Review: 'SNAFU: Hunters' edited by Amanda J. Spedding and Geoff Brown

HuntersSNAFU: Hunters edited by Amanda J. Spedding and Geoff Brown
Cohesion Press (February 2016)
327 pages; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a pessimist. I see an anthology series in its fifth incarnation and I fully expect it not to be as good as its predecessors. I’m overjoyed to say that is not the case with the SNAFU series from Cohesion Press. It’s hard to believe that a little over eighteen months ago the very first SNAFU anthology saw the light of day.

Here’s what I said about the first book…

My expectations were not that high for this anthology. Although I love horror in all its many forms, I’ve never been that big a fan of the military story. Well, I needn’t have worried at all. SNAFU: An Anthology of Military Horror delivers. Every story killed (pun intended).

Each book in the series has taken a slightly different approach to the military horror theme. This time it’s all about hunters, both the hunter and the hunted.

“Apex Predator” by N.X. Sharps & Tim Marquitz – Nick is the Social Media Coordinator and Commissioning Editor for Ragnarok Publications, a book critic and aspiring author. Tim is co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Ragnarok Publications. Tim is also the author of the Demon Squad series and is working on his tenth book in that series. “Apex Predator” is a solid start to this anthology with a group of genetically modified warriors assigned to retire a predecessor gone amok. The story features some well-constructed battle scenes.

“Two Birds” by Evan Dicken – Evan received his M.A. in East Asian History from Ohio State University, after which he spent more than a little time in Japan. He writes whatever he has ideas for: primarily science fiction, horror, and fantasy. “Two Birds” is an entertaining tale steeped in Japanese folklore.

“Non-Zero Sum” by R.P.L. Johnson – Richard was born in Botswana and raised in England. He now lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and two young sons where he works as a structural engineer and part-time writer. “Non-Zero Sum” is a terrific story of a suicide mission with a team being dropped into the after-effects of a nuclear detonation in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. What they discover is truly mind blowing.

“Only Stones in Their Place” by Christine Morgan – Christine works at a psychiatric treatment facility. The long overnights play havoc with her sleep schedule, but they offer her ample time to write on the company clock. So, in a sense, her hourly rate is not too shabby when you think about it. “Only Stones in Their Place” features Vikings, Norse mythology and some very well-written fight scenes.

“That Old Black Magic” by James A. Moore – James is the award winning author of over twenty novels, thrillers, dark fantasy and horror alike, including the Serenity Falls trilogy (featuring his recurring anti-hero, Jonathan Crowley). As a matter of fact, “That Old Black Magic” just happens to feature Jonathon, and is one of my favorites in this collection.

“Ngu’Tinh” by D.F. Schultz – I searched and searched for info on D.F. Shultz and finally gave up.  I’ll just call him the elusive D.F. Schultz. “Ngu’Tinh” is a wonderful tale of demons and dolphins in the Vietnam war.

“Warm Bodies” by Kirsten Cross – Kristen has a story in every book in the SNAFU series. Quite an accomplishment. “Warm Bodies” features a very convincing new breed of vampires called Taints. This is the story of a training exercise for new recruits fighting these monsters and things go horribly wrong.

“The Bani Protocols” by Rose Blackthorn – Rose Blackthorn writes speculative fiction from the high mountain desert of eastern Utah and has had a number of stories appear in some pretty impressive anthologies over the years,  “The Bani Protocols” is a somewhat Lovecratian story featuring other worldly hostiles with a great twist.

“Hungry Eyes” by Seth Skorkowsky – Seth was born beneath the pine trees of East Texas. He’s the author of the Valducan series; an ancient order of knights wages a hidden war against demons, monster, and dark cults. Each Valducan knight is sworn to a holy weapon imbued with a unique power and each has their own story to tell. “Hungry Eyes” is set in this very world and works well as a stand-alone story and serves as a nice introduction to the series.

“The Secret War” by David Amendola – David is another author it’s difficult to find information on, but he has had stories in the odd numbered books in the SNAFU series.  “The Secret War” is an exceedingly violent story of upir, the generic Russian word for bloodsucking monsters such as vampires and ghouls.

“Outbreak” by V.E. Battaglia – Yet another author without much of a presence on the interwebs. “Outbreak” is another of my favorite stories in a book filled with above average tales. I do enjoy a story where the good guys don’t always win.

“Droc-fhola” by Brad C. Hodson – Originally from Knoxville, Tennessee, writer Brad C. Hodson currently hangs his hat in sunny Southern California. He’s done rewriting and script doctoring work on films in every genre, as well as some original projects. His first novel, Darling, is available through Bad Moon Books. “Droc-fhola” is set in the Roman Empire with an elite group of Centurions battling the unknown.

“Bonked” by Patrick Freivald – Author, beekeeper, teacher. I’ve been reading Patrick’s work for several years now. I loved his teenage zombie books, Twice Shy & Special Dead. And his new series featuring Matt Rowley, a commando for the International Council on Augmented Phenomena. “Bonked” is a short story set in the Matt Rowley universe and was just what I needed to tide me over to the next book.

I don’t know that military horror was a thing before the SNAFU series of anthologies, but it’s certainly a thing, now, and I hope they keep on coming.

SNAFU: Hunters is currently available as an e-book from Cohesion Press. If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you can read it at no additional charge and if you’re an Amazon Prime member you can read it for FREE through the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

I highly recommend all of the books in this series.

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