I used to read a lot of horror, especially Stephen King. I was talking to someone a few weeks ago, someone who has known me for years, and they asked me about the latest Stephen King novel.

I didn’t even know what it was. It made me stop and think about how long it’s been since I’ve read anything in that genre. The answer: a while. A lonnnnng while.

If I wasn’t such a fangirl of Karina Fabian, I probably would have passed on reading Frightliner, a collection of three stories–one by Colleen Drippe’ and two by Karina Fabian. It also includes a chapter of Neeta Lyffe: Zombie Exterminator(I’ll be reviewing that later this week and it is so delightful as to make me read more about zombies. But I digress.)

Once again, as I mentioned in #5 a few weeks ago, I am considering how I’ve limited myself in the speculative fiction area. When it’s “sci fi,” I run because I don’t really like aliens. When it’s “fantasy,” I roll my eyes. When it’s “horror,” I cower, because though I will enjoy it at the time, it will haunt me in ways ugly and unforgettable later. I don’t dispute that there’s a place for these genres, and wow, when they’re done well, all the stereotypes I’ve made in my mind for them shatter, leaving me with what I love the most: a good yarn.

That’s what Frightliner is–a couple of good yarns–and that’s why I’ll be tucking it away to reread. It’s not long, which is why I read it in one night. That, and it was gripping, compelling, and intriguing.

The title comes from the first of the stories, written by Karina and imbued with elements that I can only call Catholic and delightful. I know how ridiculous it sounds to refer to a story that’s full of suspense and vampires as delightful, but…well, it was. I kept waiting to have to put my iPad down, but I didn’t have to. And there were no nightmares later.

(Bit of a spoiler alert coming, though this is pretty vague.)

Here’s what it comes down to, as I ramble on: the evil is evil, but there is no doubt that it is evil, that it is wrong. When the evil is defeated, then, there’s relief, but there’s also a feeling of championing the winner, the winner who should be the winner.

But the way it’s done makes me long for more italics in my post, and maybe even some all-caps. It’s great.

The next story in the book is “The Lobby,” by Colleen, and to call it chilling is to be a bit understated. It requires the reader to think, and wow, I so love that. I’m still thinking about it. Good stuff.

The stories wrap up with “Accidental Undeath,” and is it just me or could this be slightly changed and be oh-so-relevant today? I hate writing with spoilers, so I won’t say much. This is a story that flirts with “what if?” and “how would you handle it?” in a way that feels not-so-fictional.

My one line summary: I loved it. Buy it, read it, let me know what you think of it. Highly, HIGHLY recommended.