Thirteen Plus-1 Lovecraftian Narratives
NKPublishing (May 14, 2023)
Review by Elaine Pascale
In Thirteen Plus-1, Nancy Kilpatrick has pulled together stories from prior publications that hearken to the style of Lovecraft. While the stories were originally written as separate endeavors, there is a cohesive tone to them that makes it feel as if they were written with the endgame of this collection in mind.
Thirteen Plus-1 contains clever stories with recurring themes of catacombs, mummies, and human/insect hybrids. Kilpatrick craftily opens the anthology with “A Crazy Mistake” which delves into the origins of the human species. Thus, the beginning of Thirteen Plus-1 focuses on the literal beginning. She then bookends this with the final story: “Your Essential Unsung Hero,” which is about the end of life. This was a smart editorial strategy for a smart collection.
I enjoyed all the stories, but a few stood out. “Always a Castle?” had lush descriptions and the gothic trope of the damsel in distress being pursued within a castle. “Death Dreaming” contained an amusing litany of methods of death, and “Flesh and Bones” had a cool O’Henry twist. “Eye of the Beholder” had one of the collection’s creepiest characters with plastic surgeon, Dr. Todd. “The Visitor,” with its vacation ruined by a Palmetto bug, was as tense as it was amusing. Finally, “Your Shadow Knows You Well,” was an engaging tale of revenge horror.
If you are a fan of Lovecraft, you will enjoy this collection. Even if you do not care for Lovecraft, or are unfamiliar with his works, the stories are compelling in their own right. Thirteen Plus-1 contains gothic horror, body horror, bizarro horror, feminist horror—enough of a buffet to delight any palate.
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