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Man with No Name

Man with No NameMan with No Name by Laird Barron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This slim volume contains two exemplary tales by the inimitable Laird Barron. The first, the novella “Man with No Name,” is an excellent reminder that nobody captures the mystery and disorientation of being caught up in unknowable supernatural forces like Barron does. Hints of a much larger and more terrifying backstory pepper this tale of a Yakuza enforcer, a popular professional wrestler, and a terrifying excursion into the liminal realm between the worlds of the natural and the supernatural. It’s an amazing piece of work, filled with darkness and disquiet.

The second story, “Blood & Stardust,” is somewhat lighter in tone, an astute and often amusing take on mad scientists and their creations. Barron shows a deep sense of compassion for his narrator, despite her many crimes, and infuses the story with his trademark hints of a wider and scarier world than we’re aware of.

Both stories provide ample evidence of why Barron is widely considered one of the finest horror authors working today. This small, two-story collection is a must-own for Barron fans, and not a bad place to start for those looking to experience his ghastly and arcane cosmos for the first time.

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