Review: Urban Occult(ed Colin F Barnes)

Horror is not my bag, yet. I’m still learning. I know enough to realise I don’t like spatter-gore, or horror that involves detailed explanation of the removal of body parts. Fortunately – for me -  Urban Occult, edited by Colin F Barnes and published by Anachron Press, has no truck with this type of horror.

Urban Occult is focused very much more on what I call (probably erroneously)  psychological horror, or Hitchcockian horror. It’s less blatant, less in your face, and more situational, suggestive.

I won’t pretend that I liked every story. I questioned the inclusion of a couple, and simply didn’t get a couple more, and some I thought were well written, but not particularly horrific. The majority, though, are snappy, compelling, and thought-provoking.

The anthology covers everything from creepy golem-children, through a people eating house, to moving tattoo jigsaw. In fact, Pieces by Julie Travis, for which the latter is the subject, is one of the outstanding stories of the collection. 

Other specific mentions are hereby awarded to James Brogden for The Remover of Obstacles  and The Strange Case of Mrs West and the Dead by Sarah Anne Langton

For me, though, Wonderland by K T Davies was the scream of the crop. Yes – I did mean to just that word. Wonderland skirts the edges of insanity and fantasy, both urban and classic, and kept me up far too late finishing it off.

Whilst I reviewed this anthology in return for an e-book copy provided by the editor, my comments are fair and impartial, Even so, I still recommend this book as a fine read.


  1. Hello Rob, and thanks for your kind words about my story. It's much appreciated.

    1. My pleasure, Julie. Any plans to expand that into a novel? It seems to have the scope. Could be looking at the next 'Weaveworld' there, or maybe 'The Illustrated Woman' :)

    2. It had crossed my mind to do so, or at least to do a second installment at some point. I will give it some serious thought. As a big fan of both the tales you mention, how can I not??

  2. Well, the story is certainly left at a point where a second part - or a novel - could begin and it had crossed my mind to do so. As a huge fan of both the tales you mention, it's something I'll give some serious thought to.