The 27 reprints in Monteleone's story collection span the last 22 years and are as much a chronicle of the course horror fiction has taken in that time as they are of the author's career. Several are solid dark fantasies that strive for a subtle sense of unease rooted in the troubled emotions of their characters. In the best of them, "Rehearsals," a Twilight Zone –type memory tale, a man watches his childhood replay itself as a painful stage drama he's desperate to rewrite. "Love Letters" is a skillfully underplayed blend of supernatural horror and psychological suspense, written as an exchange of letters in which one correspondent reveals an increasingly inhuman sensibility. Monteleone (Eyes of the Virgin , etc.) has used virtually every classic horror trope, from vampires in "Triptych di Amore," in which a seductive lamia destroys celebrity artists over the centuries, to Lovecraftian monsters in the tongue-in-cheek "Yog Sothoth, Superstar." Some stories that originally appeared in narrowly defined theme anthologies don't hold up well on their own, while others add little to overly familiar themes. Nevertheless, these solidly crafted tales consistently evoke an enjoyably unsettling mood of horror. (Dec.)
FYI: Monteleone's nonfiction collection, The Mothers and Fathers Italian Association (2003), won a Stoker Award.
Release date: 11/01/2004