Steve Rasnic Tem is a well known author of dark fiction whose stories are usually insightful journeys in the horrors of everyday life, especially where family ties are concerned.
Besides his body of work in the area of “quiet” horror, Tem has also penned a handful of more graphic, bluntly horrific pieces, now collected in a single volume, certainly not suitable for the more squeamish readers, but very effective and extremely well crafted.
“Saguro Night,” for instance, is an excellent story featuring a painter living with his daughter in the Sonora desert. A tale about arts, violence and parental love framed by a harsh natural environment.
In the disturbing “In His Image” a loner encounters a masked pregnant woman hiding the signs of a secret violence, while in the nasty “You Dreamed It” an obnoxious stepfather finally gets his well deserved punishment.
Like a talented painter Tem draws a series of remarkable portraits: in “The Child Killer” he depicts a particularly sinister bogeyman (The Sackman) and his encounter with a smart little girl unwilling to share the same fate of other children and in “The Crusher” he portraits a huge man cursed by the ability to crush and break things with incredible ease.
“Living Arrangement” is a truly disquieting piece where an old man gets unwillingly involved in a bleak situation of domestic violence.
The best story in the book is, in my opinion, “Rat Catcher” a creepy, quite horrific story revolving around a house infested with rats and a weird rat catcher with suspicious attitude. A fine example of great storytelling.
I strongly recommend this collection.
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- The Parts We Play – Book Review - February 2, 2017
- Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson – Book Review - December 9, 2016
- Fishhead: The Darker Tales of Irvin S. Cobb – Book Review - November 9, 2016
- Dissonant Intervals by Louis Marvick – Book Review - October 4, 2016
- You’ll Know When You Get There – Book Review - September 12, 2016
- A Feast of Sorrows – Book Review - September 9, 2016
- Spectral Shadows – Book Review - July 19, 2016
- Thirty Hours With a Corpse and Other Tales of the Grand Guignol – Book Review - May 26, 2016
- Scar City – Book Review - May 17, 2016