Some stories feature clueless, quirky characters who nonchalantly accept the horror, and often the subtle humor, of their predicaments. High schooler Amy just wants to be “popular” but is surprised when the mean girls she calls the Witches of Eastbrook actually make that happen. Meanwhile, teenage Julie in “The Devil’s in the Details” relishes the perks of being inadvertently possessed by a demon from a Ouija board. Written mostly in text messages, “Hungry Man” follows cheating boyfriend Cooper, whose girlfriend is visiting a psychic, who knows exactly what Cooper has been doing all evening and has a suggestion about what to have for dinner.
Longo’s stories will appeal to a variety of horror-minded readers. She turns up the gruesome factor in “Gibtown,” in which former circus freaks are reluctant to reveal to a reporter what they did to their “missing” masochistic manager. But Longo also offers the heartwarming “Bucket List,” where a Freddie Mercury concert is the perfect end to a cancer patient’s life. Peppered with pop culture and brand name references to lend realism, these unnerving stories offer witty yet foreboding observations of humanity’s folly. Readers who relish the blending of genres will be pulled in by the humor, humanity, and horrors.
Takeaway: Chilling and darkly humorous stories for readers who love supernatural thrills.
Comparable Titles: Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties, Tananarive Due’s Ghost Summer: Stories.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A