David Sutton & Stephen Jones (eds.) - Dark Voices # 2: The Pan Book Of Horror (Pan, 1990)
Cover Illustration: Dave Carson
Brian Stableford - Behind The Wheel Tony J. Forder - Gino's Bar And Grille Thomas F. Monteleone - The Pleasure Of Her Company Ramsey Campbell - The Invocation Norman P. Kaufman - Choose! Roy Clifford - Duty John Brunner - Moths Guy N. Smith - The Baby Michael Marshall Smith - The Man Who Drew Cats Adrian Cole - Face To Face Conrad Hill - Southbound Interruption Marcus Gold - The Vulture William F. Nolan - The Halloween Man Cherry Wilder - Alive In Venice Brian Lumley - The Sun, The Sea And The Silent Scream
After the "Best of ..." collection, a brand new start for the series. A much stronger line-up than the Paget books and later Van Thal's.
Brian Stableford - Behind The Wheel; When Andy finds out his wife is fooling around, he follows the other man as he leaves the house and causes him to crash his car. Dragging the corpse from the wreckage, he kicks it around for ten minutes and drives off ... with the mangled car in pursuit.
Tony J. Forder - Gino's Bar And Grille; Larry is through with wife Chloe's constant stream of put downs and he hates that she keeps calling him "Lurch." He drives her and their son out to Gino's, just as his father had all those years ago when Larry's mother became tiresome. Gino keeps a little something out back for the ladies ...
Thomas F. Monteleone - The Pleasure Of Her Company; Stanley Devereaux builds a shrine to his heroine, a dead screen goddess. Harkey promises him something special and Devereaux learns from a newspaper that his idol's grave has been desecrated.
John Brunner - Moths; The Arrieux half-sisters, Chantal and Mathilde. Chantal is beautiful, Mathilde fat, ugly and outcast as was her mother, a reputed witch. When Chantal decides she will wear Mathilde's mother's wedding dress at her own betrothal, her half-sister is given the job of repairing it. Oh dear ...
Roy Clifford - Duty; "Hippies or drop-outs of no account" summon up a demon. Initially disappointed, they even mistake the fiend for a police officer until he assumes a more recognisable appearance.
William F. Nolan - The Halloween Man; ... steals away children's souls and this year he's set his sights on little Katie's. She decides to stay home with her father, but even then she's not safe ...
Conrad Hill - Southbound Interruption; Motorways of the future: an accident, and the human remains are quickly dumped in a pile and carted away in garbage trucks.
Ramsey Campbell - The Invocation: Ted releases the spider-like spirit in the decanter while cursing aloud the maddening antics of his neighbour, Mrs. Cecily Dame. He begins to suffer dreadful nightmares. She wastes away. When Ted returns home from a weekend with student friend Ken, he is attacked in his bed and paralysed by a "dim hump." Looks like he's going the same way as the suspiciously silent Mrs. Dame ...
Cherry Wilder - Alive In Venice: Susie, holidaying with her recently wed brother and his bride, is fascinated by a tapestry depicting a masqued woman luring a young girl toward a palace while her acolytes gloat from a bridge. The older woman is evidently a fifteenth century Contessa "who remained young and beautiful for so long it became embarrassing." Amid accusations of witchcraft, the Contessa draws the young girl into her world ...
Guy N. Smith - The Baby: Dumped by its appalling mother Sharon Quick, it avenges itself by tracking her down and crawling back into her womb. Bloody charming!
Michael Marshall Smith - The Man Who Drew Cats: One day old Tom just blew into Kingstown, stepped into The Hogshead Bar and the locals - unusually for them - took to the quiet fellow straight away. A quiet and private man, he makes his living from the extraordinary paintings he tosses off for tourists and sometimes when the mood takes him, he chalks his more complex designs on the pavement. But when he befriends little Billy and his mom and learns that her nogoodnik drunken husband regularly beats the shit out of them both, he draws something really terrifying.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.