cover image Stranger Still

Stranger Still

Michaelbrent Collings. Written Insomnia, $10.99 trade paper (408p) ASIN B085KJ74BM

Collings delivers a gripping, visceral horror novel in this standalone sequel to 2013’s Stranger. The ambiguously psychologically disturbed man known as Legion coexists within his body with two of his former selves, Fire and Water, who help him to identify sinners on whom he can mete out justice. Legion finds his next target when he witnesses torturer-for-hire Sheldon kidnap a married couple, Danielle and Alex, on behalf of the Russian mob. What follows is an eerie descent into madness as Sheldon races toward an unknown destination with his victims, Legion pursues them, and Danielle and Alex reveal painful secrets to each other. Collings has a talent for characterization: both Sheldon and Legion are uncomfortably unhinged, and, even amid all the chaos, Danielle is a resourceful victim readers will root for. Replete with gore, terror, and violence that at times feels gratuitous, Collings’s work is not for the faint of heart. Hardy readers will be rewarded with a taut, spine-tingling story that puts a chilling new spin on the concepts of justice and redemption. Those who like their horror tightly plotted and intense will be pleased. (Self-published)