Another one of these modern weird horror writers apparently very highly regarded so I had been on the look out for some of his work for a while now. Then I spotted this Tartarus reprint of his first collection and I jumped at the chance to see what he was like. I was not disappointed.
I breezed through this collection very quickly, not only because it is quite short, but because it was an absolute pleasure to read. This guy really has pinned down the essential essence of the classic weird tale, paying a healthy respect to the classics without seeming pastiche.
White visages, as well as featuring in the title story, are also a recurring theme throughout the book. The white mannequins in "Mannequins in Aspects of Terror", the ghostly white images of the dead in the mirrors in "Apartment 205" and the white paint in which the protagonist paints himself to cover up his skin condition in "Vrolyk".
Also a recurring theme is the self-regarding study of the genre itself; the weird tale. Several of the characters in the stories are writers or artists intent on defining and creating the truly weird and horrific."'I believe,' Muswell once said, 'that mental isolation is the essence of weird fiction. Isolation when confronted with disease, with madness, with horror and with death. These are the reverberations of the infinity that torments us.'" (from "The White Hands")
There was not a bad story in the whole collection. Further proof, if proof were needed, of how the weird horror genre is thriving today as never before.