A collection of supernatural short stories from debut author Dimmett.
When a bus carrying laborers breaks down at a “desolate spot at the south end of The Great Basin,” the workers find themselves without much to do to pass the time. Once a campfire roars, the men begin swapping tales. As with most campfire stories, theirs tend toward ghosts, howling canines (most of the stories contain at least one) and a variety of screams. Nearly all center around someone—or something—at the end of his rope, and more frequently than not, this person happens to be in an old building. In “The Inheritance,” a man inherits a hunting cabin in West Virginia only to discover that it’s host to a number of surprises, not the least of which is a group of pesky bears. “White Dog” features a young couple in a rented house who encounter everything from bad plumbing to a neighbor who seems to really like washing his dog. “The Lighthouse” tracks a man attempting to repair a historical lighthouse who experiences ghostly figures and plenty of thunder. Descriptions and metaphors don’t always work here, as when the narrator of “The Lighthouse” describes his wife: “Then there were her eyes: big, soft gray eyes that looked as if they could do all the crying for the whole world.” Then again these aren’t professional raconteurs, merely men looking to pass some time and frighten each other a bit. Readers expecting calculated suspense and even structure are unlikely to find it. The short narratives do a good job, however, of sounding like what they purport to be: tales that waver between the believable and the fantastic told by average people. Motivations may not always seem incredibly sound (such as in “Getting Out of Dodge,” where a mad man essentially kidnaps a co-worker so he can work on his car), but the tellers themselves may strike readers as people they know, full of anecdotes they may not.
Readers interested in smoky, spooky, imperfect stories will enjoy the collection.