Review (part 4) – Dead Letters: An Anthology edited by Conrad Williams

Posted: July 29, 2016 in Fantasy, Horror
Tags: , , , , , ,

IMG_4281.JPG

Claire Dean’s Is-And is a wonderful example of how well the prompt for this collection can work. Nestled within a fantastical tale of a visit to an un-named island, Dean controls the pace of the creeping undercurrent at play. What begins as a supposedly romantic adventure to a place permeated with fairy tales becomes stranger and stranger. The conclusion is stark, foreshadowed by clues but no less chilling for it.

Buyer’s Remorse is, according to the author Andrew Lane, based on the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P Lovecraft. Whilst I’ve never read any Lovecraft, the sense of horror and dread that Lane brings to his story makes me want to.

Beginning as a kind of autobiographical exploration of a lost letter and it’s address, Buyer’s Remorse soon finds the author caught up in a weird sale-and-swap scenario in an lost village of the damned. Horrifying creatures, bizarre bargaining and a vicar’s sacrifice are just part of the terrifying texture of this story. Lane’s produced the feel of a classic horror story with some quality touches.

Muriel Gray’s contribution is an engrossing story that leaves the horror just out of sight but expertly present. Gone Away, narrated by a British aristocrat who is afforded a life of luxury living on her estate, has such a powerful and believable voice, it’s hard not to get sucked into her narrative.

Her grandfather, a clever man with enough connections to maintain their elite economical and social status, holds a party every summer. This gathering is just as exclusive but a stray letter sets off a series of events that reveals a secret which eventually picks at the threads of this charmed life. Brilliantly written and wonderfully characterful.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s