Kirsten Reviews: Wild Justice by Ellen Datlow

, by Kt Clapsadl

Wild Justice by Ellen Datlow
 
WILD JUSTICE, Ellen Datlow's latest anthology (previously published in the U.K. only as LETHAL KISSES) brings you eighteen stories of horror, sex, and revenge, acts of vengeance inspired by slights real and imagined, in the office, at home, in bed. If revenge is an 'eye for an eye', 'sweet', or 'a dish best served cold', you will find all of the variants here.

Authors include: Joyce Carol Oates, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Thomas Tessier, Terry Lamsley, Pat Cadigan, Christopher Fowler, Michael Marshall Smith, Michael Cadnum, and many more. . .

The international release of ebook WILD JUSTICE, edited by Ellen Datlow, and published by Ashe Tree Press collects 18 stories of revenge. One will note that the anthology was previously published in the United Kingdom by Orion Paperbacks in 1996 under the title LETHAL KISSES.

The theme of revenge is carried through each story in different ways, with revenge being delivered for a variety of reasons in a myriad of ways. The stories are a mix of the odd, supernatural, and more mundane. It’s worth noting that with a theme like revenge, things can be something other than what they appear, and a second or third read will reward those interested in nuance. The characters are from many different places and of a wide range of ages. Some are victims of abuse, others have been betrayed in love, and still more are fighting battles against conformity.

‘Anamorphosis’ by Caitlin Kiernan features a character that readers of her work will recognize, and Deacon is once again assisting the police in their investigation of a murder. As usually happens, nothing is as it seems, and the writing is vivid and the plot steeped in the enduring power of history and hoax.

‘Butcher’s Logic‘ by Roberta Lannes is both an excellent, and difficult read. Its protagonist is caught in a seriously unfortunate situation which gets steadily worse until something breaks. The reader is challenged to hold on as the lead character acts based on fear and consequences.

‘Unforgotten’ by Christopher Fowler is one of the most interesting stories, both in terms of style and narrative. There are three sections being juggled, and each has something a little different to offer. London, mystery, history, and architecture are blended together and the result is a well-paced story that will draw one in immediately.

‘A Flock of Pink Flamingos’ by Pat Murphy stands out because it is much lighter in tone than most of the other stories. The main character is faced with obstacles, but it’s the way she cleverly confronts them that makes this so much fun. After reading this readers will embrace lawn ornaments with joyful defiance.

Every story in WILD JUSTICE has something unique to say, and the reader can empathize with struggles depicted herein, as well as reflect on some of the more unpleasant events that take place. It’s an excellent read, and a worthy homage to revenge, in its many forms.

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