cover image The Hair Wreath and Other Stories

The Hair Wreath and Other Stories

Halli Villegas, ChiZine (Diamond, dist.), $15.95 paper (266p) ISBN 978-1-926851-02-0

Villegas's debut collection offers 19 tales that nicely blend ordinary characters with sudden and unexplained supernatural threats, but it eventually suffers from having too many similar stories so close together. "His Ghost," disturbing on multiple levels, tells the tale of an obsessive man in search of his muse. "Salvage," a haunting set on a spaceship, is efficiently creepy. "An Unexpected Thing" is a solid, straightforward revenge story with a nasty undercurrent. Assorted pieces focusing on the fragility of relationships and urban and suburban alienation—"Meadowdene Estates," "Winter," "Neighbours," and "Peach Festival"—blur together, but "D in the Underworld," in which a woman searches for her missing daughter, rises above the rest. Fans of creepy, nongory horror will appreciate this collection despite its redundancies. (Oct.)