Sunday, November 26, 2017

Review: Occultation and Other Stories

Occultation and Other Stories Occultation and Other Stories by Laird Barron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Occultation and Other Stories is a collection of nine short stories by Laird Barron.

My quest to devour all of Laird Barron's works by the end of 2017 continues with this book, Occulation. As befits a Shirley Jacks award winner, this is something to behold.

While I'm reading Barron's works in the order I come across them, for the most part, I'm beginning to recognize all the Barronoid themes: isolation, loss, and helplessness. Barron's Earth, all but overrun by the cosmic horrors that are the Children of Old Leech, is a very richly-built world. I normally hate the term "world-building" but Barron constructs quite a place brick by brick with his short stories. The dohlmen on Mystery Mountain, the Children of Old Leech, and even the Broadsword Hotel are touched upon in stories in other collections, as well as The Croning.

Like all short story collections, I liked some stories more than others but I wouldn't say any were duds. The Broadsword and The Lagerstatte were great and Mysterium Tremendum was the best story I've read so far in 2017.

Barron's writing reminds me of Raymond Chandler's quite a bit, although there's some Jim Thompson and HP Lovecraft in there as well. Barron's so at home with the noir style that I've already pre-ordered Blood Standard , his 2018 detective novel.

I feel like I'm repeating myself but time is a loop. Laird Barron is not to be missed by horror fans. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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