Fantasy Kit

Black Lawrence. Jun. 2022. 200p. ISBN 9781625570376. pap. $21.95. HORROR
McOmber (The White Forest) presents 35 well-paced, immersive stories, most published previously, that reflect a pervasively creepy tone. Each begins with a strong sense of place, settings readers will be confident that they understand. That is until McOmber twists it all, just enough to make the familiar strange, fully displaying a dread that was not there before readers started the first tale. The feeling will linger long after they finish the last. In “The Pool Party,” a group of teens is joined by an uninvited, ghost guest, one they all know. “Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood” is the “true” story of a darkness behind the much beloved A. A. Milne tales. McOmber’s storytelling prowess is accentuated by well-developed, sympathetic characters, many of them gay men, whose experience readers fall into immediately.
VERDICT A strong collection by an important voice in the genre. It will appeal to fans of the haunted flash fiction collection The Ghost Variations by Kevin Brockmeier and the breadth of scares in the anthology Tiny Nightmares, edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto.
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