Horror is subjective, of course. It’s an emotion more than a genre. I’ve read horrific crime stories, horrific dramas, horrific comedies (take out the laugh tracks and prat falls in any comedy and the situations usually creep toward horror). But it’s a rare thing indeed to be scared by a piece of fiction. Grossed out? Sure. Unsettled to the point of sleepless nights? Yeah. But scared? Like visceral, heart-pounding FEAR? Rare indeed.
This brings me to Philip Fracassi’s Fragile Dreams. This novella, published by Journalstone, scared me, man. It put me in a claustrophobic nightmare and KEPT ME THERE for the whole ride. The horror built upon itself, and I found myself looking away from the page to gasp or to just take a breather before diving back in under the rubble.
Fracassi wormed his way into my secret heart, my safe place, and he found a raw nerve and started slicing away at it. Pennywise scared me in Stephen King’s It. The thing living at the end of the corridor in The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle scared me. The voices in the vents in Laird Barron’s “The Broadsword” scared me. And what happens during Matthew’s perilous job interview in Fragile Dreams scared me.
Thanks, Philip. I’ll be anxiously awaiting your next one.
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