Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
A new collection of Stephen Volkâ€™s stories is always a promise of hours of good readingÂ to any horror fiction lover and â€œMonsters in the Heartâ€ is no exception, Â perfectly fulfilling the readerâ€™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 authorâ€™s skill in creating dark and disturbing material.
The collection starts with theÂ splendid, critically acclaimed â€œAfter the Apeâ€, an insightful and moving story depicting the fate of the blond actress after King Kongâ€™s death.
Other excellent reprints are â€œHoundedâ€ Â 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, â€œSwell Headâ€ masterfully describing the life-long relationship between a farmer and his freak brother, â€œEasterâ€ portraying the temporary disruption of a married coupleâ€™s reassuring routine and “Pied-Ã -terre”, a modern ghost story with a distinct movie character in keeping with the author’sÂ ability as a scriptwriter.
The two new stories are also well worth mentioning.
â€œThe Hairâ€ is an enticing, powerful tale of witchcraft where a woman tries to take back her unfaithful husband with unpredictable results.
â€œAppeal for Witnessesâ€ is a rather overlong piece (which could have used a bit of trimming), yet a strong supernatural noir apt to entertain and disquiet.