... does what we expect the work of our best writers to do: reflect our world from a surprising perspective so that we might better see its beauty and contradictions, its comforts and aches. In these 19 stories, Tremblay doesn’t just hold a mirror up to reality, but live-streams it, projecting the whole spectrum of our modern anxieties so vividly it feels as if we’re watching in real time ... Whatever the subject, Tremblay’s perspective guides the experience, bringing readers back to what interests him most: the distortions of technology, the dangerous unreliability of other people, and how we survive in a changing, often unknowable world.
And god, these stories. They take you like a bullet just south of the heart, opening something up inside you that feels awful and wrong and full of poison ... should be read in order for the full effect. The placement of every single story doesn't matter, but the placement of some of them absolutely do. It should be read in big, frantic gulps, like breathing while nearly drowning. And when you're done, read the author's notes at the end. Because Tremblay explaining himself is precisely the kind of decompression required. To sit, for just a moment, with the entirely normal man behind these stories and have him tell you that it's all okay, that they really are just stories, nothing more, written between preparing for the classes he had to teach and vacations with his family, is ... comforting somehow. A slow return to reality.
... brilliantly takes ordinary situations and seamlessly sprinkles in a sense of unease that quickly builds to a sense of pure horror ... All are anchored by a variety of strong narrative voices that expertly guide the reader through extremely dark emotions, smoothing out the potentially bumpy ride into an enjoyable experience to terrifying depths. These are stories that live in the increasing popular space between literary fiction and horror, where speculative terrors and very real universal truths collide, much like the works of Stephen Graham Jones, John Langan, and Jac Jemc.