Dead Letters

Conrad Williams. Titan, $14.95 Trade Paperback (400p) ISBN 978-1-78329-450-3
As lost as the ‘dead letters' that arrive in their mail boxes, alienated characters in fragmented lives face dark psychological truths and supernatural terrors in this inspired anthology. Restlessness and unspoken desires spiral into dread revelations when encountering mysterious mail. A chess piece provokes spectral regret and all too human betrayal in "Over To You", while a vague invitation feeds off a young mother's repressed lust in "The Hungry Hotel"A fateful discovery of a lost letter wakens sexuality and despair in Angela Slatter's "Change Management", and Ramsey Campbell, as himself, plays "The Wrong Game" in the most harrowing story. Instigated by the arrival of two playing cards, this possibly quasi autobiographical story achieves unbearable tension. This trigger, a unique one, leads to disturbing and poetic onslaughts against expectation, chipping away at perceptions of safety and order in a world cast in shadow. Even "The Green Letter", an uneven scientific analysis of deadly missives, radiates raw authenticity. Fascinating, frightening, and funerary, these dead letters resurrect the art of the short story. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 06/20/2016
Release date: 04/05/2016
Genre: Fiction
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