Carnival of Cryptids Anthology by Matt Posner is a horror anthology that captures, as one carnie in the book puts it, the “mystery and majesty of the world”—as well as this reader’s imagination!
The book begins in the first person, with a child of indeterminate age demanding entrance into a dark tent at the back of a circus. The narrator’s entrance into and journey through this strange tent pieces the stories in the anthology together, with each story loosely relating to the tent full of creatures.
From an intrepid reporter investigating a vicious dog attack in a small town, to a land where Squidmen walk, to the depths of a jungle where the scent of an orchid can kill a man, the stories in “Carnival of Cryptids” provides a delightful journey through horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Some of the tales provide straight scares, while a few even pull on the heartstrings (the sadness in a Yeti’s eyes, and one man’s deep love of the sea). And lest things get too heavy, the anthology ends with some bloody humor in “The Paring Knife,” about a reality TV cooking show that’s razor sharp in all the scariest ways. So good!
As a reader, I was moved to moments of fear, suspense, laughter, and even sorrow with this collection, and I absolutely loved how the authors worked in the carnival atmosphere—to me, there’s always something magical and slightly ominous about that environment, and Carnival of Cryptids invokes that same sense of wonder and suspense with its tales of odd creatures that walk the world. An excellent collection!
This gem is out of print now but I am leaving the review for anyone who stumbles upon it and wants to know how fabulous it is!