Welcome to this year’s second instalment of recently read fiction that’s made an impact on me.
Resting Bitch Face, by Lucie McKnight Hardy (from the collection, Dead Relatives and Other Stories, pub. Dead Ink, 2021), delivers a horror that’s almost delicious in its perverseness.
Opening with: ‘The wife knows it’s coming before it arrives. She can see it in his splayed-leg stance, the curl on his upper lip.
Nocturia by Nicholas Royle (from the anthology, Out of the Darkness, ed. Dan Coxon, pub. Unsung Stories, 2021). Royalties from the sales of this book go to the charity, Together for Mental Wellbeing. The story opens the anthology and is a sharp, perceptive, and clever piece by a master storyteller.
Opening with: ‘Nocturia is a country you visit only at night. It is a land of dark reflections in mirrors you had forgotten were there, so that you meet yourself coming back.’
In the CSB 1/22, I mentioned Milk Blood Heat, the short story from Dantiel W. Montiz’s collection of the same name (pub. Grove Press, 2021). I’ve now finished the book, and each story in there is a literary feast, which is rare for me to to come across in collections/anthologies. This is a book worthy of a place on any bookshelf.
We Need To Do Something, by Max Booth III (pub. Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, 2021). First time reading this guy and found the book, above all else, an absolute pleasure to read. A tense and chilling novella. And I love the ending. One to watch on screen too, as it is being made into a movie.
Opening with: ‘Our phones won’t stop screaming, each slightly our of sync with the other, making the noises jarring and insane.’
Featured image credit: Radoslaw Pujan 2014