When it comes to most horror I’m a giant chicken, but I do love Poe and Lovecraft. Their stories give me chills, but don’t leave me wide-eyed and awake at night. That and I can generally handle scary books better than scary movies. I took a little gamble on Orrin Grey’s Painted Monsters because it could have been the kind of thing that makes me sleep with the light on. Luckily it wasn’t.
What it is is a collection of great horror stories. As the title implies, many stories feature some kind of beast or monster(s), but there is also a great amount of suspense and imagery. I love Grey’s writing style. It is quick, witty, atmospheric, and cinematic. Not only is he good at setting up edge-of-your-seat plots and spine tingling scenes but he has talent at putting together good characters. I was surprised at the diverse cast of characters and how well put together many of them were.
Grey is very obviously well acquainted with all kinds of horror media. This collection is full of book and movie references. I’m not even close to being on his level so many of the references went over my head. However, this did not hurt my enjoyment of the stories too much. There were a few times where I felt a little left out or the hat tipping to other work got a little too distracting, but if you’re clueless like me you’ll probably still enjoy the stories and if you’re a big horror buff (particularly the classic stuff) you’ll be in heaven.