Painfreak, etc.) offers 20 tough, uncompromising horror tales, nine of which are previously unpublishe"/>

VISIONS THROUGH A SHATTERED LENS

Gerard Houarner, Author . Delirium $45 (428p) ISBN 978-1-929653-33-1

In his fourth story collection, native New Yorker Houarner (Painfreak, etc.) offers 20 tough, uncompromising horror tales, nine of which are previously unpublished. Notable entries include "Finding the Lost Children," which plays off Egyptian mythology (especially cats); "Bui Doi," in which the supernatural invades Vietnamese street gang culture; "The Chain-Lynched Man," which builds on the real-life horror of lynching postcards; and "Children in the Moonless Night," which effectively uses an African setting. Nearly as good are the title story, with its artist's vision as nightmare; "On the Road," an indictment of the American love affair with the car; and "Mutilation Missionary," a screed against the Roman Catholic Church—not for the squeamish. "Out of the Shadows" uses the Lovecraftian pantheon for its character-centered plot without being too derivative. Finally, "Things I Wish I Had Not Seen," a grim portrait of an emotionally tortured Arab immigrant, and "Signs of Death," a potent but controlled visionary piece, draw on September 11 and its aftermath. No reader is likely to enjoy all the stories, with their mostly urban settings and in some cases overly familiar themes, but there's something here for every taste in adult horror. (Oct. 29)

Reviewed on: 10/14/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
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