending not happy, but you’ll be left with more questions than answers. Colin F. Barnes has put together a great book which is not at all easy to put down and I’m sure it will not be the last.


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