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Book Reviews: The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2016 Part 3 + One Of Us Is Lying

The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2016 edited by Paula Guran, Part 3

The Absence Of Words
This is not horror. It is just a tale of irrational resentment and selective mutism. No.

Mary, Mary
Despite this being an origin for the ‘Frankenstein’ novel, this is not horror. It is a criminally pointless tale of a woman with sanctimonious righteousness.

Cassandra
The origin of a super-villain. Very good.

A Shot Of Salt Water
A tale of woman who comes home with a mer-baby and her man who can’t accept it. All utter despair and moral collapse. No.

Street Of The Dead House
A retelling of ‘The Murders In The Rue Morgue’. Okay.

The Greyness
An okay tale of Death.

The Devil Under The Maison Blue
I’ve no idea what this was about.

The Lily And The Horn
An excellent tale of poison and cold desolation.

Best Lines:
“You’ve a new way of boiling crab’s eyes to mimic the Whistling Plague.”

“Wishes to take back his ancestral lands in the east, and the lands do not consider themselves to be ancestral.”

Snow
I’ve read this post-apoc tale before. It is a tale of survival and heralds of doom and a increasing disinclination for empathy. Excellent.

Corpsemouth
A tale of Scotland, death and a monster. Good.

Best Line:
Opened a door that should’ve been left shut.”

~
One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
5 high school stereotypes end up in detention, then one of them ends up dead. The surviving four lack moral purity and become suspects and learn that the people who supposedly care about them, don’t. The mystery of whodunit erupts and it soon becomes clear that someone with conceit, paranoia and hauteur is orchestrating a hate campaign against the redemeptively sinless quartet.

This is a very good story of people with secrets, who are morally ambiguous and who are facing a moral panic. People are gratuitously horrible to them and a thoroughly creepy too-cute too-smug insufferable villain has launched a deliciously convoluted evil plan against them.

This is a tale of genuine sourness, creepy dissatisfaction and appallingly hilarious teenagers with moral issues. A comically deluded baddie is deeply un-charming and unedifying and devoid of wit. This is a good dissection of the emotional aridity and unassugeable pain of school.

Best Lines:
“Where’s my backpack?”
“Your back.”

“Thought he should be the center of everything, but wasn’t.”

“Always felt like he should get a lot more respect and attention.”

“Keep this room contained until I get back.”

“You’re all walking teen-movie stereotypes.”

“Things that weren’t there before conveniently showing up now.”

“At risk of implication.”
Tags: 2nd hand book store find, book review
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