From the New York Times bestselling author of Bird Box and Malorie, a novella collection in which every story reveals a sinister secret about a mysterious small town
Goblin seems like any other ordinary small town. But with the master storyteller Josh Malerman as your tour guide, you’ll discover the secrets that hide behind its closed doors. These six novellas tell the story of a place where the rain is always falling, nighttime is always near, and your darkest fears and desires await. Welcome to Goblin. . . .
A Man in Slices: A man proves his “legendary love” to his girlfriend with a sacrifice even more daring than Vincent van Gogh’s–and sends her more than his heart.
Kamp: Walter Kamp is afraid of everything, but most afraid of being scared to death. As he sets traps around his home to catch the ghosts that haunt him, he learns that nothing is more terrifying than fear itself.
Happy Birthday, Hunter!: A famed big-game hunter is determined to capture–and kill–the ultimate prey: the mythic Great Owl who lives in Goblin’s dark forests. But this mysterious creature is not the only secret the woods are keeping.
Presto: All Peter wants is to be like his hero, Roman Emperor, the greatest magician in the world. When the famous magician comes to Goblin, Peter discovers that not all magic is just an illusion.
A Mix-Up at the Zoo: The new zookeeper feels a mysterious kinship with the animals in his care . . . and finds that his work is freeing dark forces inside him.
The Hedges: When his wife dies, a man builds a hedge maze so elaborate no one ever solves it–until a little girl resolves to be the first to find the mysteries that wait at its heart.
I’ve read several books by this author and consider myself a fan, but this is probably my least favorite.
I like the concept of six novellas with a common theme – this one being the bizarre town of Goblin. There’s a bit of overlap with some of the stories – names of businesses, the mention of another character, etc. – but each stands on its own. It’s one seriously creepy town with some sinister residents and not a place you’d want to visit. Given its origin story, it’s no wonder such heinous events have occurred throughout the town’s history. My favorite of the six stories would have to be Presto. I felt Peter’s excitement at meeting his hero magician in person, and the idea of a magician practicing “dark” magic was deliciously macabre.
The author really knows how to set an eerie tone and make you almost dread what might be waiting around the corner for his characters or under their bed. Considering these six stories are novellas, he also does an admirable job with characterization in just a few pages. It was mainly the story endings that didn’t work for me. Most of them left me frustrated after such a tantalizing plot buildup only to be let down at the finish.
Although this isn’t my favorite Malerman book, it certainly won’t prevent me from reading his next one. Reviews seem to be split, so other readers may enjoy it more.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.