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How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend (Necon Modern Horror Book 9) Kindle Edition
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Top customer reviews
Addison’s poetry is somehow simultaneously visceral and melodic. Her command of meter is ideal for dark poetry and the resulting work is a dimly lit path you feel compelled to follow. Lulled by the seductive syntax of the verse, it is only at the end of the poem that you realize the character you’ve been following has come to grief.
The short stories in this book are varied in their scope. Some combine a subtle horror with conjure magic that reminds me of my own childhood. Other stories fuse science fiction elements into the horror for a tale that feels shockingly like a premonition of the not-so distant future. Read it all at once, or read it in sections, taking time to digest each tale. Just make sure you read it.
The book contains 35 short stories and poems. They occur in roughly equal numbers, which means that most of the book, in terms of pages or words, is fiction. Twenty of these 35 pieces are reprints, mostly from two previous collections. (As far as I know, those chapbooks are not available in digital form.)
The introduction is by the author, and most of it consists of a poem composed primarily of the titles of other poems and stories that appear in the book. Addison begins the introduction by confessing that she has always loved words, and that she likes turning titles into poems. I have always loved words too, and I enjoyed this poem. It is entitled "Linda to Linda," and, despite its origin from a list of titles, it is smooth and coherent. "Linda to Linda" is not listed in the table of contents. So I guess that means there are 36 pieces in How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend.
I like the stories very much, but won't review them here. They are all supernatural horror. In this review I call it mainstream horror, to distinguish it from dark fantasy or dark science-fiction or other genre-marginal writing. I don't mean the kind of story in which the only horror element is contributed by evil humans.
Most of the poetry in this book is set squarely within the horror genre. The poems that appeal most to me are those that, in one fashion or another, break outside that classification. For instance, "Forever Dead" is a zombie's wish, definitely not your usual zombie fare. Some of these poems are not really horror at all. At least, not as I define it. "After I Ate the Apple" is a powerful mythic piece. Here's a sample:
Found magic in my hands and my hips,
found even a look could stir things up
so I stirred and stirred
making little and big things.
"In this Strange Place" is a ghost story.
I have all the time, it waits in my arms,
newborn, forgotten, silent, there is no
way to break the frozen moment,
today or tomorrow or all the days to come.
How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend consists of alternating stories and poems. In terms of words or pages the book is at least 80% fiction, even though the two kinds of pieces are almost equally numerous. Also, I like nearly all of the fiction, even though most of it is clearly mainstream horror (which is not really my cup of tea). I like some of the poetry a great deal, mostly the poems that have unique features that make them stand out. I cannot recommend buying this book primarily for the poetry, but I can recommend buying it if you like short horror fiction. Think of the poetry as the icing on the cake.