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Tales of darkness and inexplicable happenings have always been with us—and always will. In its contemporary form, this sort of story is not only alive and well, but flourishing, and it continues to speak to us in a variety of voices. Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 3 is the latest installment in an acclaimed anthology series, and it brings together ten voices—some familiar, some less so—that are at once distinctive, compelling, and irresistible.
The volume opens with award-winning novelist Kat Howard’s “An Ordinary Progression of Hearts,” an elegant meditation on the fragility of the human heart; and closes with acclaimed newcomer P. Djèlí Clark’s “Skin Magic,” a stunning account of sorcery and dark magic set in an unnamed third world country. Elsewhere in the anthology, Caitlin R. Kíernan (“Cherry Street Tango, Sweat Box Waltz”) offers a piece of near-future noir in which a “blackstrap” (a hired assassin) contemplates the failure of her latest murderous assignment. “At the Threshold of Your Bedchamber on the Fifth Night” by Sarah Gailey is the tale of a courtship that leads to a most unusual consummation. In “Final Course,” a rare short story by rising star C.J. Tudor, the reunion of old school friends takes a savage and unexpected turn. In addition to these and other stellar tales by the likes of Bentley Little, Richard Kadrey, Stephen Gallagher and Ian R. MacLeod, Tales of Dark Fantasy 3 contains Robert R. McCammon’s “Death Comes for the Rich Man,” a rare novella set in Colonial America and featuring McCammon’s popular “problem solver,” Matthew Corbett.
“The striking third volume in Subterranean Press’s series of dark fantasy anthologies comprises 10 masterful, original tales... A woman witnesses the purchase and renovation of her former home in Stephen Gallagher’s brilliant ghost story ‘Twisted Hazel,’ which is told with such finesse as to put readers in mind of haunting masters Shirley Jackson and Daphne du Maurier. The other standout, Robert McCammon’s ‘Death Comes for the Rich Man,’ is a powerful gothic tale of failed parenthood and fast approaching death… Devotees of dark fantasy won’t want to pass up this excellent anthology.”