Three interwoven tales of terror form a collage of human suffering as three separate victims are plagued by otherworldly horrors. A young girl finds herself stalked by the hypnotic eyes of her mother’s new doll, a womanizing con artist can no longer contain the plants that sprout from his fingernails, and a bitter old woman is haunted by the cryptic messages on her dead father’s typewriter.
Rattling the chains of their separate Hells, these desperate lost souls lash out against the unknown, inadvertently plunging one another deeper into their respective nightmares.
Greg Sisco pulls off an amazing feat with this would-be novel, would-be collection. He takes three powerful horror novellas each from a different first person point of view character and tells one longer interweaving story. At times the story seems chronological until you run into situations from the other tales and realize that, while overall the story isn't just one happenstance from three angles, it's actually three stories that segue into each other like a hand of three Aces waiting to be played.
There are a few scenes where the author shows us the same situation from one of the previous novellas in the collection from another character's point of view and I must admit, typically, I loathe when authors do this, because all too often it's only self-serving and a complete drag on the story. But here, Sisco does it briefly enough and with such powerful character revelation as to execute each of these scenes practically flawless.
Sisco's prose is tightly weaved, engrossing, twisted as hell, at times serious and penetrating, at others darkly hilarious, and even sometimes, he manages to pull off both in an extremely moving and entertaining display of skill. I lost count of how many amazing lines he was able to slip into this book. Some sending me into fits of laughter while others grabbing hold of that existential cord that pulls together wonder and terror.
Fans of one-protagonist/one-viewpoint novels might have a hard time with the three separate viewpoints that make up this story, but I found it to be a fascinating balanced whole regardless. If you're to look at this book as a collection of stories, it has the further treat of each tale standing on its own. However, if you read these in order as I did (or maybe even out of order as well?), you'll likely find yourself unable to put the book down until you've read all three and know the complete story.
My only complaint would be that toward the end of the last story there was a moment when the prose became a tad bit too heavy with character internalization, but the moment is so brief it doesn't warrant me taking off any stars.
I own several other books by Mr. Sisco and have yet to read them. That will be changing soon for sure. It would appear to me after reading In Nightmares We're Alone that Greg Sisco is one of the best kept secrets in modern horror and dark humor. I think it's time we let the proverbial cat out of the bag!
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