THAT WHICH GROWS WILD
Eric J. Guignard
Harper Day Books (July 17, 2018)
Reviewed by Carson Buckingham
“Outstanding” is the only word that comes to mind when considering this collection of horror tales. Guignard has a seldom-seen, old world literary style of writing that, when blended with horror tropes, creates a collection of stories that will stay with you long after you close the book. Edgar Allan Poe would be proud of these stories. Every single one of these is a winner.
As a matter of fact, Edgar Allan Poe would be jealous of these stories, because Guignard demonstrates such remarkable versatility in themes and narrative styles that you would swear that each tale in the collection was written by a different writer—that’s how much the author immerses himself in the many different times and places in which each story takes place. Much research went into crafting this collection, and I, for one, appreciate accurate research.
So, one hand, the reader has the wild west, global warming, family deaths, a craving for acceptance, betrayal, accidents, a murder spree, losing sanity, sinkholes. Juxtaposed with these run-of-the-mill occurrences are zombies, cryptids, werewolves, spontaneous combustion, ghosts, cicadas (yes, cicadas), gnomes, and more…so much more.
Here are my favorites:
This is all about family love and fear of loss of same. And cicadas…lots of cicadas. A bizarro horror story that you will adore.
FOOTPRINTS IN THE FADING DESERT
A small plane crashes in the desert and the lone survivor finds clearly defined footprints in the sand, which should be impossible. Desperate for aid, she follows them and meets the man who left them… a man who, above everything else, keeps his promises.
A SERVING OF NOMU SASHIMI
Think pufferfish is dangerous to consume? This story put me right off sushi. It is about a loser salesman who longs to fit in with his highly successful coworkers. They take pity on him and take him out to eat at a very special sushi place to let him in on their secrets of success. Can’t say much more than that without spoiling it for you, but the ending will leave you breathless.
THE INVETERATE ESTABLISHMENT OF DADDANO & COMPANY
A clever take on the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre narrated by an old mortuary man.
DREAMS OF A LITTLE SUICIDE
It’s suicide, a munchkin, and the making of The Wizard of Oz, all pureed together in one gut-wrenching frappe. Very disturbing. It’s also about obsessive love and was a great story to end the collection with. This was my favorite one.
In conclusion, I can’t recommend this collection highly enough. If you like your scares with a highly intelligent, literary sheen, then you’ll want to pick up a copy of this book. It didn’t win a Stoker for nothing.
5 out of 5 stars