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Book Review: Stitched Lips: An Anthology of Horror from Silenced Voices

Prepare to be disturbed

By Crysta CoburnPublished 3 years ago 3 min read

Tired of the same old thing? So much of what we read is homogenous. Far too often, the people whose voices we need to hear most are silenced by the louder ones of the majority.

STITCHED LIPS pushes back on that. Within these pages, you'll find eleven staggeringly original and well-crafted horror stories, from amazing authors who are People of Color, LGBTQ+ folks, and writers who identify as women.

All profits from this anthology will be donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization whose goal is the advancement of human rights for all people.

October is my favorite month. The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling, the signature smell hangs in the air... I love all of it. And Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. One of the ways I get into the season is through taking in associated media: spooky music, monster movies, and horror stories. You know the drill.

So I was pretty excited when Stitched Lips: An Anthology of Horror from Silenced Voices showed up on my local library's shelves. It seemed like the perfect fit for me. Suits the seasonal theme? Check. Diverse authors? Check. And book sales benefit an amazing charity that I myself also support? Sign me up! (If you have not heard of the Southern Poverty Law Center, you should definitely check them out.)

Not only are the authors of diverse backgrounds, but the stories are as well. There are nine short stories in total. Most are rooted in the "real world" (as we call our collective everyday experience of existing). Some are more fantastical or dystopian. There is even some science fiction. There are existential horrors as well as supernatural. A couple stories are even what I would call stream of consciousness. Some are literal, and some more subtle. Every author expresses being silenced in a different way.

The Wordeaters by R. L. Meza starts us off by throwing us into the middle of the nightmare with no explanation.

Chorus of Whispers by Sarah Hans has dystopian feels in the vein of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.

Jack by Linda Nagle is almost surreal and dreamlike with a surprise ending.

Avocation by Lucy A. Snyder puts itself in conversation with the reader. The ending made me chuckle darkly. Bonus points for actually using the word "bi."

Nil by Mouth by Lee Murray relies on the horror of real life and shines a light on immigrants.

The Toll by Z. Z. Claybourne offers the perspective of the victim and the monster, a monster that is never fully explained.

Aristotle's Lantern by Joanna Koch is another surreal, atmospheric ride.

Bad Green, Quiet Black by Gabino Iglesias is like the beginning of a mid-20th century science fiction/horror that I'd keep watching.

Why We Keep Exploding by Hailey Piper blends the horror of the every day with distortion of the literal.

Artown Correctional Center by Patty Templeton includes an unnamed monster that needs no explanation because this story is about the victims and the survivors.

Tableau Vivant by Michael Paul Gonzalez is more of a slasher with a horrific emphasis on staying silent. This one was probably my favorite. I could see this as an episode on a late night horror show.

Stitched Lips is a short collection of 11 stories less than 150 pages, making it a pretty quick read. It is available for purchase in both paperback and ebook formats. And if you live in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan area, it is available for checkout at both the Ann Arbor District Library and the Ypsilanti District Library. (As of October 2021, it has not hit MeLCat.)

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Thank you for reading! Visit my profile for more book reviews and other articles.

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About the Creator

Crysta Coburn

Crysta K. Coburn has been writing award-winning stories her whole life. She is a journalist, fiction writer, blogger, poet, editor, podcast co-host, and one-time rock lyrics writer.

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    Crysta CoburnWritten by Crysta Coburn

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