Vices and Virtues: A Horror Anthology – a Review

From weird happenings in the woods to an empathic girl to the Suicide Forest in Japan, these stories are about things such as remembrance, empathy, vanity, lust, etc.

“The Girl Who Died” – A girl who loves animals better than people has pity on an animal that she finds dead in the woods. She decided that this unfortunate creature needs to be buried. But her act of kindness has detrimental effects on her own life.

“I Loved You So Much” – An egg found on a playground has something deadly inside.

“In the Throes” – A young girl can feel the pain of others. This isn’t something where she just knows someone else is in pain, she can literally feel their pain. She tried to hide this from others and believes it is a curse.

“The Compliant” – What a fake kidnapping turned into was so creepy. Did I expect it? Yes, but that didn’t make it any less creepy.

“Constance” – It was her job to help people.

“The Lonely Man” – After landing on Mars, which is thought to be uninhabited, a female astronaut encounters the man who was stranded there many, many years ago. And she believes that she meets God. But is all as it seems?

fishing on the Jersey Shore, pixabay

“Marina” – A summer supposed to be filled with girls, sex, and drinking turns out a lot different for one of the guys. I wasn’t sure where this story was headed at first, but it is one of my favorite stories out of this collection.

“My Time is Very Valuable” – How valuable is your time? Do you use your brain to its fullest potential? What if there was a way to maximize your time and learn easier? Would you take it?

“Birthmarked” – A girl with horrible features has been hidden away her entire life, but one day she decides she has had enough.

“Given Form” – Is it possible for a sculptor, an artist, to take so much pride in their work that they go insane?

“Dammit, Jane” – Wow. Allow yourself to be happy with what you have.

“Heart Full of Love” – Just how much do our organs remember? Think of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. An interesting, horrifying tale.

Aokigahara, Suicide Forest in Japan, wikimedia commons

“Sesshoseki” – Have you heard of Ayokigahara, known as the Suicide Forest? It is located in Japan, and many people go there to kill themselves. A strange religious cult, Japanese culture, and American CIA agents make for an interesting story, one that only gets better as you get deeper into it.

“The Sand Quarry” – Have you ever heard a scary story that you were sure was made up by someone just trying to scare people? A trio of cousins discovers that not all of them are made up; some need to be heeded because they are true.

“Chaucer’s Horses” – An author who dreams a book then writes it is accused of plagiarism.

“Biserka” – Glowing water on below deck on a ship rouses the curiosity of one of the crew.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If you would like to purchase your own copy, I have provided an Amazon link below.

Amazon Link: Vices and Virtues: A Horror Anthology

Recommended Article: Selecting Stories for a Short Story Collection – Guest Post by Ashley Franz Holzmann

imagination and reality,

Favorite Sentences:
She was a solid C student with perfect attendance—not because she attended school every day but because no one noticed when she wasn’t there.

Dave settled into the chair and wondered what secrets his pancreas was whispering about him.

We passed an empty noose, its maker either having abandoned it or rotted from its embrace.

My aunt cursed at Parker for half an hour, using a broader range of colorful language than an enraged thesaurus.

This section of the city held snipers the way a stagnant pond held mosquitoes.

New Words Learned:
anoxia – an abnormally low amount of oxygen in the body tissues; hypoxia

asperous – rough

beleaguer – lay seige to

AyokigaharaAokigahara Suicide Forest

catharsis – the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions

cowling – the removable cover of a vehicle or aircraft engine

gantry – a bridgelike overhead structure with a platform supporting equipment such as a crane, railroad signals, lights, or cameras

introversion – an attitude in which one directs one’s interest to one’s own experiences and feelings rather than to external objects or other persons

luge, wikimedia commons

luge – a small racing sled on which one or two riders lie face up with the feet forward

palpable – able to be touched or felt

pustulated – having small elevations of the skin containing pus

About the Authors:
Ashley Franz Holzmann goes by Ash around his friends. Ashley grew up overseas on Air Force bases. He once bought a 70s VW bus so he could drive it across the country. He married his first love—they were long distance for seven years. He reads poetry constantly; believes experiences define a life, and pursuing art is the purpose behind his existence. Ashley kept all of his Legos growing up and plays with them with his three kids. He’s in the Army. He likes big dogs.

Visit to learn more about Ashley, or to sign up for his mailing list to receive an exclusive and free novella.

His mailing list is also the best way to learn about upcoming projects, exclusive deals, and opportunities for free advanced versions of his work.

Three years in the making, Vices and Virtues has been a labor of love and dedication by everyone involved. Ashley Franz Holzmann brings to us sixteen original stories that touch the undead (“The Girl Who Died” by C.K. Walker), creatures found (“I Loved You So Much” by Christopher Bloodworth), discoveries in space (“The Lonely Man” by Kristopher J. Patten), and Jersey Shore couplings (“Marina” by Rafael Marmol).

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