Devils In Dark Houses by B.E. Scully
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Detectives Shirdon and Martinez are two cops in the Pacific Northwest that catch some bizarre cases in this Netgalley find.
Case 1: The Eye That Blinds A man's life falls apart as he devotes every waking moment to The Eye, a reality show in which he will be the star once it goes live. Meanwhile, his best friend is putting the moves on his ex-girlfriend.
Yeah, this story was pretty chilling, if only because it was so realistic. Tyler was an epic douche and while Ross's delusion was sad, I was pretty satisfied when Tyler got what was coming to him. Detectives Shirdon and Martinez were only on the periphery, though the glimpses into their lives was interesting.
Case 2: Each Castle Its King After an incident, Cal and Rachel leave Los Angeles behind and buy a fixer-upper in Oregon. Tensions run high when Cal stops looking for another job but that's nothing compared to the house next door and its occupant.
This was a genuinely creepy story about obsession and fear of change. It was also about an evil neighbor and the added strain he put on a young couple's marriage. Once again, Shirdon and Martinez were on the outside looking in, although they are a fairly interesting framing device for the stories.
Case 3: Nostri Two teens with a fascination with the philosopher Seneca start stirring up shit to make politicians practice what they preach. When things escalate too far, Shirdon and Martinez catch the case.
In a way, this story reminded me of fight club, with it's philosophy of revolution and other aspects. Shirdon and Martinez actually did a bit of detective work in this one but were still mostly a framing device.
Case 4: Devils in Dark Houses In the midst of a bizarre child molestation case, a homeless man surfaces with a strange connection to Martinez' former partner.
Shirdon and Martinez had a more active role in this case. Scully did a great job with The Hound and his delusions.
My final analysis: While this book wasn't what I expected, I wound up liking it just the same. Using the cops as the framing device to link these four novellas together worked very well and made Devils in Dark Houses rise above my expectations, telling a much wider variety of tales than the horror cop stories I was envisioning. 3.5 out of 5 stars. I'll have to check out what else B.E. Scully has done.
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