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Everything That's Underneath

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  265 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Everything That’s Underneath, Kristi DeMeester’s powerful debut horror collection, is full of weird, unsettling tales that recall the styles of such accomplished storytellers as Laird Barron and Tom Piccirilli.

Crawl across the earth and dig in the dirt. Feel it. Tearing at your nails, gritty between your teeth, filling your nostrils. Consume it until it has consumed you.
Kindle Edition, 222 pages
Published August 29th 2017
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Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
I read Kristi DeMeester's book Beneath earlier this year and I was so impressed! I was eager to read something else so I jumped at the opportunity to read this collection of short stories.
I kept a journal by my bed and recorded some reoccurring themes, words and moods that are threaded throughout this collection as a whole entity and then I will highlight some of my favorite stories.
Here are some words that describe the kind of terror Kristi builds:
Organic, raw, visceral, earthen, tangible,
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
I've been hearing a lot of positive chatter about Kristi DeMeester's work lately, so I was eager to give her a try for myself, and I definitely wasn't disappointed! I'd say Everything That's Underneath is a healthy mixture of horror and speculative fiction: while some pieces were perfectly creepy, others were confusing and immersive—the kind of stories that you finish and have to clear your head for a moment because you're not sure what you just read, you just know you really liked it.

Johann (jobis89)
“Sometimes, things are meant to be lost. There are things you aren’t supposed to go looking for.”

A collection of 18 weird and unsettling tales!

*sigh* This was disappointing for me. I had heard such great things about this collection but stories that are very ambiguous and unclear are just not to my personal taste... but if those kind of stories do appeal to you, then I would highly recommend this one!

I’m a sucker for beautifully quotable writing in books, and if it was a case of me physically
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, dark-fiction
First off I want to thank my generous friend Kimberly for sharing this book with me!

All of the stories in this collection are infected with a darkness that creeps under your skin. All of them. This review would become a book in itself if I were to break down every story as I usually do with collections so I’m not going to do it this time. The other reason is the fact that many of the stories contain very similar themes and I’m lazy. Some of the stories are only two pages long but they all pack a
Leo Robertson
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and horrific collection from a stunningly original new voice.

This is a kind of surrealism that's very difficult to pull off. I loved how the stories took off into these vague worlds of lush language and self-contained logic. Weird kings referred to in passing, things lurking in the darkness only half-revealed, strange forms of (in)justice doled out upon the unsuspecting or those that invite it as they lead themselves into temptation.

I also enjoyed the realistic cruelness of some of the
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
4.0 Stars
DeMeester seriously knows how to get inside my head. Something about her descriptions and word choices always connect with some weird part of my brain.

As the title suggests, the stories played with ideas about those intangible things that live under the surface of reality. Walking the line between literary horror and weird fiction, there was quite a range within this collection. Some of the stories were more emotional, while others were more visceral or abstract. Admittedly, some of
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"There's so much more. Underneath our skin. Living and breathing and drinking in what it can. Waiting to be born. Waiting for is to gobble it up. There's power in that blood."

I really loved Everything That's Underneath. Kristi DeMeester's writing is absolutely stunning, and these stories are creepy. These are definitely atmospheric horror, and a lot of them are very dream-like. Many of them appear to be linked with recurring themes.

Last year I read Michael Wehunt's Greener Pastures, and
Scott Murray
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am immensely into the way that the author attacks her stories. Her choice of language is very stark and gross and physical in the best ways. I will be keeping an eye out for more from her in the future!
Merl Fluin
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it
There are two standout stories in this collection: "Worship Only What She Bleeds", which I had already read in Year's Best Weird Fiction 5, where it was the highlight of the anthology; and "Split Tongues", which seemed to me to be the most lucid and best realised of the stories here.

I suspect that I would also have considered many of the other stories in this collection to be standouts if I had come across them in the midst of anthologies or magazine issues full of other authors' writing.
Benjamin Uminsky
This collection was just not my cup of tea. DeMeester is a competent writer, on a whole though... I found these stories to be largely monotonous and repetitive in imagery and thematic exploration... "dirt in the mouth", bad mommies, and hungry inner darkness.

I have posted more specific comments about my thoughts on this collection here...

Mind you, this collection was well received by a few folks in our group read.


Wasn't for me.
Loved the imagery the author had with her writing in this book.
The stories all different and interesting, some seemed similar to one another.
A lot of good ones, a few so so ones, but over all a great book.
Can't say any of it was particularly scary, but creepy for sure on a few of them.
Bizarre, strange, and interesting? Absolutely.
For that, 4 stars seems like a legitimate rating for this book.

DNF after Worship What She Bleeds (about 1/3 of the way through, plus I skipped ahead and read Birthright). Read a total of 8 stories, out of 18.

This collection just isn't for me. The stories are too short, there's little development of the characters/plot (with the exception of a couple stories), and the endings left me cold and disappointed. There were some good ideas here, but I wish she'd fleshed them out into longer short stories. One of the stories was TWO PAGES. I need a lot more than
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Such a good collection. So much dread and atmosphere. Buy this book if you care about weird horror.
Stephanie (That's What She Read)
* I received this book free for review from Apex*


I was very impressed by this short story collection. There's something about the way DeMeester writes that has a dream-like quality to it. I found myself falling into this stories. I've always thought that "weird horror" wasn't my thing, but there was something about this collection that was different. Perhaps it was the way the stories were focused on human relationships (mostly mother-daughter and some romantic) with the other-worldly
Missy (myweereads)
“There so much we can’t see. Everything that’s underneath. Hiding. But it wants us to see, to pull it out from where it’s sleeping and make it beautiful again.”

This is a collection of short stories by Kirsti DeMeester designed to make you anxious and think about what lies beyond the surface. In this collection the focus is on the emotional attachment mother’s have with their children. They tell visceral tales which show the bond that can’t be broken and sometimes one which destroys. Centred
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Didn't finish this, but I read enough of the stories to know I should go read something else. Some interesting imagery in here, though.
Britny Perilli
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who isn't afraid to try something a little weird, dark, and sexy.
* Heads up, I received a free digital copy of this book from Apex Books in exchange for a fair and honest review. *

Darkness is a hard thing to capture. Beyond the basic descriptions of fear and the physicality of what has surrounded us, everything is a free-for-all. We all see our worst fears in the dark and it's going to be different for each person. With that said, I admit that this collection took me longer to read than I thought it would. This wasn't a binge read for me and I could only
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy smokes, this collection is amazing. Beautiful, haunting, eerie and dreamy. This one kept me up past my bedtime for several nights.
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
I love a short story collection that shows cohesion even though the stories are all distinctly separate, living in their own dark worlds. DeMeester's short tales have that kind of versatility, where they are interested in unpacking similar themes but never follow the same fanged rabbit down the same twisted hole twice.

Many of these stories, some just a page or two, some closer to twenty pages, center around the idea of transformation, of the liminal quality of the body and the different ways it
Michael Benavidez
So I think it's important to state that I was given this book as a gift, and as such, I knew absolutely nothing about the book. There was no blurb to describe it on the back, and not wanting to screw with my expectations, I didn't bother to read any reviews or figure out what it's about. I only knew it was short stories because of the quote at the top of the book. That was all.

And to say that these are short stories is an understatement, many are over and done with within 5 pages (though as you
There is a hole in the bottom of the world," her mother panted, writhed under that gaping mouth.
"You know that moment right before you fall asleep? That moment where you can feel yourself falling? All that solid earth beneath you suddenly dropping away into nothingness? That's the hole opening. [...] These are the small ways we die, Violet. Every day, another part of us rotting. Bags of meat and bone."
The Marking, Kristi DeMeester

Kristi DeMeester presents us with 18 short stories which
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My personal favorite from Kristi DeMeester’s debut collection is Like Feather, Like Bone. It’s such an exquisite little bite of horror; grotesquerie neatly balanced by deft brushstrokes of compassion and grief.

There is something deeply unsettling at the core of each of these stories. As if everything we need to be solid and real-family, love, a home, even (especially) the earth beneath our feet-might break away like rice paper to reveal rot and terror.

There are stories here that I find myself
Romi || Romi Reads
Everything That’s Underneath is a horror collection of 18 stories that tell of lust, love and death. There are some themes and other things like that, that come back in multiple stories, which give the collection the feeling of it being a whole. For example birds, flying and feathers: in one story a girl is caught eating a bird because she wants to fly and in another a girl seems to be growing feathers.

I really enjoyed reading this collection! It was creepy and the writing style definitely had
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first collection of short stories I’ve read in awhile, and I loved it. The author has created tales that are chilling and hauntingly beautiful at the same time. I love when those two worlds collide. There were some recurring themes and certain words or phrases that showed up again in different stories, and I love how they had that common thread. Some of my favorites were: The Fleshtival, The Tying of Tongues, The Long Road, The Dream Eater, Daughters of Hecate, and Split Tongues. I ...more
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Everything That's Underneath isn't a typical horror collection. Most of them aren't even frightening or horrifying, but have something sophisticated. Something that crawls under your skin, subtly turns your stomach upside down.
DeMeester will take you on a unique and dark ride you've never experienced before!
Catrina Magee
Not my cup of tea.
Some of the stories I really enjoyed, some brilliance really shining through.
The rest all seemed to move back and forth between dreams and reality..sometimes I couldn't tell either way. And not in the good "I don't know what's happening" but more like flipping pages, thinking I missed things, and trying to make sense of some stories that seemed like I started one thought and finished a totally different plot line.
Some weren't long enough for me to get into, 2 pages really
Some of these stories were 5 stars but I did have a few that I rated 1 or 2 stars. I understand the theme to these stories, but some of the aspects of the stories were just too repetitive. I was basically over it by the time I was finishing the book. But the 5 star reads were really creepy!
The Skiffy and Fanty Show
A visceral debut collection of strong, evocative horror, Everything That’s Underneath delves into terrors faced by mothers, daughters, and more, transforming nightmares into self-realization and harnessed power. DeMeester explores femininity and the darkest of human interactions with writing and characters that creepily tingle all the reader’s senses - DPH

Full Review at Skiffy and Fanty:
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Kristi DeMeester is the author of Beneath, published by Word Horde, and Everything That's Underneath by Apex Books. Her short fiction has been included in Ellen Datlow's Year's Best Horror Volumes 9 and 11, Year's Best Weird Fiction Volumes 1, 3, and 5, and Stephen Jone's Best New Horror. Her short fiction has also appeared in publications such as Black Static, The Dark, Pseudopod, as well as ...more
“Everything devours itself. Lust. Hate. Love. We burn and burn until there is only ash, and then we eat what remains. Carry it inside of us like a secret. Until it grows into something else.” 1 likes
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