cover image The Master of the House: Tales of Twilight and Borderlands

The Master of the House: Tales of Twilight and Borderlands

John Gaskin. Tartarus (, $56 (204p) ISBN 978-1-905784-62-2

The 12 elegant, old-fashioned weird tales in this collection from Gaskin (The Long Retreating Day) introduce their horrors so unobtrusively that characters are shocked to discover for just how long they've been ensnared by the supernatural. In "Party Talk," a woman regales a party guest with the story of her personal encounter with the uncanny, while the guest is oblivious that he's having a similar type of encounter. "The Double Crossing" concerns a man who sees a friend waving to him from the window of an abandoned train station, though it's revealed later that there's no way on earth the friend could have been there. In "The Pit," a man mistakes the debris that he sees at the bottom of an old mining pit for refuse when, in fact, it's the mortal remains of something that should be deader than it proves. Gaskin's vivid, detailed descriptions of the "Empty Places" (as one story is titled) in which most of his tales are set help to lend his horrors credibility and substance. Touched with irony and graveyard humor, his stories will appeal to fans of classic ghostly fiction. (June)