Monsters in the Heart by Stephen Volk. Book review

cat_heartMONSTERS IN THE HEART by Stephen Volk, Gray Friar Press 2013

Reviewed by Mario Guslandi

A new collection of Stephen Volk’s stories is always a promise of hours of good reading  to any horror fiction lover and “Monsters in the Heart” is no exception,  perfectly fulfilling the reader’s expectations.

Assembling fifteen tales, some previously published and some appearing in print for the first time, the present volume offers a captivating showcase of the author’s skill in creating dark and disturbing material.

The collection starts with the  splendid, critically acclaimed “After the Ape”, an insightful and moving story depicting the fate of the blond actress after King Kong’s death.

Other excellent reprints are “Hounded”  in which an aged Watson happens to summon back, in the course of a dramatic seance, the Hound of the Baskervilles in its real form, “Swell Head” masterfully describing the life-long relationship between a farmer and his freak brother, “Easter” portraying the temporary disruption of a married couple’s reassuring routine and “Pied-à-terre”, a modern ghost story with a distinct movie character in keeping with the author’s  ability as a scriptwriter.

The two new stories are also well worth mentioning.

“The Hair” is an enticing, powerful tale of witchcraft where a woman tries to take back her unfaithful husband with unpredictable results.

“Appeal for Witnesses” is a rather overlong piece (which could have used a bit of trimming), yet a strong supernatural noir apt to entertain and disquiet.

Warmly recommended.