Bone Idle in the Charnel House: A Collection of Weird Stories

Rhys Hughes. Hippocampus, $20 trade paper (246p) ISBN 978-1-61498-087-2
This collection showcases Welsh writer Hughes’s versatility in concocting weird tales that are more than just variants on familiar themes. In doing so, he meets the goal he has set out in his introduction: “to explore worlds, ideas, and moods beyond the mundane, the dull, the trivial, and the utilitarian.” All 20 entries are well-written, and there are a few standouts. “The Old House Under the Snow” begins as an unusual treasure hunt as two men pursue the legend of riches concealed in a mansion, which, over the years, has been covered over by tons of snow. Hughes (Nowhere Near Milk Wood) makes the claustrophobia of their exploration palpable, but the plot takes some very unexpected detours. A premise that could come across as just silly instead becomes deeply ominous in “The Swinger,” whose plot is driven by a legend that if a man manages to hang himself “higher than the top of [a] haunted tree, he’ll earn the right to live in any period of history he desires.” Fans of Laird Barron will be satisfied. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/19/2016
Release date: 12/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
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