cover image The Secret Backs of Things

The Secret Backs of Things

Christopher Golden, Cemetery Dance, $40 (416p) ISBN 978-1-58767-206-4

A wide-ranging author of horror, YA, and comic books, Golden presents 18 striking short stories from all facets of the dark fantastic, accompanied by intriguing authorial afterthoughts and Glenn Chadbourne's unsettling mythic illustrations. Golden's first published story, "One," provides backstory to his Shadow Saga (Of Saints and Shadows, etc.). In "Pa-Kow," a youngster's shoot-'em-up game dooms him to disaster. The long out-of-print "The Shell Collector" pays homage to relatives who loved the sea's eternal mysteries. "Burning Questions" and "The Urge," replete with explicit nastiness, unmask the strange unconscious urges deep beneath human personalities. "Venus and Mars" is a savage denunciation of child molesters. The scorching "Pyre" mixes ancient Viking echoes with a Freudian Electra complex. These chillingly realized glimpses of the abyss are not for the faint of heart. (Nov.)