"Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" Book Review
Written by Gabino Iglesias
Published by Necon E-Books
Edited by P.D. Cacek and Laura J. Hickman
2017, 234 pages, Fiction
Released on September 12th, 2017
Listen, there are some anthologies you by because you like the authors in them and some you buy because the theme interests you. In the case of Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, those two elements are there, but there is also a third one that almost weights as much as the previous two put together: it is for a good cause. Every cent made from this anthology was, is, and will be donated to the Jimmy Fund supporting the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Okay, so now you’re probably thinking “Yeah, I’m all for charity anthologies, but why should I get this one besides the fact that it was put together for a great cause?” Well, take note of the following reasons:
- The introduction, penned by best-selling horror maestro Christopher Golden, puts everything into perspective while punching you in the heart repeatedly.
- I don’t know of a single family who hasn’t been affected by cancer in some way, and everything we can do to help others fight this horrible disease is something we should do.
- The first story, “Mother and Daughter,” is a gut-punch by none other than the great Jack Ketchum, who recently passed away after battling cancer for years.
- Besides Ketchum, the table of contents reads like the roster of an all-stars horror team: Bracken MacLeod, Izzy Lee, Brian Keene, Christopher Golden, James A. Moore, Tony Tremblay, and many others.
- This thing comes in at 222 pages, bios excluded, and every story here, most of which are reprints, clearly deserves its spot on the table of contents. That means the quality is superb and that there are no throwaway stories even if, as always, some will stick with you for much longer than others.
- Variety! One of the reasons I’m always a tad skeptical about buying themed anthologies is that the narratives can become repetitive. In this anthology, that is not the case. Part of that has to do with the number of reprints and part of it has to do with the fact that all the authors involved have a unique voice. Also, there is plenty of artwork and some poetry to break the monotony of one story followed by another and another and another.
- Another element that makes this a must-read is brevity. Sure, some stories are longer than others, but they are all pretty short. The editors clearly knew they wanted this anthology to move forward despite the numbers of stories, and they pulled it off.
- There is an element of cohesion in here that I wasn’t expecting: childhood fears. Some of the stories, a poem, and a piece of art near the end all touch on childhood fears. I don’t think those fears ever really go away, and reading narratives that push them forward is always a treat.
- The quality of the individuals involved. I know this is one you don’t normally find in reviews, but it applies in this case. I won’t name any names, but I assure you: some of the authors/editors in this book are some of the nicest people you’ll meet at a horror convention (and so was Dallas). That they decided to be a part of this should be a sign of that.
- Go back and read the first one. I could write eleven more, but I’ll always go back to the first one, especially when folks are out there spending $5 on a shitty cup of coffee. If you support indie presses and good causes, this is a must.