The Skeleton Melodies by Clint Smith
Trade Paperback – Hippocampus Press – Aug 2020 – 324 pages
In this second collection of short stories, following Ghouljaw and Other Stories (2014), Clint Smith shows why his multifaceted talents have established him as one of the notable weird writers of his generation. The Skeleton Melodies features such stories as “Lisa’s Pieces,” a grisly tale of cruelty and murder; “Fiending Apophenia,” in which a schoolteacher reflects poignantly on his past derelictions; “The Fall of Tomlinson Hall,” wherein Smith draws upon his own expertise in the culinary arts to fashion a story of cannibalistic terror; and “The Rive,” a highly timely post-apocalyptic account of the horrors that inequities in health care can foster.
Other stories treat of domestic strife leading to supernatural or psychological horror, such as “Animalhouse” or “The Undertow, and They That Dwell Therein.” The volume culminates in the richly textured novella “Haunt Me Still,” one of the most subtle and powerful ghost stories in recent years.