In 2014, Hippocampus Press published Clint Smith’s first short story collection, Ghouljaw and Other Stories. That scintillating volume, which simultaneously drew upon the rich heritage of classic weird fiction and infused a new vibrancy into old motifs by a vibrant prose style, deft character portrayal, and innovative scenarios, was an instant hit. Now, Smith has assembled his second story collection, and it features all the virtues of his first book while adding new touches that will broaden his readership.
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.
Clint Smith is establishing an enviable reputation as a leading voice in contemporary weird fiction. This volume will only augment his high standing in the field.