Far from being a review, what I want to offer you is a warning. If you find yourself in possession of this collection, take precautions to limit the number of stories you finish in one sitting. One or two should be safe. Any more than that and your view of the world around you will begin to … shift. Perhaps you think you’ll avoid misadventure by perusing only the more sedate “normal” selections in this volume.
So which stories in this collection are normal?
Can’t you guess? Consider:
In The Fall – Are monsters born or made? In a struggle between the supernatural and the mad, can there be any doubt who will win every time?
The Chupacabra Versus Sasquatch Variations 1-9 – No matter the time or place, two ancient foes continue to fight, having long forgotten why.
Spirits of the Wind – They are never far and, though we rarely see them, they are always watching us. Always waiting to touch our lives.
A Day And Two Nights When I Was Twenty – Of course, they’re not always content to lightly touch our lives. Sometimes, they want to give us a push.
The Return of Uncle Hungry’s Pizza Time Fun Band – At least clowns can wash away their make-up when the celebrations are finished. For puppets, the smiles stay forever painted in place. And when all the parties are finished, what horrid things they have to say to each other.
I-65 – One of the ironies of rage is that we think our vision is most clear, but that’s when things are most often not what they seem. And forgiveness is not always enough to dispel that illusion.
Two Nights Only – I won’t tell you the secret hidden in this story because I’ve read it and I know that some secrets you always have to keep.
PCFB – No more and no less than the meaning of life revealed by the most powerful computer on Earth. And it will break your heart when you read it because you’ll know… it’s true. It’s absolutely true.
Wetwork – With so many people worried about how climate change will affect the environment, so very few question how it will affect us.
The Envelope Job – It’s never just a job.
Ebb Tide – Love conquers all, no matter how much better the world would be if that love just died.
The Gardener Estate – A parable about the man who has everything he ever wanted and how he can never hope to be rid of it.
Blue Eyes – Once you stop fearing monsters, that’s when the true horror begins.
The Specimen – Even the darkest hearts can appreciate poetic justice, no matter who happens to be the recipient.
Shadow – If you had a secret friend who could grant your wishes… of course it would end badly. Just not this badly.
The Walk Home – “The world was red, like a horror movie.”
Much like Detzner’s first collection, Scarce Resources, Beasts is another essential tome for anyone assembling a library of the bizarre, but I must stress once again that, under no circumstances should you attempt reading the entire collection in one sitting. Like a shot of absinthe with an arsenic chaser, a little will go a long way. If you dare, you can pick it up in print or electronic format from Amazon.