I’ve been gobbling up quite a few anthologies and magazines featuring short stories so far in 2018. So much so that I became a little bit fatigued reading Dead Bait 4. I went in having never read any of the previous volumes and to be honest, I was expecting (hoping) to get a collection of pulpy monster tales in which doomed expeditions to places such as the Mariana Trench were the order of the day. Instead, I got quite a variety of stories. Some of which I really liked and some of which I forgot as soon as I’d finished reading them.
The best stories for me came from Nate Southard and his end of days story, Where The River Bends. This is one of the shorter stories but I really enjoyed it. It asks the question how would you rather go out? Would you rather be burnt to a crisp or devoured underwater by unseen monsters? Tough choice, I know. This is the final story in the book and a nice way to end things. Weston Ochse, Catfish Gods, is also very good. This short sort of coming of age tale sees two boys fishing for catfish when disaster strikes! The ending to this surprised me and amidst most of the other doom and gloom stories, this one made me smile. C. V. Hunt’s It Came From The Sea is also excellent. A sexed-up story with some truly gross moments and a huge sea serpent! This is exactly what I came here for. Lamprey Luau by Amber Fallon is also good fun. A fine pulpy, silly read it is, and Max Booth III’s Wet Texas is probably the pick of the bunch simply because it is so bizarre. It features people turning into fish….yeah, I know!
I tip the hat also to Matt Serafini and Brendan Vidito who delivered solid gross-out stories. The anthology got off to a slightly sluggish start and it wasn’t until the latter half of the book when the real gems revealed themselves. Of course, you may disagree and that’s fine. They say variety is the spice of life and there is plenty of variety in Dead Bait 4.
3.5/5 lures from the Grim Reader
Pick up a copy from here.