cover image No One Dies from Love

No One Dies from Love

Robert Levy. Word Horde, $19.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-956252-06-4

Levy (The Glittering World) delivers a viscerally unsettling collection of 12 horror shorts rooted as much in human psychology as in the fantastical and speculative. The stories all start from an exploration of lost love, but blossom in myriad gruesome and strange directions: in “Conversion,” for instance, a gay boy sent to conversion therapy becomes a serial killer, to the mixed horror and delight of his perverted therapist. “My Heart’s Own Desire” follows a young man whose attempts to escape the influence of a powerful wizard (and the wizard’s hyper potent drugs) lead him to realize his love for his brother. Levy’s stories are made all the more powerful by his unwillingness to shy away from the illicit. By embracing the taboo with the tools of horror and speculative fiction, he at once demystifies these subjects while imbuing them with a magic of his own. “Anaïs Nin at the Grand Guignol,” the masterful novella that ends the collection, exemplifies this through its transformation of real historical personages—Anaïs Nin and Paula Maxa—into characters caught up at once in their feelings for each other and a relationship with the devil. The result is a triumph of aberration and whimsy. (June)