Relentlessly paced and brilliantly crafted, this unsettling collection of stories is compulsively readable…
Hanson brings forth the “unsettling” in this collection of ten stories which range from monstrous paranoia to grim fantasy to nightmarish horror. The book opens with “Light Sleeper,” a sinister, chilling story about a man who is a light sleeper. Hanson’s narrative explodes with quivering tension and menacing terror as the protagonist watches the night unravels shockingly. In the grim and unsettling “The End of Edgar Wren”, Hanson examines the thin line between paranoia and ghastly reality as his protagonist gets entombed deeper and deeper into a world of shocking delusions. The most notable chiller “The Clearing” is incredibly frightening, brutal, and deeply suspenseful. The gory details of the gruesome rampage cause chills in the reader’s heart. Hanson changes genres with “Music from the Gun Room, ” a thrilling action drama in which a sleepover at a friend’s place turns into something sinister. The teens in the story are completely believable and tenderly empathetic in their vulnerability and inner turmoil as Hanson skillfully captures their pain, disquiet, and murderous rage. Grim and disturbing “She was Perfect” leaves the reader chilled to the bone with its forbidding tone and deliberate pacing and evokes unsettling emotions. “Nylah’s Magic” and “Electric Detective”, two of three short screenplays that Hanson wrote during a contest called NYC Midnight are also part of this collection. Meditations on good vs evil, the screenplays draw on the deepest emotions of love, fear, and hope. Another screenplay, “The Red Helping Hand” is frighteningly creepy with its quickly written, short, straight prose. The other notable story “Paris with the Lights turned low” is about a businesswoman on an ominous trip to Paris. Hanson’s characterization shines as he skillfully taps into his characters’ mind, bringing out their deepest emotions of paranoia, fear, rage, integrity, and insanity. The illustrations that accompany the stories are impressive and unsettling. A roller-coaster ride with a tension-filled narrative, the collection is propelled by forbidding air of menace that is both abrupt and devastating. Hanson is as skilled in sketching characters’ emotional entanglements as he is in drawing out scenes of cold-blooded carnage. With its diverse range of stories which includes some extreme chillers and a couple of thrilling action drama, the book will equally please the readers of dark fiction and horror aficionados. Hanson is surely a writer to watch for in the future. Please note, this unsettling collection is not for the fainthearted reader.
by Billy Hanson
PUB DATE October 9, 2018
PRICE $14.61 (USD)