REVIEW: Six Strange Stories: and H.P. Lovecraft and Time Essay- Felice Picano

Six Strange Stories: Book Cover Six Strange Stories:
With a H.P. Lovecraft and Time Essay
Felice Picano
April 28, 2023
Paperback, Lovecraft

Several pieces have appeared previously, as they appear here, or in slightly different form:
“After Sunset in the Second Drawing Room Garden” in Cutting Edge: Single Slices and also in the anthology, Best New Horrors #29, (2018).
“The Tapping at Cranburgh Grange” in the anthology, “The Half That You Don’t See,” (2018)
“Flawed” in the anthology Saints & Sinners, (2019); also in the anthology, Unburied, (2021)
“H.P. Lovecraft and Time” in Culture Cult magazine, (2019)
“Next” in the anthology, Haus, (2022)

Review By Sherry Perkins

Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

“There’s no woman in my apartment.”—Next

Anthologies. Either you love them or not. The stories are quick reads, often connected by the loosest of threads. In Picano’s Six Strange Stories, and H.P. Lovecraft and Time, horror is the connection.

Told in first person, each of the six stories weave the unexpected into tales of horror that are textural and –although spanning several eras and countries—similarly moody, and prescient, written in that rich text you find in older English and European mysteries or noir.

The stories, most were previously published as early as 2018 in other formats or anthologies, are After Sunset in the Second Drawing Room Garden (a tidy ghost story reminiscent of Virginia Woolf), Flawed(a secrets to be kept story),The Tapping at Cranburgh Garage (a Poe-ish kind of tale), Next (a who’s next ghostly story), Cul-de-Sac (urban creepiness), and Strange on My Hands (something ironic and appealing to a nurse like me). Because the stories are so brief, it’s difficult to give much of an individual review without giving away the surprising endings. Taken in toto, the anthology is quite enjoyable. Six Strange Stories is well written, thoughtful, and appropriately horrifying from one story to the next.

Picano has included an essay, H.P. Lovecraft and Time,at the anthology conclusion. It neatly and fondly summarizes the author’s thoughts on Lovecraft while giving an indirect nod to the underlying theme for the anthology stories: how each character begins to comprehend their own doom and inability to change it.

A five-star anthology about that moment you realize your fate is not your own.

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