The Strange Thing We Become: And Other Dark Tales

Off Limits. Sept. 2021. 128p. ISBN 9781737463313. pap. $13. HORROR
LaRocca’s (Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke) poetic storytelling, lyrical craftsmanship, and skill at sowing the seeds of terror are on full display in this well-executed story collection. Its crescendo of tension begins with the tender and dream-like “You Follow Where They Go,” in which a 13-year-old’s adolescent insecurities are exacerbated by his father’s failing health. It continues in “Bodies Are for Burning,” about one woman’s battle against her own perverse thoughts. Other stories include a genre-bending Frankenstein-esque tale of sacrifice and revenge, and a story about a woman’s vulnerable and desperate posts in an online forum as she deals with her wife’s sudden illness and suspicious behavior. LaRocca treats readers to a variance of narrative style and tone that is always delightfully—and occasionally dementedly—twisted, and never dull. These examinations of the human condition, through the lens of craven desires and desperate decisions, will be appreciated by readers willing to go there with psychological and emotional horror.
VERDICT Fans of dark fiction will not want to miss this collection of stories about love, loss, choice, consequence, and the horrors therein.
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