cover image Twisted: Tales to Rot Your Brain, Vol. 1

Twisted: Tales to Rot Your Brain, Vol. 1

Nora Thompson. Hairy Eyeballs Press (, $24.95 hardcover (108p) ISBN 978-0-9836699-0-6

In "Garlic Toast," one of nearly 30 brief works of "flash fiction" in this collection of dark comedy and horror, the main character is brutally attacked and chased by a monster, before awakening in bed from a nightmare. "You wipe the sweat from your forehead.... You close your eyes and smile. You hope the next one is just as good." That type of kid%E2%80%94the one who revels in being terrified%E2%80%94is the audience first-time author Thompson is aiming for. In stories that last only a few pages and comics that resemble Nickelodeon cartoons on acid, Thompson riffs on zombie, werewolf, and other ghoulish genres, while also finding the horrific in unexpected places. In "Testophobia," a test-taker's increasingly anxious thoughts are superimposed over a blurred-out exam below ("Hemophobia: Fear of blood. Won't wipe off. On fingers. On sleeve, paper. Smeared. Trembling. Shaky. Shaking"). And in a cartoon labeled "Lobotomy Pie," a freshly baked pumpkin pie cools on a counter, while a jack o'lantern sits mutilated in the foreground. Just the thing for readers who aren't scared of the dark%E2%80%94or for those who are and like it. Ages 12%E2%80%93up.