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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-10-24
- Reviewer: Staff
King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams) collects six writing-contest submissions that are intended to provide an icy frisson of fear, but they are scant on chills and lack fulfilling elaboration of their promising premises. The winning story, Wild Swimming by Elodie Harper, is the least original, focusing on an eerie lake in Lithuania thats infamous for the flooded village that lies beneath. A battered widow slowly becomes unglued over her daughters teddy bear, which smells like her abusive husbands aftershave, in Manuela Saragosas Eau-de-Eric. Paul Bassett Daviess charmingly humorous The Spots features a narcissistic dictator forcing his scientist to count spots on a leopard, but the metaphysical insinuations fail to develop. Michael Button makes toys come to life at night in Unpicking, the most chilling work in the collection. In La Mort de Lamant (the lovers death), Stuart Johnstone follows a man who tries to stop his wife from her incessant uttering of clichés and similes. Tension among authentic characters drives Neil Hudsons The Bear Trap, in which 12-year-old Calvin manages a farm alone during a nuclear winter and tussles with a greedy stranger. King was looking for shorter, more intense stories, but most of these would have been more satisfying if they were fleshed out. (Nov.)