cover image Abnormal Statistics

Abnormal Statistics

Max Booth III. Apocalypse Party, $17.99 trade paper (266p) ISBN 978-1-954899-14-8

In this impressive collection of 13 horror shorts, Booth (Maggots Screaming!) surveys the unnerving, the gory, and the grim. The volume is bookended by standout tales, opening with the novella “Indiana Death Song,” which follows a homeless teenager who discovers that he can experience the lives of dead people by sucking on their teeth, and closing with “List of Familicides in the United States (By Decade),” which calls back to that first piece in the form of a Wikipedia article chronicling its fallout. Booth creates fever dreams that weave the chillingly impossible with the all-too-probable, as in “You Are My Neighbor,” in which a devout Christian family hides a terrible secret in their basement, and “Fish,” about a teenager who agrees to far more than he realizes in a bargain to lose his virginity. The stories with no fantastic element—including “Munchausen,” inspired by the murder of Dee Dee Blanchard, and “Video Nasties,” inspired by the murder of James Bulger—are dulled by comparison to what Booth can do in full flight. Still, any fan of boundary-pushing indie horror will be delighted. (Mar.)