The Nameless Dark

T.E. Grau. Lethe (lethepressbooks.com), $18 trade paper (282p) ISBN 978-1-59021-463-3
The dark fiction in Grau’s first collection is nicely twisted, with stories that play on the best of eldritch horror, creating a sense of dread and the unexplained instead of overt malevolence. Sometimes the stories are slight—in spite of a genuinely fascinating premise that recasts the Jack the Ripper killings as part of a war against an ancient evil, “The Truffle Pig” ends before the story gets going—but they are entertaining while they last. The more in-depth ones practice restraint; in the delightful “Tubby’s Big Swim,” a young boy’s pet octopus never kills anyone on the page, but the story is still very creepy. In “Clean,” siblings who prey on predators are clearly more than human. Other solid tales include “Expat,” a traditional horror story complete with a twist, and “The Screamer,” a very Lovecraftian descent into madness. The collection concludes with “The Mission,” the strongest story here, a weird western that cleverly reimagines the clash of old and new religions. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/22/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
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