Collaborations in Darkness

Chiral Mad 4 edited by Michael Bailey and Lucy A. Snyder

Book Review by Mindi Snyder

Apparently I need more anthologies with collaborations because this book is one of my favorite anthologies I’ve read this year.

chiralmad4The premise is simple. 4 short stories, 4 novelettes, 4 novellas, and 4 graphic adaptations, all of which are collaborations between 2 or more writers. And wow, is the list of writers for this one amazing.

The anthology hits the ground running with the fantastic How We Broke by Bracken MacLeod and Paul Michael Anderson. I’m currently reading Anderson’s collection Bones Are Made to Be Broken, and it’s because of that story. I’m so hesitant to reveal anything because this anthology is so good and I think it’s best to read the stories without knowing anything about them. But this one is haunting and heartbreaking. Family secrets can truly eat away at you.

The graphic adaptation of “Fade to Null” by Brian Keene and Daniele Serra is just as much of a gut punch as the story that precedes it. This one is short but just as devastating. And the illustrations are fantastic.

Asperitas by Kristopher Triana and Chad Stroup has a little bit of science fiction mixed in with the horror, and I was glued to the pages as the story unfolded. This one will hit you right in the feels too. This is the third story in the book, and at this point I was convinced the entire anthology was just meant to destroy me.

Golden Sun is a crushing story of a family on vacation at the beach. Each section is written from the perspective of a different family member, and this collaboration is one of my favorites. Kristi DeMeester, Richard Thomas, Damien Angelica Walters, and Michael Wehunt each contribute one of the sections, and while I thought I had figured out who wrote each character, I found out I was totally off. This story is one that I’m still thinking about. I’ll be doing something completely random and the little song from this story will pop into my head. This one is going to stay with me for a long time.



Photo by Mindi Snyder

The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear is such a unique take on the Lovecraft mythos and I absolutely adored it. Everything about this story is a delight for a Lovecraft fan. Every night I go to bed and secretly hope I’ll find some cheshires curled up under my blankets.

Firedance a graphic adaptation by the late Jack Ketchum and illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne is so odd and absolutely enchanting. I love the illustrations for this one. They are so perfect for this story. It’s like a modern day folktale gone mad.

And finally, In Her Flightless Wings, A Fire by Emily B. Cataneo and Gwendolyn Kiste is the perfect closing piece for this fantastic anthology of collaborations. Two sisters have a strange connection. One is a ballerina, the other a costume designer. When a man tries to control the sisters, at first they relent, knowing that to say no would be the end of their careers. But the sisters are eventually pushed too far.

You need this anthology. I’m so glad my friend Sadie told me to buy this one. She always knows exactly what I will love, and she’s never, ever wrong.


mindibiopicMindi Snyder is a Bookstagrammer and book reviewer. When she isn’t spending time with her 3 parrots, she’s lost in a book. Mindi loves horror, gluten free beer, and watching Marvel movies with her husband.

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