A first-time fiction author brings an African-American sensibility to the whites-mostly field of horror in these 14 strongly plotted stories.
Fleming’s tales lean on moods and soul-states as much as blood. He steps out best foot forward with an erotic variation on the Beauty and the Beast theme: “Life After Bas” tells of Madame Baye, a Creole/Cajun sired by the werewolf Loup Garou and born with a magical caul. In a New Orleans asylum, she insists she has come back from the dead as she “sits in a darkened room, a padded room, a room with wire mesh over the windows.” At the same time, we are told that Madame Baye is chained “spread-eagle” to a bed from which she can vanish even when straitjacketed to reappear in another ward. Despite such inconsistencies, the richly finished story would be worth building into a short novel. “The Tenderness of Monsieur Blanc” introduces Roy Capote, Scholar of Death, Democracy’s enforcer, and the State Department’s golden hit man. Sent on a nasty purging mission into the anguished capital of Haiti, Roy finds himself up against Voudoun and the Undead, whom no bullet can stop. Best of all is “The Wisdom of the Serpents,” wherein a wealthy young American truth seeker goes to the Far East and returns buried in the ravaged body of a man in his late 80s.
Pleasing expedition into the moon-mad world of the supernatural.