These 30 short stories are bound by a collective eclecticism, shades of darkness and narrative twists.
The darkest themes – violent crime (‘Blood Red and the Eighth Dwarf’), suicide (‘Pin Back Your Ears and Smile’) and the spectre of incest (‘Terror by Torchlight’) – are tempered by the light (‘If Horses Could Talk’, ‘Old Lady’s Dream’, ‘Crown for the Coronet’). But even in the lightest, darkness lurks.
No character in these tales – the overzealous cop in ‘Sweet Transvestite’, the brutal husband in ‘Cutting Board Killer’, the mysterious man on the run in ‘Strangers on a Plane’ – will stop to smell the roses. The convicted rapist / killer in ‘Devil’s Doorway’ will hardly get the chance … but is the Death Row inmate guilty, or innocent?