From the New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2 and Horns comes this award-winning collection of short fiction.
Imogene is young, beautiful . . . and dead, waiting in the Rosebud Theater one afternoon in 1945. . . .
Francis was human once, but now he's an eight-foot-tall locust, and everyone in Calliphora will tremble when they hear him sing. . . .
John is locked in a basement stained with the blood of half a dozen murdered children, and an antique telephone, long since disconnected, rings at night with calls from the dead. . . .
Nolan knows but can never tell what really happened in the summer of '77, when his idiot savant younger brother built a vast cardboard fort with secret doors leading into other worlds. . . .
The past isn't dead. It isn't even past. . . .
Fully developed characters with complex emotional lives enhance the 14 horror stories in Hill's extraordinary debut collection. In "Abraham's Boys," Count Dracula's nemesis, Dr. Van Helsing, tries to teach his young sons his dispassionate methods of vampire slaying, but succeeds only in demonstrating his soullessness. "Voluntary Committal" tells of an idiot savant who applies his uncanny architectural skills to helping his adored older brother find a suggestively sinister way to remove problems from his life. Whether detailing relationships between children and parents or between teenage peers, Hill is flawless in his ability to articulate frailties that humanize his characters and make them vulnerable to intrusions of the strange. This is particularly noticeable in the title story, about a haunted cinema whose young female ghost seduces patrons with unfulfilled lives, and the surreal "My Father's Mask," which disturbs with subtle hints of taboo sexuality. There's not a false note or disappointing effort in this book, which introduces one of the most confident and assured new voices in horror and dark fantasy to emerge in recent years.