Strange Horizons, September 14, 2015
Reviewed by Joshua Berlow
“The World in Evening” by Jei D. Marcade is another moody horror piece, not unlike last week’s offering.
Taxidermy is inherently creepy to begin with. This tale features a taxidermist named Harley whose alter-ego is Rook. Harley becomes Rook at night, and as Rook he hunts monsters. Harley/Rook’s lonely solitary existence is impacted suddenly by new neighbors who move in across the street.
There are a few familiar horror tropes in this tale all at once: Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde, taxidermy, monsters, weird guy living alone and working down in his basement, a hidden locked room, creepy neighbors, even the possibility that Harley might not have the purest of intentions regarding a fourteen-year old girl nicknamed “Mouse.” But this stew of tropes is handled well, with just enough ambiguity to give it some kick. I admit I had to read it twice before I understood what was going on, but maybe that’s just me.
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