Like Light for Flies

Lee Thomas. Lethe, $18 trade paper (266p) ISBN 978-1-59021-026-0
In this gripping horror collection, Thomas (Ash Street) slices open the underbelly of human nature with surgical precision to offer an unforgettable glimpse at the horrors just inside. Though sometimes the protagonists’ homosexuality is almost incidental, many of the stories are driven by the unhappy places in gay culture and the terrible effects of bigotry. In “The Butcher’s Block,” the focus on youth and anonymity in cruising culture lets a ritual of devouring the elderly thrive. “Inside Where It’s Warm,” is an appeal for belonging rather than fighting, even if the in-group is a zombie horde. In “Fine in the Fire,” there’s nothing supernatural at all, just a man driven insane by a contraption his father builds to cure him of his gayness. Thomas’s monsters aren’t unfathomable creatures from the great beyond; they’re people in power, driven by hate and desperation, given just enough supernatural resources so that they can win. He drops the reader into an uncanny place where the everyday, self-destructive psychology of the lost and miserable is bolstered by inhuman powers, and the terror comes as much from within as without. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/22/2013
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