Think back to the time when you had just graduated high school. You had the whole summer to relax, but could you really relax? The excitement and anticipation of your college years loomed at the end of the summer. To be on your own, away from the supervisory eyes of your parents, free to do what you wanted when you wanted to do it, and as long as you kept your grades up and you didn't get busted by the cops, campus security, or the faculty, the next four years were to be the best of your life.
Now imagine arriving at campus on that first day. And all of your worst fears, your darkest nightmares are about to become a reality. That's what you will find in Campus Chills, a collection of thirteen college-themed tales of the supernatural by some of the best writers in the industry.
In Harbinger, Kelley Armstrong enthralls us with the tale of Jenna, a student haunted by the ghost of a naked dead girl. Is the girl a threat or is she trying to warn Jenna of impending danger?
Julie E. Czerneda's The Forever Brotherhood introduces us to Dougie, who feels threatened by the presence of thirteen glassy-eyed Goth students seated at the back of the lecture hall, thirteen students whom nobody ever sees enter or leave the room, but who are always there.
The ghost of a professor obsessed with an authentic leather-bound Shakespearean collection haunts the library in Kimberly Foottit and Mark Leslie's Prospero's Ghost.
In Truth-Poison, James Alan Gardner tells of the discovery a fruit that contains a compound that proves deadly to some, but has the ability to reveal the cosmic truth to others.
Sèphera Girón tells us of one student's attempt to put an end to a string of brutal attacks that have plagued the university and its surrounding area in Can You See the Real Me?
How far would you go to impress a girl? In Michael Kelly's Different Skins, Gary volunteers to spend the night down by Taddle Creek, the haunting grounds of The Lady of the Sticks, just to prove to Carmen he's got a bigger set than his friend Will.
What can a museum's exhibit of a triceratops and the accidental death of a young girl have in common for Ashley? Find out in Nancy Kilpatrick's Sara.
Can the dead reach out to punish the living for their crimes? Or are Shara's symptoms psychological manifestations brought about by the guilt of having murdered her "best" friend. Susie Moloney answers that question for us in Sown.
If you had the chance to go back in time to save the one person you loved most in life, would you do it? What if by opening that window and saving that person, you risked bringing about the end of the world as you know it? Would that change your mind? In Douglas Smith's Radio Nowhere, Liam has that opportunity.
Quite a bit of what goes on at The National Institute of Nanotechnology happens behind locked doors. But something has escaped in Brit Trogen's Red Cage, and it has already killed one person. Kevin made a mistake in his past and it has haunted him. He now has the chance to redeem himself if he can stop the thing from killing again. Or will he be its next victim?
To what extreme would you go to pass a class? In Edo van Belkom's The Sypher, Richard LaPorte, a straight-A student, suddenly finds himself in danger of failing a class and ruining his GPA. Half-joking, a friend who is also in danger of failing the class, points the finger at a fellow student who comes across as being not all that smart but who happens to be acing the class, accusing them of "siphoning" the knowledge from the select few who happen to be failing the class. Even though he is joking, Richard takes it to heart and plans to do something about it.
On a more traditional note, Steve Vernon's Old Spice Love Knot shows the extremes a girl in trouble will go to in order to protect her family from shame, and how love can reach across the distance to protect a loved one from what could be a tragic mistake.
In In Pursuit of Dreams, Carol Weekes shows us that when young man has a strong desire to learn, he can overcome all obstacles, even death, and what it means for the professor responsible for delivering that education.
When I read anthologies, I usually have low expectations, as I tend to find the stories hit or miss. The collected tales are, for the most part, uneven, either leaving me cold or keeping me on the edge of my seat. Rarely have a come across a collection of short stories that have a solid core and remain solid throughout. Campus Chills is one of those rare exceptions, and I applaud Mark Leslie for the choices he made when compiling this anthology. I admit that not all of the stories appealed to me, but they were well written and kept my interest. Not once was I tempted to skip ahead over the balance of a story because it bordered too much on science fiction, which usually tends to bore me, or didn't contain enough of a horror element to suit me. The stories were crafted in a way to keep me reading, and for me, that is a successful story.
Campus Chills is perfect for those nights when you are home alone and the rain is coming down and the night is highlighted by thunder and the occasional flash of lightning. I highly recommend it!