An odd assemblage of short writings.


Cederborg’s debut reads like a dream journal of mystical tales, poetry and nonfiction essays that reflect her Danish culture.

Three sections make up this thin volume: “Fantastic Tales, Fables and Stories of Realities Beyond Reality,” “Poems,” and “The Weird World of Reality: Ezine-Articles.” The author’s brief tales—the longest of which runs six pages—range from the terrifying to the enchanted, from a spirit who visits a young widow to impregnate her with the Antichrist to a congress of African animals that discusses the barbarity of humans. In one tale, a man on a train attacks a newspaper with scissors, leaving behind a “slaughterhouse” of the “severed facial traits of celebrities.” In the next, an underdeveloped giraffe named Oliver learns to triumph from his shortcomings. In another, an orphan named Sylvia challenges “Mr. Reaper Mortuus” and eventually banishes him with a swift blow of her Barbie doll. One part Hans Christian Anderson—whom Cederbourg references often, including a short, compelling essay on the author’s “discarded sister”—and one part Aesop’s fables, with a little bit of O. Henry thrown in, Cederborg’s stories read as if transcribed from someone speaking a halting, overly formal English—which suits a few of the more bizarre tales well but can confuse the reader. Overall, the book is incohesive and unfocused. The stories are rife with redundancies—at one point, a narrator writes of “a quite handsome and also nice-looking man.” The book also contains numerous typos and simple mistakes. In the essay, “When Women Were Punished for Being Women,” Cederborg confuses “loose” with “lose” in two different contexts within the same paragraph, when she discusses “lose” women not being “let lose” from an island prison in Denmark. The poetry that fills out the center is economical but undisciplined and unremarkable. The essays, or “e-zine articles,” that close the book contain some mysterious facts and myths from the characters of Cederborg’s hometown of Copenhagen, but they don’t bring the various pieces assembled here into a compelling whole.

An odd assemblage of short writings.

Pub Date: June 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-1456776893

Page Count: 116

Publisher: AuthorHouseUK

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2012

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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  • New York Times Bestseller


Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills.


A former thief who specialized in stealing magical documents is forced back into her old habits in Black's adult debut.

Charlie Hall used to work as a thief, stealing for and from magicians—or rather, “gloamists.” In this world, gloamists are people with magical shadows that are alive, gaining strength from the gloamists' own blood. A gloamist can learn to manipulate the magic of their shadow, doing everything from changing how it looks to using it to steal, possess a person, or even murder. Gloamists hire nonmagical people like Charlie to steal precious and rare magical documents written by their kind throughout history and detailing their research and experiments in shadow magic. Gloamists can use onyx to keep each other from sending shadows to steal these treasures, but onyx won't stop regular humans from old-fashioned breaking and entering. After Charlie’s talent for crime gets her into too much trouble, she swears off her old career and tries to settle down with her sensible boyfriend, Vince—but when she finds a dead man in an alley and notices that even his shadow has been ripped to pieces, she can’t help trying to figure out who he was and why he met such a gruesome end. Before she knows it, Charlie is forced back into a life of lies and danger, using her skills as a thief to find a book that could unleash the full and terrifying power of the shadow world. Black is a veteran fantasy writer, which shows in the opening pages as she neatly and easily guides the reader through the engrossing world of gloamists, magical shadows, and Charlie’s brand of criminality. There's a lot of flipping back and forth between the past and the present, and though both timelines are well plotted and suspenseful, the story leans a touch too hard on the flashbacks. Still, the mystery elements are well executed, as is Charlie’s characterization, and the big twist at the end packs a satisfying punch.

Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-81219-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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