Short Take: “The Hair Wreath and Other Stories,” Halli Villegas

Pros: Deeply engrossing tales
Cons: Some stories end far too abruptly
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Hair Wreath and Other Stories, by Halli Villegas, is a wonderful collection of horror and paranormal tales. Particularly at first I felt that some of them ended entirely too abruptly, when they just seemed to be hitting their stride, leaving me saying, “what was that?” They were still intriguing; they just didn’t entirely deliver on that intrigue. I found the rest of them so engrossing, however, that overall I love the book.

Many of the stories are surreal little nuggets. There are mysterious killings, and plenty of ghosts. Some hauntings are paranormally-based while others are purely human. People vanish and people die. Most of these are modern horror, but there’s even one sci-fi story; it’s focused enough on the horror that I think it didn’t particularly break the feel of the book. Many stories’ endings go unexplained (particularly those stories that end precipitously). I found many of the stories, particularly the longer ones, really engrossing. I just wish more of the tales had at least a smidgen of denouement. Or even, in some cases, an actual ending rather than simply a cessation of story.

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