cover image Tell Me When I Disappear: Vanishing Stories

Tell Me When I Disappear: Vanishing Stories

Glen Hirshberg. Cemetery Dance, $17 trade paper (152p) ISBN 978-1-58767-868-4

The seven haunting stories in this new collection from Shirley Jackson Award winner Hirshberg (Infinity Dreams) all circle horrors that, though sketched obliquely, still evoke powerful chills. In “Devil,” a disembodied shriek in the Tasmanian outback prompts a garrulous old local to terrify a vacationing family with the eerie legend of a sightseeing train that disappeared into the wilderness. A video documentarian in “Black Leg” encounters a security guard whose claim of having seen ghosts on the job eventually calls into question the firmness of the guard’s own foothold in the land of the living. And in the title tale, an optical illusion meant to entertain at a campfire outing proves a prelude to the eruption of a torrent of bizarre phenomena. Though the settings are often novel—a theme park built from abandoned railroad cars (“DestinationLand”), a drug lord’s decrepit compound (“A Paradise to Live in or See”), a storm-besieged lighthouse (“Jetty Sara”)—the characters who populate them feel so real that readers will easily buy in to their feelings of terror. These dark flights of fancy impress. (May)