A mix of cosmic horror, sci-fi, feminist themes, and diversity in the character pool, Snyder offers a wonderful collection of horror tales that would please any aficionado.
The first four stories were my favorites. The second person narration of the first story, "That Which Does Not Kill You," is perfect in a world where second person generally makes me roll my eyes. It felt wholly original in Snyder's hands, and that quick little tale of a woman snubbed by her girlfriend is just perfect horror.
"Sunset on Mott Island" was a very human tale, a woman trying to survive at the end of the world and give her dying mother the care she needs. It turns in a direction I was not expecting, but it worked so perfectly, and the juxtaposition of the strange apocalyptic times with the character's personal struggles was really compelling.
"The Gentleman Caller" was an interesting one, following a disabled woman who works as a phone-sex operator. I thought the path the story took offered a unique perspective on her condition and how it must be to live a life where people are constantly judging you poorly just for the way you look and not what is inside.
"Executive Functions" offers a unique tale that would be at home on the show Black Mirror. I loved the unexpected (and fairly gross) twist in this piece following a not-so-nice guy in an office.
Because of my love for these first few stories, I thought the collection was fairly frontloaded. The last three stories especially did not have the same polish that much of rest of the collection had, and they started to lose me. The last two are straight fantasy stories, which is the genre that speaks to me the least, so you might have a different opinion if you love fantasy!
I will say that it is so impressive that she manages to fit so many genres, themes, and types of characters into one collection. There is a very unique vampire story, some sci-fi, the Lovecraft-inspired tales, a more action/adventure-type tale, the fantasy ones, and some just plain weird horror. Snyder is definitely very versatile and feels comfortable bending genres to her will.
This is one that I definitely recommend to horror readers everywhere. Lucy A. Snyder is one to watch!
My thanks to Raw Dog Screaming Press for sending me a copy of this one to read and review.
Associate editor, amateur photdographer, bibliophile, and occasional sleuth.