Cover of Scary Out There, edited by Jonathan Maberry. The face of a white guy who looks like Brenadan Fraiser, covering his face, but you can see his face on his hands

Cover Story: Angry Brendan Fraser
The Best: “Death and Twinkies,” by Zac Brewer; “Danny”, by Josh Malerman
The Worst: “The Doomesday Glass,” by Brenna Yovanoff
The Weird: “Non-player Character,” by Neal Shusterman; “Chlorine-Damaged Hair and Other Pool Hazards,” by Kendare Blake
Bonus Factors: Very Quick Read, Video Games
Break Glass in Case Of: False Courage


Cover Story: Angry Brendan Fraser

This Brendan Fraser is angry! I’m talking School Ties angry.

Scene from 'School Ties.' Brendan Frasier outside in the rain

As for the creepy eyes on the hands thing, it’s been done before.

The Deal:

About twenty scary short stories and poems by various well-known authors. A girl in a post-apocalyptic word rushes to get her mother to the hospital before darkness falls. A kid with an old radio picks up conversations he should not hear. A phantom in the desert flags down a mother and her daughter. Two girls are wracked with survivor guilt.

Unfortunately, many of these stories combine talented writers and the feeling of a rush job. Nearly every one of them read like chapter one of a longer work, with a jump scare tacked on the end.

The Best: “Death and Twinkies,” by Zac Brewer

Jeremy, a miserable, suicidal teen stands on a bridge, ready to end it all. It’s there he meets Death, a smart ass, junk food-loving teen. Death taunts Jeremy, insisting he has nothing to live for. Almost as if Death is trying to goad him into not killing himself…

The Best: “Danny”, by Josh Malerman

A teenage girl answers an ad to babysit a boy named Danny. But when she gets there, she discovers that Danny is much older than the kindergartner she was expecting. And he doesn’t exist. His parents just made him up, and she’s all alone in their house. All alone.

The Worst: “The Doomsday Glass,” by Brenna Yovanoff

A video-gaming geek girl sets out to prove that chicks can rock at gaming. And despite the fact that some boys are trying to drive her out of ‘their’ arena…wait, they kind of succeed. I don’t like the moral of this one.

The Weird: “Non-player Character,” by Neal Shusterman

A boy’s parents have descended so far into a virtual reality video game that he has to take some very extreme measures to get them to safely stop playing. Well, to stop playing at any rate.

The Weird: “Chlorine-Damaged Hair and Other Pool Hazards,” by Kendare Blake

When the hottest guy on the swim team uses Darla the Dog for secret sex and then dumps her, she doesn’t get mad. She just steals some sedatives and surgical equipment, and ‘fixes’ her problem.

 Bonus Factor: Very Quick Read

Most of these stories were under twenty pages, so you can burn through this 400 pages book in a couple of days.

Bonuse Factor: Video Games

Video game controller

Video games are so modern, so safe…we forget that they are kind of an opening into another world, where monsters are real and you could be killed. But they’re just games, right? Right?

Break Glass in Case of: False Courage

While the stories were well-written, none of them were scary (except “Danny”, whew!). If you want to read some horror stories around Halloween, but don’t actually want to have to sleep with the closet light on, this collection is for you.

FTC full Disclosure: I received neither money or trick or treat candy for writing…hello? Hello, is someone there?

Anyway, I received neither money or…


No! No, you’re dead! You died in the third story! Get back! Get back I tell you!


Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.