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  • Writer's pictureMandy McHugh

When Things Get Dark, Edited by Ellen Datlow: A Review

Anything with Ellen Datlow's seal of approval is okay in my book, and when I saw some of my favorite reviewers eagerly anticipating this read on Twitter, I requested faster than pretty much every title this year. I was thrilled to be approved and quickly dove in,

A collection of stories inspired by Shirley Jackson. Need I say more? From haunting to eerie to downright terrifying, there is something for every reader.

Some of my favorites included:

Funeral Birds – M Rickert: An offbeat tale of compulsion, jealousy, and love that gave me serious Poe vibes as well as Shirley Jackson. I enjoyed this one.

For Sale by Owner – Elizabeth Hand: One of my favorites. A mysterious house and a group of friends determined to do something fun. What could go wrong?

In the Deep Woods; The Light is Different There - Seanan McGuire: A story of recovery and community with a twist. Really enjoyed the voice

A Hundred Miles and a Mile – Carmen Maria Machado: I will literally read a grocery list if it's written by Machado, and this story didn't disappoint

Quiet Dead things – Cassandra Khan--Loved the atmosphere and the vivid imagery. Creepy, brutal story with Lottery vibes

Money of the Dead – Karen Heuler: Interesting premise. Loved the mystery and reminded me of Vivarium

Take Me, I am Free – Joyce Carol Oates: This story of a mother and child's heartbreaking interaction will stick to your bones

A Trip to Paris – Richard Kadrey: No spoilers for this one, but I think of it frequently. Great imagery and voice

The Party – Paul Trembley: Loved this apocalyptic relationship

Special Meal – Josh Malerman: Harrison Bergeron meets 1984. Literary and compulsively readable. One of my favorites in the collection

Sooner or Later, Your Wife Will Drive You Home – Genevieve Valentine: Excellent creepy atmosphere and character development in a short word count

Skindler’s Veil – Kelly Link: Loved this one. No spoilers, but I'll definitely be re-reading this one

Huge thanks to Titan Books and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.


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