The Girl on the Swing and At Night in Crumbling Voices
Peter Grandbois is quickly building an impressive reputation for what I think of as “humanized horror”: stories where monsters from classic and cult horror films explore the darkness that lurks behind everyday life. And in his third volume of novellas, suburban living falls under his keen eye and terror-tinged microscope.
A father watches on, powerless, as his daughter transforms into something unrecognizable in “The Girl on the Swing,” and the world as a whole confronts a plague of disappearances in “At Night in Crumbling Voices.” In both stories, a man’s grip on reality falls apart as he confronts loss, but it’s the man himself, not the monster, that becomes the source of tension for the reader.
It’s insightful storytelling at its most insidious, making you wonder how you’d confront these situations. This pairing is easily Grandbois’s darkest yet—the second is particularly haunting, as our policeman protagonist grows more and more desperate—and the author is only growing more confident and capable, wielding sci-fi tropes like blades to cut to the heart of our doubts and fears. I cannot wait to see which monsters appear next and just what curious spin Grandbois has in store for them.