Shacochis' second volume of stories (after ABA-winner Easy in the Islands, 1985) collects eight more well-crafted fictions, most of them previously published in magazines. The Caribbean again lends its tropical mystery to two seemingly disparate tales. In ""Les Femmes Creoles,"" two wizened old maids, penurious sisters, lay decrepit among the ruins of their family manse, ghosts of a colonial past. ""Picture of the Week,"" equally lush in its description of flora and fauna, is haunted by memories as well--a middle-aged beatnik, prematurely widowed, is joined by a stateside friend, who helps him prepare for repatriation after years of vagabondage. Shacochis' interest in spirits and apparitions more or less links this collection, with some tales bordering on the paranormal. The dotard of ""Where Pelham Fell"" spends his last days visiting Civil War battle sights, communing with his southern ancestors, and eventually puts to rest some unsettled bones of long-gone soldiers. Similarly, ""Celebrations of the New World"" explores the infirmities of old age as two brothers drift in and out of the past as a result of the Alzheimer's disease that's part of their family legacy. The remains of the dead also figure in ""I Ate Her Heart,"" an easygoing tale that startles with its bizarre ending--the title turns out to be no metaphor. A bit of historical whimsy, ""The Trapdoor,"" transports the reader to Renaissance England, and captures the Bard backstage at a performance of that most famous of ghost-haunted plays. In ""Stolen Kiss,"" a winter caretaker of beach-homes remembers summers gone by, and his wife who spends winters in the city. The past comes out of nowhere, it seems, in ""Squirrelly's Grouper,"" the story of a cantankerous waterman, an outsider among the good ole boys of Cape Hatteras; a record-breaking catch brings him respect, but also leads to his capture and deportation as a long-sought-after Nazi. An easy wit and flawless diction mark this emerging talent.