Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review: Uneasy Tales

What a lovely collection of short stories to land on my desk. Or maybe "lovely" is the wrong word. Creepy, yes. Discomforting, definitely. Simon Kurt Unsworth delivers a tight collection of macabre tales. There isn't always rhyme or reason why events unfold as they do, but what is certain is that each tale leaves you feeling scratchy behind the eyes.

In Button, Bruno catches a button that adheres to his left hand, with unfortunate consequences. This story still leaves me feeling phantom pains on my palm.

Dog was perhaps the only story that didn't resonate with me. Slightly reminiscent of the Cube films, it left me uneasy for reasons I won't go in that will spoil the tale. It's suitably horrible, even if one never discovers the raison d'etre for the viewpoint character's predicament.

My phobia for hospitals, needles and scalpels were next on the list when I read Excision. What I liked the most about this one was that the horror is implied and the truth ambiguous. Thank goodness for general anaesthetic, is all I can say.

The grim vision of a sterile future for planet earth is explored in Plastic. Once again, Unsworth plays with medical themes gone wrong in this broody and rather tense story.

Overall, Unsworth is a master of mood and suspense. The true horror lies not in the end result but the growing sense of inevitability so often lacking in horror fiction nowadays. Well done with this anthology, sir. You've definitely succeeded in giving me my sick thrills for a gloomy Sunday afternoon.

Buy Uneasy Tales here.

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