cover image The Secrets of Insects

The Secrets of Insects

Richard Kadrey. Subterranean, $45 (288p) ISBN 978-1-64524-128-7

Bestseller Kadrey (King Bullet) brings together 16 horror and dark fantasy shorts spanning more than two decades of his career for his treasure trove of a first collection. Many of Kadrey’s shorts rest atop much larger mythos. “A Sandman Slim Christmas Carol,” “Devil in the Dollhouse,” and “Candy Among the Jades” all expand the lore of his Sandman Slim novels, about a monster hunter who becomes the Devil, while “Flayed Ed” and “The Tunguska Event” add magical dimensions to real-life events: the Ed Gein murders and the Tunguska explosion of 1908, respectively. The strongest pieces, however, stand entirely on their own: the opener, “Ambitious Boys Like You,” sets a high bar with the tale of two would-be burglars breaking into a house of horrors, while the slow-burning creep show “The Secrets of Insects” follows two police officers transporting a notorious serial killer to a new facility. It’s not all grim, either—there’s a genuinely tender romance in “What Is Love but the Quiet Moments After Dinner?” even if it is between two monsters. This vivid, inventive, and delightfully twisted collection offers horror fans plenty of nightmare fodder. (Aug.)