Review: Scared To Death by Anthony Horowitz

Review: Scared To Death by Anthony Horowitz

“Why go digging up the past when all it will give you is dust in the eye?”

Scared To Death is the first Anthony Horowitz book I’ve ever read, which should be impossible because he’s published so many. I’ve been recommended both the Alex Rider series and the Power of Five series, but I’ve never felt compelled to pick up either of them, so when I spotted a short story collection on my library app I thought I would give it a go.

I’ve always enjoyed short story collections, but I often find scary short stories lacking: either they’re utterly predictable, or they aren’t horrifying at all. I was pleasantly surprised that neither of those things was true about Scared To Death, which contains some pleasingly horrifying moments, some gasp-inducing twists and not one story that lets the collection down.

As usual, I’m going to write a little bit about each story and tell you the individual star rating I allocated each of them. With the average rating for the collection being 3.5 stars, it’s a very successful group of gruesome tales.

Bet Your Life (5/5 stars): winning this gameshow is a matter of life-or-death – literally. If you get a question wrong, you’re toast.

You Have Arrived (3/5 stars): trust your instincts, not your stolen satnav.

The Cobra (3/5 stars): try to control your spoilt brat behaviour if you ever meet a snake charmer.

Robo-Nanny (5/5 stars): before you go away on business, make sure to check the settings on your Robo-Nanny.

My Bloody French Exchange (4/5 stars): if you think someone’s a vampire, they probably are. Probably…

sheBay (4/5 stars): when your parents run out of money, you’ll probably be the first thing they’ll try to sell.

Are You Sitting Comfortably? (4/5 stars): sometimes phoning the first mechanic you find in the phone book is inadvisable.

Plugged In (3/5 stars): bad things happen to good people, too.

Power (4/5 stars): Power is the only one of the short stories which I would describe as predictable, but it’s tongue-in-cheek and made me laugh, so it gets forgiven for that.

The J Train (3/5): it’s really important to listen to directions when you’re trying to get the subway for the first time.

Seven Cuts (5/5): a bonus short story, this note from the chairman of Walker Books made me a little bit apprehensive about reviewing this collection. Hopefully Anthony Horowitz won’t think I’ve been too harsh, or you might not be hearing from me again…

If I’d read Scared To Death when I was younger it probably would have given me nightmares, so I’m glad I’m a little bit older than the target audience. Horowitz has a twisted imagination, but most of the unique turns in these tales were unpredictable and I felt utterly delighted by each one.

Have you read any Anthony Horowitz books yet, or are you thinking of starting with Scared To Death like I have?