Books of the Dead Press is all about quality horror, so you can imagine my joy when founder/editor James Roy Daley handed me a copy of Anything Can Be Dangerous at a gathering this past August, all while mentioning that Matt Hults is an author to watch. Can anything be dangerous, or is this just a husk of a collection?
Anything Can be Dangerous contains four amazing stories, plus a preview to the highly praised novel Husk, by Matt Hults. The stories include:
Anything can be Dangerous ~ the simple things in life can kill.
Through the Valley of Death ~ a dark vampire story that will make you remember fear.
The Finger ~ zombie literature has never been so extraordinary.
Feeding Frenzy ~ lunchtime in a place called Hell.
We begin with the titular piece, Anything Can Be Dangerous. Greg’s life is going very well, having just met a wonderful woman, yet superstitions passed to him by his mother seem to haunt him at every turn. I got the sense that the reader is supposed to fear for Greg’s sanity, as it’s not often that plastic bags attack humanity. Hults creates a frenetic pace for his character, at times perhaps a bit too frenetic as there isn’t much time for suspension of disbelief. A very enjoyable story, yet there are better in this collection.
Feeding Frenzy is next, and offers up a very unique spin on Hell. Two friends conspire to reopen an abandoned roadside restaurant, but their first walk through inspection ends up being their last. This story straddles a line between haunted house and zombie eat-pocalypse quite nicely. The logic used by the protagonists is very solid, and the interactions between protagonists and antagonists are very natural. It’s a quick read, but a very good one.
Hults then takes the reader on a walk Through The Valley Of Death as a family is stranded roadside in the dead of winter, with a snowstorm imminent. The family trudges through the woods with all characters acting as the reader would expect, and Hults takes special care to make the 3 year-old daughter an incredibly sympathetic figure. The antagonists are based on real folklore, and truly had this reader expecting the worst for the antagonists. The final plot twist is enough to make the reader ask for more. A thoroughly enjoyable tale.
Hults saves arguably the best for last, and gives us all The Finger. Jimmy is either a genius or incredibly stupid, depending on the reader’s perspective. What begins as a not-so-simple get rich quick scheme ends up with Jimmy being hunted down by both the law, and the undead. Hults truly lets his creativity flow with this piece, but thankfully not at the expense of plot and believability. A fine end to the completed works contained herein.
The reader is treated to a very (too) short preview of Matt Hults’ debut novel, Husk. Again, my only complaint is that it’s a preview and not the whole book. Wow.
Matt Hults indeed proves that Anything Can Be Dangerous, and that he is a new force in the horror literature world. To pick up your copy of the book, visit the Books of the Dead Store. For more information on Matt Hults, please contact Books of the Dead.