The house at the end of the block with the overgrown lawn. The darkened store window in a forgotten corner of the shopping mall. The colorful characters of a children's TV show. What dark secrets do they hide?
From award-winning author Christopher Hawkins come thirteen tales of the horrors lurking right next door.
- A shut-in sets out to make a new life for himself by losing weight at the point of a scalpel.
- A store clerk with a mannequin obsession hides a macabre and tragic secret.
- A master thief tries for one last score in a house that doesn't want him to leave.
- Two friends learn the hard way that having superpowers doesn't always make you a hero. It might just make you a monster.
- A lonely painter finds freedom with the help of something lurking beneath the ocean waves.
At turns whimsical and somber but always unsettling, this debut collection of short horror stories is essential reading from a rising voice in dark literary fiction.
With crisp prose and brisk character work, Hawkins reminds readers that danger can lurk close to home by setting his stories in a variety of familiar suburban locations such as a comic book store, the local mall, an office building, and typical neighborhood homes with secrets lurking behind closed doors. Throughout, visceral imagery brings the terror to life: readers will hear the “wet gurgle” and see the “blossom of brownish red” liquid spreading out. Killer opening lines such as “It was the blood that changed everything” make the twisted and ominous worlds inviting.
A broad array of horror is presented within Suburban Monsters. “Storms of the Present” is an intense body horror piece featuring a woman desperate to be thin. “Green Eyes” and “Moonrise Over Water with Sargassum” toy with the elements of nature, and for those suffering from coulrophobia, beware the creepy clown. At times, Hawkins dares to go darker than readers might be eager to follow; “Candle for the Birthday Boy” is somewhat punishing in its depiction of an overweight kid. Whatever the subgenre preference, Hawkins delivers nightmare fuel to readers brave enough to dive into this hair-raising collection.
Takeaway: Spine-chilling horror stories set in familiar locations with relatable characters.
Great for fans of: Kealan Patrick Burke’s Secret Faces, Alan Baxter’s Served Cold.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-
An assortment of jolts, abominations, and shaken nerves that readers won’t soon forget.