Short Story Review: “The Cripple and Starfish” by Caitlin R. Kiernan

4 of 5 stars.

Vampire lore is both rich and varied, coming from many scattered cultures across the world. With a solid grounding in the Romanian tradition, this vignette from the predators’ POV almost plays out as a ghost story as echoes from the past and unanswered thirsts and questions haunt the condemned souls like shadows.

At an annual, mid-Winter gathering of The Silver Lady’s court at a burnt-out hotel in Appalachian New York, most of the vampires debauch and feast on wayward travelers as the cruel eyes of the Lady watch. One vampire, picked by lottery, will be fed to the Lady at the gathering’s culmination.

Two vampires separate from the rest elsewhere on the grounds and put their restlessness into thoughts and words. While doting Willie Love, nee Hiram Levi, philosophizes about the vampire condition and the state of souls and bodies, Marjorie Marie seeks answers to her century-old turning and the missing memories from that night . . .

This tale appears in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2016 edited by Paula Guran, I received directly from Prime Books. Kiernan’s tales are consistently good if not brilliant. I’ve previously read her “The Bone’s Prayer”, “Bridle”, “The Cats of River Street (1925)”, “Dancy vs. the Pterosaur”, “The Mermaid of the Concrete Ocean”, “The Peddler’s Tale, or Isobel’s Revenge”, and “The Transition of Elizabeth Haskings”




[Check out my other reviews here.]


One response to “Short Story Review: “The Cripple and Starfish” by Caitlin R. Kiernan

  1. Pingback: Short Story Review: “The Maltese Unicorn” by Caitlin R. Kiernan | Jaffalogue

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