It is fitting that I should close out January’s Bloodlight and lead in to Women in Horror Month with a review of Cate Gardner’s Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits.
I think many people get the wrong impression of horror. It’s almost a dirty word in some cases, as it conjures up images of blood-soaked axes and mask-clad madmen.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m a horror lover through and through, and I am obviously not averse to the use of a little grisly gore to get the blood pumping.
But these days, authors everywhere are experimenting when it comes to horror fiction, and Cate’s book is a shining example of how one can add magic, surrealism, lyricism and beauty to the blood-soaked genre, and come away with something that is beautiful in its darkness.
With both shorter and longer pieces, as well as some prose mixed in for good measure, this sampling is meant to be enjoyed as you fancy.
Feel like indulging in a little fantastical fiction? Or maybe have a craving for something sinister or macabre?
There are stories for every palette here, and Cate’s intoxicating way with words will leave you wanting more.
There is atmosphere in every tale, like in The Scratch of An Old Record, where the sound echoes “along the upstairs hallway” and the mood creeps yet still manages to entice.
Not only do I envy Cate’s ability to weave these magical tales that entrance the reader so fully, she also masters the craft of creating titles that conjure up stark images that immediately draw one in.
From The Moth Brigade:
“Michael’s metal wings folded back as he tried to fade into the backdrop of the underground train.”
“Perched on a rusting shopping trolley, three fathoms below the surface, the man in the top hat and pinstripe suit wound a necklace made from teeth and bone around his knuckles.”
From The Forest Of Discarded Hearts:
“On a Tuesday morning in October, Ruby Ash discovered it is possible to disappear overnight; that all it takes is someone willing to wish you away”
Whether Cate is telling the tale of a curmudgeonly writer and the man in the white jacket who could be the answer to his lost nightmares (Insomniac Ink), the story of Sally Stevens and the magic parasol that allows her to fly as high as the heavens (Parasol Dance With The Chalkstripe Man), or the Grim Reaper Man and his below-world (Other Side of Nowhere), each tale feels like a curious adventure into the daydreams of fairies, ghosts and other night-dwelling creatures.
If you are looking for a book that will treat you to an otherworldly adventure without ever leaving your room, Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits offers readers a sneak peek into wondrous worlds where, underneath the darkness, the unusual and the strange are illuminated.
Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits by Cate Gardner
Strange Publications, 191 pages
- Paperback: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble and Strange Publications
- eBook: Amazon UK and Amazon US
I want to wholeheartedly thank Cate for her wonderful posts and for sharing her mysterious and magical world. It was a real treat to have you here at Bloody Bookish!