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Book Reviews:Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2017 part 5+ Haunting Of Torre Abbey+Last Mrs Parrish

The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2017 edited by Paula Guran, part 5

Whose Drowned Face Sleeps
A poor response about susceptibility to cataclysm. No to this in which nothing so obvious as motivation is offered.

Best Line:
“Wall of rage.”

When The Stitches Come Undone
I’ve read this before; it’s a tale of a long ago day, a secret in the woods and a man who is not paranoiac. This is good. Horror is hyper local and there is an institutionalised acceptance of frenzied chaos and a grim question.

The Red Forest
A tale of Baba Yaga. A girl has a stealthy but seismic change as she vigorously desires to live. This is an okay tale of devilment, told with weary bitterness, restraint, pathos and monstrosity.

~
The Further Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes: The Haunting Of Torre Abbey by Carole Bugge
This 2000 novel has been reprinted; sadly it is just as bad as the author’s other Holmes novel ‘The Star Of India’. Holmes and Watson prance around the Devon countryside looking into a ghost. Nobody speaks or acts like a Victorian and there are innumerable Americanisms in this uninspired novel which reads like bad fanfic.

This defies conventions of narrative, language, character and genre by not having any. It is unflaggingly boring and un-nuanced. Characters are banal and this is of poor intellectual capacity. Era appropriate social codes and terms of address are in abeyance. This has sexism, racism and a resoundingly stupid ending.

Best Lines:
“Did not harbour good will toward me.”

“Has it finally come to this, then - Mr. Holmes investigating ghosts at country houses?”

~
The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine
Extremely obvious golddigger Amber decides to steal trophy wife Daphne’s husband Jackson. After all she deserves the good life and Daphne doesn’t. This ‘Gone Girl’ knock-off is written with no narrative skills and has no pacy denouement and the twist is obvious. Amber has no moral limits just psychotic mood swings.

This isn’t even gloriously embarrassing as Daphne and her ill-considered decisions is seemingly swept aside by the artful designing Amber. They head for a fateful, gloating battle over the ardent domestic affections of the cardboard cut-out Jackson. This is a tale of people whose external persona is an act and whose diverging futures are as murky as their morals.

Best Lines:
“First, she had to convince Jackson to leave them.”

“Back when he was kind - or pretended to be.”

“How do you like him now,”
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