Excellent, beautifully written collection of short stories. I enjoyed each and every one of these stories and found them to be disturbing, chilling, suspenseful and thought provoking and sometimes even sad.
My favorite of the six, though it was hard to choose a favorite, was “Mystery, Inc.”, which every mystery book lover will devour like candy (pun not intended for those who have read the story). I felt like I was reading an Edgar Allan Poe story that I had somehow missed over the years. As for the title story, “The Doll-Master”, I’ve always found dolls to be a bit eerie. I remember as a child sitting with all my dolls having a tea party when I realized they were all staring at me with those big blank eyes and I’d get frightened and have to leave the room. This doll story by Ms. Oates was quite different from what I had expected. “Equatorial”, “Gun Accident” and “Big Momma” all kept me on the edge of my seat with suspense. “Soldier” is a most timely story.
These stories are proof that there is no need for excessive gore and over-the-top fantasy to write a great horror story. I’ve read reviews that these aren’t horror stories but I’m sure if you encountered any of these happenings in your normal day, they would certainly register as total horror. Joyce Carol Oates proves again that she is a master at quietly finding the dark areas in every-day lives.
Whether these stories can be considered thrillers, horror or engrossing character studies, the book is highly recommended by me.
This book was given to me by the publisher through NetGalley and Edelweiss in return for an honest review.