As a reader of dark horror and fantasy for most of my life, I do not scare easily. However, Goblin put some chills down my spine and created vivid horrific images that I will not soon forget ... what an ending ... I especially enjoyed how the six stories do not run into each other but are cleverly sprinkled with suggestions and brief allusions to the others. This collection is a wicked hybrid of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone and Stephen King’s Creepshow as each story features a blend of the ironic and the horrific. It is a must-read for any fan of the supernatural genre.
Among the running motifs in the book is a hint of folk horror, as Goblin’s backstory includes land avoided by the local Indigenous population before white settlers arrived because of the horrors found there—a riff on familiar genre tropes that never quite gets enough room to breathe on its own. The good thing about Goblin's structure is that it allows Malerman to work in a host of styles. The tricky part, though, is that some of these novellas don’t work as well as others. Some of that may come down to personal taste, to be sure ... Goblin’s best moments come when Malerman taps into a vein of Bradbury-esque weird nostalgia and then takes it somewhere unexpected ... the ambition is impressive in and of itself.