cover image The Atrocities

The Atrocities

Jeremy C. Shipp., $3.99 e-book (104p) ISBN 978-1-250-16438-4

A governess finds herself at the mercy of a strange house and its odd inhabitants in Stoker–finalist Shipp’s contemporary fever dream, within which beats a gothic heart. Danna Valdez arrives at the imposing Stockton House expecting to teach Mr. and Mrs. Evers’s young daughter, Isabella. Mrs. Evers explains that Isabella has died, but her spirit remains. Danna is skeptical, but the pain of her own recent tragedy makes her hesitant to leave, as does Mrs. Evers’s increasingly erratic behavior. Is there really a ghost? Did Isabella ever exist? Shipp (Cursed) uses a very strange house, full of nightmarish paintings and statuary, to explore the vast, haunted spaces between life and death, showcasing a gift for horrific imagery: “The sculpture depicts a maelstrom of elongated limbs and hairless faces. In my imagination, the whirlpool of flesh swirls around a murky vortex. The lipless mouths open wider, wider.” Told in Danna’s haunting voice, this beautifully executed tale, as twisted as the hedge maze she braves to reach Stockton House, will surely linger with readers. (Apr.)