Book review: Sussex Horror Stories – Anthology



As I’ve said numerous times at this here blog, I do love a themed anthology and I was instantly drawn towards this particular one as I am a huge fan of small-town horror stories.

I recently devoured Shadows Over Mainstreet vol 2 and absolutely adored it. SOMS expertly delivered on the small-town atmosphere and added some wonderful H. P. Lovecraft influence to go along with it. In doing so, the editors delivered a collection of stories that freaked me out and left me fearful of turning off the lights. There wasn’t a bad tale inside of the entire book. Similarly with the excellent Imposter Syndrome anthology. Again, this collection of stories blew me away in the way the contributors tackled the subject from such different angles.

Sadly, Sussex Horrors fell a little way short of Shadows Over Mainstreet vol 2 and Imposter Syndrome. The anthology wasn’t a disaster by any means, but it didn’t exactly leave me breathless either. Of the stories I really enjoyed, Furzby Holt by Jonathan Broughton had all the right ingredients with its peculiar locals and a man looking for answers in the wrong town and Mark Cassell’s final entry called Away In A Mangler was a bloody story, and a good one to boot. This story told of strange shop owners and someone badly in need of work. I really enjoyed this, it reminded me of House of a 1000 Corpses (the Rob Zombie movie), particularly towards the end.

It’s a case of different strokes for different folks with anthologies. I could’ve done without The Pensioner Pirates of Marine Parade and a couple of the shorter stories were too short for me to remember anything about them. The first couple of stories were solid enough, but angry birds and spiders?! I’ve read similar tales elsewhere and to me, they came across as being a little too safe. I’d love to read more stories about weird locals, cults, and whatever else goes on behind closed doors.

So far, 2018 has been a great year for anthologies and as a result, I set the bar very high. Sussex Horrors was a case of being solid rather than spectacular. With the market for horror anthologies being so flooded and the fact that I’ve come across some excellent books in recent time I just needed more from this one.

3/5 closed amusement arcades from the Grim Reader.

Pick up a copy from here.




Three Sussex authors … Twelve horror stories.

Take a terrifying journey to a coastline associated with candyfloss and amusement arcades, and see it stripped to the bone.

Whether it’s seagulls that prove to be more than a nuisance, the mysterious inhabitants of a forgotten village, or a fisherman whose Easter eggs are not for consumption, the horrors are always there … and much closer than we care to admit.


Stories include:


Mark Cassell’s

– The Rebirth

– The Commission

– Demon Alcohol

– Away in a Mangler


Jonathan Broughton’s

– The Stealth of Spiders

– You Have One Message

– Furzby Holt

– The Pensioner Pirates of Marine Parade


Rayne Hall’s

– Seagulls

– Normal, Considering the Weather

– Scruples

– Double Rainbows

10 thoughts on “Book review: Sussex Horror Stories – Anthology

  1. Ah, so the length of a story of a story is a factor in whether or not its memorable for you? That’s interesting. Perhaps unusual? It would be interesting to know how many readers find longer stories more memorable than shorter ones, how many remember shorter stories better, and for how many the length isn’t a factor. (I’m just pondering hypothetically… your review has planted this question in my mind now and I’m wondering if anyone has done any research on this.)


    1. As a copywriter and a writer, I think that every word has its own power and energy and we don’t have to use 100 words when we can say it with 10. So, I really enjoy well-written short stories.


  2. The “Seagulls” story is actually quite intriguing precisely because it’s seagulls. Unexpectable terror obviously inspired by Hitchcock’s movie. It’s interesting how an author can make your skin crawl from…seagulls, don’t you think?


  3. The horror effect of reading Rayne Hall’s “Scruples” is still with me. I like to read only one story a day. In the end I want to quantify which tale have the strongest effect on me.


  4. There are levels to this horror business. Sounds like what it takes to leave you breathless would probably haunt some of us for the rest of our lives lol. I appreciate your perspective though and as you said, “Different strokes for different folks.” Do you think that if you had read it before you read the other horror stories that you would have reviewed it differently?


    1. I don’t think so. I’ve read hundreds of anthologies over the years. I didn’t mind Sussex Horrors, but compared to what I’ve read this year already, it didn’t quite measure up. I just felt it was a missed opportunity. The authors maybe could have created a whole mythos around the country, but instead chose to put together a collection of horror stories that mentioned the odd building in Sussex. The horror genre is swamped with anthologies, as a reader, I needed something more.


  5. Thanks for reviewing Sussex Horrors, Grim Reader. Interesting point about the length of the stories. One of my favourite shorts, you probably know it, is a flash fiction piece often attributed to Earnest Hemingway. ‘For Sale. Baby Boots. Never Worn.’
    Thanks for hosting 🙂


  6. I enjoy atmospheric horror. Hearing about this anthology has piqued my interest in Sussex. I’d like to learn more about it now.


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