The five stories - "The Most Dangerous Place," "The Halcyon’s Song," "A Story from the Desert," "Too Soon for Thunder," and "The Cold Country" – deal with similar themes, primarily love, trust, and abandonment, but are clearly separate from each other. On first read, this made the collection a bit difficult to read but was still enjoyable, nonetheless.
My favorite of the collection was "A Story from the Desert" which centered on a young boy who, along with his mother and siblings, leave their abusive father and discover that
being on your own can be very difficult, especially when you must rely on the kindness of strangers.
Also noteworthy was the solid storytelling in "Too Soon for Thunder" which follows the tale of a young woman who chooses to not follow her mother when she moves away and instead decides make her own way in the world, takes a job as a waitress, and is forced to move in with a man who eventually steals from her. She chooses to leave him behind to return to her mother and then returns to her old life as a waitress, only to find that her previous life doesn’t seem to have existed.
What makes the anthology worth checking out is the variety of artists Montgomery uses to weave his tales. They are all very talented and do a really good job of speaking for the storyteller when words fail. Montgomery uses James Giar, primarily an indie artist, for three ("Most Dangerous Place," "Halcyon," and "Cold Country") of the stories, and his character faces are really a highlight in all three.
The other two are drawn by Lars Kramhoft ("Desert") and Wendell Cavalcanti ("Thunder") who both utilize the old pulp style and really do a solid job of moving the stories along with their art. Kramhoft, a Danish artist known for his horror works, is especially strong at making the art fit the story. Brazilian artist Cavalcanti has worked on a number of Image titles, including the well received Black Acre.
Make no mistake, this is a dark anthology and may leave you looking for a laugh. But, it is worth a look for the stories alone.