Our Business is Terror, by various Lansdales Rothdas book review RSS
1.0 Stars

Another Book People purchase, this time of modern mediocre terror tales. The basic formula is similar to M.R. James: each ~30 page scary story has a brief intro and outro, an initial investigation, and a stint of grounded and occasionally brutal action near the middle and end. There's a bit of urban fantasy here, and a lot of hiding behind only moderately effective chalk pentagrams. The stories are not complex or enormously clever, but each story has at least a few moments of sensory description that I liked.

The first half of the collection is written by Joe Landsdale, and while the Joe Landsdale stories were not brilliant they did have a simplicity and straightforwardness that helped make the super-normal action seem more real.. E.g. rather than hyping up how weird it was to have a shadow walk across the dinner table, the author just directly and plainly describes what happens. The second half of the collection had collaborative stories, written in conjunction by Joe Landsdale and his daughter. These stories were not good, mostly because the writing was terrible. A few characteristic examples:

"she was as dedicated to finding her chair as a workhorse is to finding the barn."

"I tried to go to sleep, but lay in the dark, twisting and turning as if the mattress were made of tacs."

These are not good sentences! And they just keep coming, one after another. It doesn't help matters that the main character in these secondary stories is this sort of unpleasant valley girl, while her companion is her toxic and poorly drawn boss. Halfway through the collection I thought that this was going to be a shaky 3-star book, but the collaborative stories dragged the compilation down to a solid 1 star.