Week 266 – Weekly Horror Short Story Reviews: Kantor, Abraham, Narnia, and Klein

Welcome to Week 266 of my horror short fiction review project! This week we are starting with a new collection: T.E.D. Klein’s Reassuring Tales. Lots of really good stories this week–I genuinely enjoyed all four–but my favorite was probably “Flat Diane” by Daniel Abraham because of the originality of the premise. But gosh is it dark.

The Black Magic Omnibus, edited by Peter Haining (Taplinger, 1976)

“The Witch Doctor of Rosy Ridge” by MacKinlay Kantor

Really nice tale of backcountry folk magic/folk medicine. The local witch/herbalist raises her orphaned grandson, who everyone calls Thin Jimmy. He starts falling in love with the daughter of the local physician. She gets very sick while her father is away on extended travel and Thin Jimmy must save her life, though he’s also got to deal with a local man who is his romantic rival. Sometimes I find rural stories like these annoying if they use too much dialect, but this one didn’t suffer from that. Very enjoyable read.

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer (Tor, 2012)

“Flat Diane” by Daniel Abraham

You know those silly “Flat Stanley” things where children would mail a two-dimensional character off to people all over the world and they would take photos of Flat Stanley’s adventures in other places? Here we have a little girl named Diane doing the same. She’s a troubled child and her parents are going through a nasty divorce and her mother has moved across the country. Things take a downward turn when it becomes clear that Diane is somehow empathically picking up things that people do near Flat Diane. (She discovers that her uncle is beating his wife, for example.) The problem comes when a pedophile takes the Flat Diane and begins taunting the girl and her father with lewd photos. Diane’s father must do whatever it takes to help his daughter. I really liked this one.

Knifepoint Horror: The Transcripts, Volume 1, by Soren Narnia (self-published, 2018)


Sean Locksley is a college student whose friend disappears on Halloween under mysterious circumstances. Sean ends up pursuing the matter and finds out what happened to his friend. Excellently creepy tale.

Reassuring Tales: Expanded Edition, by T.E.D. Klein (Pickman’s Press, 2021)

[previously reviewed] “The Events at Poroth Farm”

“One Size Eats All”

Three boys are staying overnight on a hike up a mountain. One of the boys has just gotten a new sleeping bag and for some reason he’s terrified of it. I love this one because the boys’ interactions felt so real, as did the seemingly irrational fear of the sleeping bag, which seems so important when you’re a child and so silly as an adult.

Buy the book on Amazon

Buy the book on Amazon

Buy the book on Amazon

Buy the book on Amazon

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