Pros: So much wonderful variety!
Rating: 5 out of 5
When I saw the concept of Howard Odentz’s Little Killers A-Z: An Alphabet of Horror, I was thrilled. Of course my mind immediately went to Edward Gorey, and that shaped my expectations. Instead, each of these stories is surprisingly distinct and different from all the rest. In most cases that would mean I’d somewhat-like an anthology, just because you’re virtually guaranteed to find a couple of stories in any collection that you’ll dislike. Not this time, though. I enjoyed every one of these stories.
In each short story, children end up killing people. Some of the children are monstrous or psychotic (or psychotic monsters–there is an element of the supernatural in some of these). Some are backed into a corner where that’s the only thing they can do to to save themselves. Sometimes it’s the lesser of two evils, or the end product of a very crazy revenge plan. Some of the children have disabilities or conditions that factor into their stories. Sometimes they seemingly come from perfectly reasonable homes. Despite the shortness of the tales, the children have a remarkable amount of depth to them. Odentz seems to excel at using a small amount of text to say a lot about a character.
I had trouble putting this book down, which is impressive because usually when reading anthologies I have no trouble putting the book down between stories. There was just such a perfect ‘feel’ to the stories that I didn’t want to stop reading them! One story was predictable enough to lose some of its power, but in general I was too glued to the page to notice many flaws.
Ultimately the methods of murder are myriad. Fern Baker was intimately familiar with them all.
Book provided free by publisher for review