Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke And Other Misfortunes – Eric LaRocca

Julia Lloyd’s cover art might have been what brought me here in the first place but I was sucked in by each of the three stories included in this collection.

Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke

Over the course of three months, Agnes and Zoe exchanged a series of emails and instant messages. This redacted communication give you unprecedented access to their relationship, which continually ups the ante in its toxicity. It’s compelling and cringey and unsettling, and I couldn’t look away. And to think, this all happened because of an apple peeler.

“What have you done today to deserve your eyes?”

The Enchantment

Parents grieving the loss of their son become winter caretakers on an island. A knock at the door changes everything.

“I’m here to share a message”

You’ll Find It’s Like That All Over

Mr. Fowler finds something in his backyard that shouldn’t be there. His discovery leads him to his neighbour’s home, where the stakes are raised.

“But I bet you’d fancy another bet.”

I flew through this book. While I wish there were more stories included, I enjoyed all three. There’s a common theme of connection and some very memorable scenes of body horror.

The son’s manner of death in The Enchantment didn’t seem physically possible but, because it fit with one of the themes of the story, I wasn’t overly concerned about the question marks that popped up over my head when I read about it.

The story that’s going to stay with me the longest is Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke, especially the scene describing Agnes’ dinner. I definitely want to read more books by this author.

Content warnings include mention of child abuse, death by suicide, death of animals, homophobia, miscarriage, racism and suicidal ideation. Readers with emetophobia may have trouble with some scenes.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Titan Books for the opportunity to read this collection.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Three dark and disturbing horror stories from an astonishing new voice, including the viral-sensation tale of obsession, Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke. For fans of Kathe Koja, Clive Barker and Stephen Graham Jones.

A whirlpool of darkness churns at the heart of a macabre ballet between two lonely young women in an internet chat room in the early 2000s – a darkness that threatens to forever transform them once they finally succumb to their most horrific desires. 

A couple isolate themselves on a remote island in an attempt to recover from their teenage son’s death, when a mysterious young man knocks on their door during a storm…

And a man confronts his neighbour when he discovers a strange object in his back yard, only to be drawn into an ever-more dangerous game.

From Bram Stoker Award finalist Eric LaRocca, this is devastating, beautifully written horror from one of the genre’s most cutting-edge voices.

What have you done today to deserve your eyes?

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