by J. Ashley-Smith

Meerkat Press
2023, 187 pages, $17.95

ISBN 9781946154774

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THE MEASURE OF SORROW owes a lot to the Charles Grant-type of quiet horror, such as Grant’s SHADOWS series of anthologies. This single-author collection showcases these best tales: “The Further Shore.” Renault is stranded in a sort of oceanside purgatory, living in a place where food appears in the fridge, from nowhere, and his colleagues come and forever disappear. Where IS Renault? What is his purpose in life in the “in-between” place or wherever he believes he lives? “Old Growth.” A family’s car excursion to Greenville’s fire-damaged forest leads to its own horror story. “The WhatNot Shop.” A strip-mall store that appeared out of nowhere is probably from nowhere, and nobody knows what’s inside or what it sells. “Our Last Meal.” A camping trip turns awkward when a man discovers a leech attached to him. Horrors begin oh so quietly for him, including one of being eaten alive. “The Face God Gave.” A mother and her family are traveling by jet when there is an explosive    decompression, and survival depends on what the oxygen masks do to you. The title story tells of a man and his son, who visit an isolated farm cottage, while mourning the death of the man’s wife and son. The cottage can produce ghosts of the man’s past and of those the farmhouse is connected to.