The Twisted Ones (2019) by T. Kingfisher


A woman goes to clean up her dead grandmother’s house and ends up in a tribute of sorts to Arthur Machen’s horror classic The White People. Gone, however, are old Arthur’s Victorian stylings, replaced by a distinctively modern voice and a story that has some genuinely creepy elements.

There’s a lot of humour here, so much so that it could become distracting, if the voice of the narrator wasn’t actually consistently funny. Happily, it is. A true gem here is also the relationship between the narrator and her trusty old dog, Bongo; it’s a truly diabolical device to make even a half-hearted reader go through the book in double-quick time because you really want to know if Bongo the dog survives.

The scares in the novel appear slowly and gradually, and the truly horrific implications aren’t made clear until the final parts of the book. It’s a bit of an uphill climb to get there, especially with the long passages from a journal in the middle and the reader generally being somewhat in the “what the heck is going on here” mode for a lot of the early parts, but well worth the trip. Humour and horror clearly do mix and they mix very well.

**** (4/5)

Available now in multiple formats from Gallery/Saga Press.