Sunday, 20 January 2013

Review: Thin Men With Yellow Faces

Thin Men With Yellow Faces is part of the This Is Horror chapbook series, and is jointly written by Simon Bestwick and Gary McMahon. Sometimes when two authors I like collaborate I've found they muffle each other's voice, but other times it's more like amplification. I'm happy to say this story is very much in the latter camp.

Thin Men With Yellow Faces (and let's say right away what a great title that is) is a story perfect to read in a single setting, absorbing the grim atmosphere and allowing the tension to build. And build it most certainly does.

The set-up - child in trouble and menaced by human-like monsters - is like an episode of Doctor Who gone horribly awry, written with Northern verisimilitude and pessimism, and containing horrors that are very much adults-only. As you'd expect if you've read any of their previous work, these two authors don't stint on the chilling or grotesque.

The titular monsters are truly unforgettable, with a historical background that only makes them scarier. The story has a pleasing moral ambiguity to it, and could be read as a loose allegory about many of the horrors and injustices of the modern world (or our denial of them, at least). There's no easy get out for the characters here, and none for us either.

Overall this is a great collaboration, with the two-headed Bestwick/McMahon hybrid in fine form and breathing fire. You can (and bloody should) buy it directly from the This Is Horror site.

1 comment:

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