Richard Wright's Reviews > Pretty Little Dead Things

Pretty Little Dead Things by Gary McMahon
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Mar 19, 11

bookshelves: 2011
Read from February 26 to March 13, 2011

In a world packed with first person supernatural thrillers, you really need to bring something new to the field if you want to make an impression. What McMahon offers up is a world view stripped of joy and hope, creating a bleak, sunless environment that's refreshing. Thomas Usher, narrator of the piece, is an emotionally crippled hero, unable to move on from the death of his wife and child many years before, in what he has long believed to be a tragic car accident. Cursed somehow with the ability to see the dead, who are drawn to seek his help in helping them move on, he has drifted from horror to horror, waiting for his family to come to him. As the novel opens, he has been avoiding his ability after a bad experience (the short story of which is added to the book as an extra) some months before, but it isn't long before the murders of three women connected to a sleazy club force him back into the game. The writing is splendid, and McMahon's presentation of the points where the supernatural and natural drift together is unique, and makes for some captivating moments. If the novel has a downside, it's that Usher's self-pity, and the genuinely grim plot, can be heavy going at times, and I wished sometimes for some light to offset all the gloom. On balance, this doesn't detract from a captivating read, featuring some extraordinary creations (the horrific Mr Shiloh being one I suspect and hope Usher will meet again), beautifully packaged up by Angry Robot Books.
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