cover image Occasional Demons

Occasional Demons

Rick Hautala, . . Cemetery Dance, $40 (492pp) ISBN 978-1-58767-095-4

All the stories in Hautala's second horror collection (after 2000's Bedbugs ) are competently told, though they lack the sense of discovery that accompanies great horror fiction. The mere jangle of a presumably nonexistent piano in "The Nephews" has the lobstermen at a Maine bar advising immediate flight. An insomniac, possibly a murderer, is unable to sleep without a newly committed act of horror in "Nightmare Transcript." A fussy bookstore employee who foolishly ordered a mysterious leather-covered book finds that it possesses vampirish tendencies that gradually consume a small rug, her cat, her lover and herself in "Non-returnable." Science fiction and horror mix a little uneasily in "The Man Who Looked Like Murphy," while "Toxic Shock" takes a distinctively unusual approach to the politics of abortion. Eight brief but potent Untcigahunk Indian stories and three collaborative efforts round out the volume. Glenn Chadbourne's illustrations perfectly complement the text. (May)