Sophie Hannah (Profile Books) 2015, 106pp, RRP $19.99

Although Hannah is associated with psychological crime fiction and a sort of suburban English noir, this collection of four of her not-quite-short spooky stories demonstrates that she has a giftThe Visitors Book - The Clothesline for the eerily supernatural too, and a winning willingness to pull the rug from the reader when least expected.

The Visitors Book, the first offering here, is an unnerving piece about a pushy boyfriend, a half-remembered news item and the titular tome, and features a vein of humour as the narrator struggles to prove they’re not a snob – and more. The Last Boy To Leave then distracts you with a wonderfully chaotic description of a child’s birthday before a mysterious remaining kid leads this one’s narrator to realise something fairly disturbing, before we get to Justified True Belief, probably the weakest of the three (even the title annoys) and the only tale here that leaves you asking, “Huh???”

And finally there’s the somewhat self-explanatory (or maybe not) All The Dead Mothers Of My Daughter’s Friends, which manages to be uneasily funny, distinctly creepy, bitchily satirical and memorably horrible, sometimes all at the same time.

And what was that? Was it someone at the door? Or something else? You did lock up, right? Right…?

Dave Bradley

This title is available through the Allen & Unwin website. Click HERE to purchase your copy.

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