cover image Ghostwritten


Ronald Malfi. Titan, $15.95 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-78909-959-1

The four horror novellas of this wonderfully meta collection from Malfi (Come with Me) all turn on a vibrantly imagined theme that fans of macabre fiction will easily relate to: books as agents of horror. The centerpiece of “The Skin of Her Teeth” is a novel whose story adamantly refuses to let its telling be altered for extra-literary adaptations—with inevitably fatal results. In “The Dark Brothers’ Last Ride,” a pair of penny-ante hoods couriering a forbidden book to a buyer discover that it’s the key to horrifyingly altered realities. The collection’s most ambitious story, “This Book Belongs to Olo,” introduces a pop-up book whose creator uses the shifting facades of its interiors to trap victims in the architecture of his house. Though each story stands alone, the author subtly links the quartet through shared characters and small references so that the final tale, “The Story”—about a death-inducing e-book—reads like a well-orchestrated crescendo to all that came before. Malfi makes reading about the perils of reading a terrifying delight. (Oct.)