Read This: Georgia Gothic
Georgia Gothic, edited by Peter Alan Salomon, Alex Hofelich, and Vicki Greer, is an anthology that fully embraces its title. Put out by the Atlanta Chapter of the Horror Writers Association, it is filled with the work of chapter members and all the authenticity they bring to the theme. Georgia Gothic’s collected stories and poems provide plenty of ghosts, witches, snakes, and swamps. There is red mud and hot, hot summer weather. There are even a few traditional gothic tales, without anything supernatural but with enough bad blood to make them frightening.
And there is a great deal of reckoning with Georgia’s past.
“Marthasville” by Benji Carr is epistolary noir, with suggestions of Misery and Sorry, Wrong Number.
“And Dark Confound Us Here” by David Powell is a nicely creepy story that blends a haunting with an alternate history.
“All Roads Lead To” by Kelley M Frank is an unexpectedly touching poem about roadkill.
“Dream House” by C.O. Davidson is a surreal ghost story, deeply moving in its exploration of loss. Lovely and sad.
“The Woods Are All I Need” by Vanessa Reid describes, quite literally, the inner workings of an abused young woman
“The Heap of Root and Stone” by Kelley M. Frank brings together the overwhelming forces of kudzu and true believers.
“We All Gotta Eat” by Jessica Nettles has the new pastor’s wife discover just how far from the mainstream their congregation has strayed.
“Cicada Tales” by Kitty Sarkozy is a beautiful, rambling reflection on the powers of the titular insect, with other magics only hinted at. One of my favorites.
“Little Buddy Gus” by Can Wiggins is a sweet, beautiful, vivid tale with echoes of It’s a Good Day, subtle and disturbing backstory, and a startling turn at the end. Another favorite.
“The Old Meadow House” by Persephone Justice is the story of a travelling ghost determined to protect a certain house.
“The Dress Begins to Fade” by Peter Adam Salomon is full of witchcraft and an ageless, trapped soul who just wants to be loved.
“Love Letters From The Devil’s Beard” by Jessica Ann York has more witchcraft, with snakes, Spanish moss, and real, tangible sisterhood. Well done.
“The Dead Line” by David Powell carves a poem from the horror of a notorious Civil War prison camp.
“Ghostwriter Wanted” by D.C. Phillips is an atmospheric, creepy, classic gothic tale.
“MeeMee” by Can Wiggins–her second here–is a tightly told, sharply observed slice of life about the challenges of caring for a difficult, aging relative, with witchcraft. And another favorite.
“Tommy’s Field” by Nathan McCullough is a sweet, sad story of loss and human decency.
“The Body Hidin’ Spot” by Jeff Strand is a pitch-black, funny tale of family traditions and changing times.
“What We Talk About When We Talk About Cooking Country” by Jamie Grimes, Kitty Sarkozy, and Jessica Ann York gives us a cooking podcast that veers far, far off-topic.
“Ghost Child Of The Creek” by Darrell Z. Grizzle is another poem, this one connecting a local legend to very real loss.
“The Girl At Wahuhi Creek” by Marlena Frank is a different kind of ghost story, where the haunting makes its target stronger for it.
“Best Friends Forever” by Dawn Major is the slightly snarky tale of freshman orientation on an accursed college campus.
“Plantation” by Peter Adam Salomon is a prose poem, where an enslaved woman uses the cover of the Civil War to take her revenge.
“Grady’s Plantation” by Tony Sarrechia gives us generational responsibility and supernatural revenge that transcends the wreckage of an old plantation house.
“I Will Not Walk In Darkness” by Jamie Grimes is where good, evil, Jesus, and older gods, all come together in one old man’s decision to do something to help a young woman trapped in a bad relationship. Outstanding.
Georgia Gothic does everything it sets out to do. At turns sly, scary, wistful, and angry, the stories here create a rich and immersive experience. I recommend it highly.