Havoc Swims Jaded

David J. Schow, Author
David J. Schow, Author . Subterranean $25 (301p) ISBN 978-1-59606-067-8
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Like "The Narrative of Dr. Shackle and Mr. Lye," an invented tale of horror described in one of this book's 13 stories, the contents of Schow's latest collection (after Zombie Jam ) seesaw between "elbow-jabbing one-liners and almost clinically detached slaughter and corpse disposal." Most unfold events that are grim and ghastly, but never so bad that Schow can't tease a thread of graveyard humor out of their horrors. In "The Absolute Last of the Ultra-Spooky, Super-Scary Hallowe'en Horror Nights," marauding gangs crash an amusement park's Halloween theme night and get their comeuppance when real monsters pop up among the actors and props. "Expanding Your Capabilities Using Frame/Shift™ Mode" mixes chills and chuckles in its portrait of a voyeuristic video-hound undone by a DVD remote with supernatural circuitry. The darkly funny "Obsequy" suggests that having lived a dead-end life is good preparation for returning from the grave as a zombie. In all, this is a solid and imaginatively varied outing from one of horror's most dependable writers. (Oct.)

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