Review by SuzJay
Volume Two of an anthology devoted to revenge in all of its nastiest forms. From a house that isn’t quite what it seems, to a man and his “love muscle.” It is all contained in these blood soaked pages. Sit back and let these twenty two authors take you on a vengeance filled ride straight to man’s darkest desire… the desire to get even. Mercy is unheard of, and tolerance is left in the dust. This book will please the darkest of hearts, and ignite feelings once left unexplored.
Title: Dig Two Graves – An Anthology, Volume II | Author: Various | Publisher: Death’s Head Press | Pub. Date: 9th of July, 2019 | ISBN13: 9781950259137 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Pages: 321 | Content Warning: See below review | Source: Self-Purchase | Unstarred
Dig Two Graves, Vol. 2 Review
I previously reviewed the first volume of Death’s Head Press’s revenge anthology, Dig Two Graves, Vol. 1, so I was excited to dig deep into volume two. This anthology felt even more violent and even more in-your-face than volume one. While I could happily watch John Wick slaughter bad guys for hours, more isn’t always better; sometimes it’s just more.
I’m not easily triggered, but I needed to distance myself from a few of the stories in this collection. In others, some over the top elements didn’t work for me. There were, however, several stories that I really enjoyed, and I appreciated seeing several women authors included. Both volumes together do a thorough exploration of the topic of revenge.
The anthology includes the following stories:
“Catalog” by Wesley Southard
A mysterious catalog gives a father the means to deliver patriotic retribution.
“It Starts with Insects” by Cameron Trost
A budding young scientist plans to extrapolate his experiments to eliminate his mother’s abusive boyfriend.
“Ailurophobia” by Gerri R. Gray
The move into an extreme cat lady’s house, spells catastrophe for a feline-fearing father.
“Father of Lies” by Gary Power
Music promoter Frank may be drunk on success, but he can’t escape his past misdeeds, a binding contract, or a long-forgotten groupie.
“Impact” by Delphine Quinn
The dark web provides a treasure trove of tools for revenge, but a quick pivot and a solid Plan B make all the difference.
“Movie Night” by M Ennenbach
A survivor re-enacts her kidnapping and torture.
“Streaming Murder” by Jack Bantry
After witnessing brutal attacks via streaming video footage, friends attempt to deliver pay back.
“Party Tricks” by Charlotte Platt
Revenge, reckoning, and pest control comes into play at a party.
“The Writer” by Cameron Kirk
A grieving father tells his tale of loss and revenge to a young writer in order to immortalize his murdered wife and daughter.
“Violation” by Mawr Gorshin
When a witch puts groups of young men to the test, failure means karmic retribution.
“Spider Lace” by Susan E. Abramski
A scientist attempts crossbreeding to create a special spider silk, but his research subject has its own agenda.
“Into the Clouds” by Mark Lumby
In an attempt to get closer to the spirit of his dead wife, a man and his son go on a hot air balloon ride to soar close to the heavens.
“Meat” by Lucas Milliron
Vegan chef Trent’s feud with another restaurant owner takes a dark turn.
“What Did You Do to the Children?” by David L Tamarin
A man finds both his soulmate and his destruction in a woman who catches his eye at the movie theater. “I met my angel at a grind house midnight screening of Bloodsucking Freaks in a dirty syringe-filled theatre with cheap torn seats and the smell of decay and vomit.”
“The Maiden of the Triangle” by Lori Tiron-Pandit
Luckily, the maiden’s curse comes with a grace period.
“InPerson” by Pete Mesling
A troubling communication from his ex-wife has Gerald ready to give her a hand.
“Abandoned” by G. Allen Wilbanks
Two buddies hang out in an abandoned house said to be haunted by a woman who’d been brutally murdered there.
“The Tulpa” by Thomas Vaughn
A serial killer’s latest groupie may not be the adoring vixen he’s expecting.
“The Ninja and the Night Sergio ‘ente per ente’” by Palumbo Seymour
In a world where honor and sacrifice are powerful weapons, a woman enlists the help of young ninja to avenge her family.
“Must Be Destroyed” by Duane Bradley
A renegade body part wreaks havoc. This humorous piece reminded me of a vintage King Missile tune.
“For the Love of Shakespeare” by David Owain Hughes
A monstrous tale of sibling rivalry.
“The Pain, the Heat, the Blood” by Betty Rocksteady
After experiencing abuse at the hands of both her father and her partner, a woman learns to love herself and fight back against a new threat.
Note: “What Did You Do to the Children?” is certain to generate a strong reaction in the reader. This story has a ton of disturbing facets, which made me want to wash my brain after reading it. The story does contain some interesting twists, but please reference the trigger warnings before diving in. Similarly, there were a lot of things I liked about “Ailurophobia,” but my cats are my furry children, and I have a hard time reading stories that involve any type violence involving felines.
Of this collection of twenty-two tales of revenge, my favorites are as follows: “Party Tricks” by Charlotte Platt, “For the Love of Shakespeare” by David Owain Hughes, and “The Pain, the Heat, the Blood” by Betty Rocksteady
In “Party Tricks,” a character’s kink is nicely turned into a red flag. The protagonist thinks he’s at the top of the magical food chain, bringing what he thinks is prey to be devoured at a party. The supernatural slant adds a fun element to the story.
The triumph of the protagonist of “The Pain, the Heat, the Blood” is a win for all underdogs. The weird elements of the story meld nicely with the emotion. I really liked the self-acceptance theme.
“For the Love of Shakespeare” is a play on the evil twin trope. One brother, favored by his Shakespeare-loving mother, becomes a burden on his sibling. The twists made this one especially entertaining.
This is anthology features a huge range of stories from the absurdly funny to the weird to the horrific. While I adored some of the stories, others were a complete miss for me. Those who love to push the envelope with their fiction may fall deeply in love with this collection.
Lilyn G is the founder of Sci-Fi & Scary, and leader of the Coolthulhu Crew. She does book and film reviews for both genres the site focuses on. Her tastes run towards creature features, hard science fiction, and lots and lots of action. She also has a soft spot for middle-grade fiction that rears its head frequently.
Though no longer involved with Ladies of Horror Fiction due to other responsibilities and a too-full plate, she was one of the original 4 co-founders.
Feel free to chat her up on Twitter as long as you aren’t hitting her up to review your book.