Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Recommendation: Probably Monsters by Ray Cluley
But there's enough variety here to mean that's not a concern, even over the course of twenty stories. The settings range from rundown British housing estates (The Festering) to pristine Russian wilderness (Where The Salmon Run); the style varies from the dark as hell Knock Knock, through weird Westerns, to the Hollywood cliche parodying Shark! Shark! The latter in particular is a joy, a magic trick where you can't see how it's done: fourth wall breaking narration and overt cinematic references somehow coming together to make a superbly scary story. Other highlights include Beachcombing, Night Fishing and my own personal favourite, I Have Heard The Mermaids Singing (I'm a sucker for a TS Eliot reference), a story about decompression sickness and human corruption and possibly even mermaids themselves that, upon finishing (and picking my jaw up from the floor) I immediately turned back and read again.
I'm purposely avoiding saying to much about the plots of these stories because they're so well constructed; everything dovetails so neatly together that if I started to describe the opening of one of the stories here I wouldn't know where to stop. So rather than risk saying too much, I won't start.
Accomplished, atmospheric and an admirable showcase for Cluley's undoubted talents, Probably Monsters is likely to be up there with the best collections of the year.