Saturday, January 29, 2011

Top 5: The Toll Collectors by Chris F. Holm

The Toll Collectors by Chris F. Holm in 8 Pounds

The Toll Collectors is Mr. Holm at the height of his talents. First published at Beat to a Pulp last year, this story starts out with hit man Ray McDaniel driving along the interstate, calmly reflecting on his career as a hit man.

Until the ghost of one of his victims plants herself in the middle of the road and he crashes his car.

Ray doesn't want to call attention to himself by calling the cops, so he decides to walk away from the accident down the abandoned toll road. But on that road are a few old souls that he'd rather not see...

I love cross-genre stuff and this is the perfect blend of crime and horror. It's also my favorite story in Holm's brilliant collection, which by the way, is only 99 cents.


  1. That is such an awesome, creepy tale. I'm glad you spotlighted it, Chris. Mr. Holm delivers time and time again.

  2. Chris,

    Wow. Thanks. Sometime, over a beer, I'll tell you the ridiculously circuitous route "The Toll Collectors" took to publication. (Teaser: it involves two acceptances, a sleazy huckster of an editor using an assumed name, a publication closing, a second round of submissions, and the beginning of one hell of a creative partnership with a certain Mr. Cranmer.)

    Oh, and as an aside, that stretch of road really exists. Google "abandoned Pennsylvania turnpike" sometime, and you'll see why once I stumbled across the pictures, I couldn't not write that story. Oh, and one of the tunnels is named Ray's Hill Tunnel. Just sayin'.

  3. Great story, but only one among many equals in the book. Seven Days Of Rain, A Better Life, The Well . . . it goes on. Each as good as the one before. Each one different from the rest.But . . . NINTY-NINE CENTS? YOU GOTTA BE KIDDIN' ME! JUMP! NOW! BUY THAT FUCKER!
    You can thank me later.

  4. Hmm, add AJ to the list of folks to whom I owe a beer...

  5. Yeah, a brilliant story and a beuat of a collection.

  6. still only 99 cents. pick it up soon as you can. top choice.