Short Story Review: “Hairwork” by Gemma Files

3 of 5 stars.

America’s sordid history of slavery and the thousands of untold stories therein come to life in this horror mash-up–two parts Obeah voodoo and one part Lovecraft.

Alternating between equally unsettling first and second person narration, the tale weaves together a centuries-old curse. The first person narrator is a dead former slave that created a second life for herself as a medium and as an agent of revenge for the sake of her ancestors. The second person you is an art dealer hunting for the dark history of the deceased medium and a famous painting of her that’s rumored to be within the decrepit plantation house. [In a nod to Lovecraft, the “painter” of said painting is Innsmouth artist Frank Marsh of Lovecraft mythos.]

This tale appears in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2016 edited by Paula Guran, I received directly from Prime Books. I’ve previously read her “Blood Makes Noise”, “The Jacaranda Smile”, and “A Wish from a Bone”.




[Check out my other reviews here.]

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