Let's Play White

Chesya Burke. Apex (www.apexbookcompany.com), $15.95 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-9370099-9-1
The label of "dark fantasy and horror" fits this collection both ironically and genuinely. Haunted by history and past wrongs, Burke's characters are never alone, never safe, never comfortable. She weaves African and African-American historical legend and standard horror themes into stories that range from gritty subway gore fests to a sympathetic take on zombies. The magnificent closing novella, "The Teachings and Redemption of Ms. Fannie Lou Mason," follows a "hoodoo woman" as she nurtures and protects twin girls with similar powers and shows them what they are meant to do. If the urban realism doesn't always seem quite realistic, the depth of Burke's characters, the weight of their decisions, and their choices make this the very opposite of escapist fantasy. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/16/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
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