Slice and Dice
Slice and Dice collects four novellas from four big names in independent horror publishing, all focused on the Slasher genre. With an eclectic mix of stories on offer within that wheelhouse, there is a novella here to suit every taste.
Second Chance by Jeff Menapace
This was a strong opening story and is probably the most downbeat of the four. A teenage boy is fighting to gain respect from his abusive father when they find a common interest in slasher movies. The movies prove to be less effective at forming that bond than the real thing, as the pair begin plotting to turn the young man into the ultimate real-life slasher.
While the body count is impressive and the set-ups are very nostalgic for 80s slasher movie fans, the core relationship between father and son is the meat of this story. The father is pure evil and you genuinely feel for his son, who comes across as manipulated and easily led, even sympathetic, despite the fact he is the slasher in the story. This one is a tough act to follow.
The Reckoning by Iain Rob Wright
Iain Rob Wright sets his story fifteen years in the future, where things are familiar yet subtly different. Technology plays a pivotal role as, in 2035, it basically runs peoples lives and the author takes a look at what could happen if that technology turned against them.
The Reckoning reads very much like an episode of ‘Black Mirror’, using technology that at first seems to offer positive changes to people’s lives before the sinister implications of the characters’ reliance on them become more apparent as the story goes on. The setting is unique and effective and this one is a nice change of pace from the typical slasher fare.
Billy’s Blade by William Malmborg
William Malmborg’s story is simultaneously the most ‘traditional’, in terms of the slasher story, introducing two intertwining tales of a local reporter who is attacked by a masked assailant and is perhaps the most graphic story in Slice and Dice. There is a fun role reversal early on, whereby the reporter turns the tables on the wannabe killer, and the story turns into a game of cat and mouse between the two from then on.
Billy’s Blade was perhaps the least original of the four stories, but it does tell a familiar story exceptionally well. Billy was an interesting character to follow, deeply disturbed and unpredictable, whereas Stacy is a kick-ass final girl who is angry as opposed to scared by the killers’ attentions. A solid, entertaining story.
Twentieth Anniversary Screening by Jeff Strand
Jeff Strand’s offering was, by far, my favourite of the collection. This is the most overtly comedic story in the book, but is more serious in tone than a lot of Strand’s work, favouring light touches of black comedy over more overt jokes. The story of an ill-fated screening of an infamous slasher film, told in the form of an online article is a unique take, and it works incredibly well. So well in fact, that I would love to actually watch the fictional film (‘The Roofer’) Strand made up for this story.
Slice and Dice is a consistently excellent collection that offers a wide variety of approaches to a singular sub-genre. Each story stands out compared to the others and every one is an entertaining read in its own right. Highly recommended.
Note: Richard scored this book 4.5 stars but rounded up for the Horror Oasis rating system.
Richard Martin started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatized himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner and an inappropriate amount of books.