book review But You Scared Me the Most: And Other Short Stories
by John Manderino
Chicago Review Press, 2016

Category: Fiction
Format: Paperback 224 pp. 5.25 x 8.25 inches
ISBN-10: 1613734751
ISBN-13: 978-1613734759
List Price $14.99

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About the Book

This collection of twenty-six dark but often humorous short stories features a pantheon of disturbed and disturbing characters, human and otherwise. Many of the stories are modern takes on classic monsters crafted with twisted plots. For example, “Wolfman and Janice” is about a werewolf who is doing the best he can under very trying circumstances. There’s an adolescent vampire-wannabe who is suffering badly: in love for the first time. In one story a grown man wears a Frankenstein mask and lives with his mother watching TV and eating corn chips all day while being afraid of work. Other stories feature characters who seem perfectly normal until they're alone. Phil, for instance, is never so happy as when he’s with his inflatable girlfriend Vanessa—until she tells him the devastating truth about himself. Elderly Ellen is running out of patience with her dead husband George, who’s turned prankish. More than just standard monster stories, the tales in But You Scared Me the Most reveal the dark heart of human nature.

"...plumbs the depth of domestic horror in these fleeting but beguiling stories about ghosts, murders, monsters and madmen."
"Clever fables about nightmares both real and imagined."

Left Bank Books
"From stories about monsters that seem all too human to stories about humans who seem all too monstrous...this collection was a delight to read. Manderino's sense of humor is on point."

Cory Johnston, The Literary Review
"It is the effortless way in which the fever dreams of imagination are wrangled and subdued that makes these stories resonate so strongly."

Publishers Weekly
"Manderino infuses each story with wit and well-observed detail."

Karen Crighton, Horror Talk
"John Manderino has captured the fearful, wonderful, strange and inscrutable experience of being alive."

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