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These Evil Things We Do by Mick Garris #BookReview

He’s taken you to haunted hotels, into the lairs of dangerous creatures, and even to the end of the world. Now, master of horror Mick Garris wants to invite you along on a journey into the realm of the most terrifying thing of all: man.

From a plastic surgeon with a uniquely disturbing approach to his job to a deranged child genius obsessed with his teacher, These Evil Things We Do: The Mick Garris Collection explores mankind’s capacity for limitless evil—and how often that evil hides in plain sight. Previously only available in limited print-runs, this collection brings together four of Garris’ works for the first time in a single volume, along with a brand new novella, Free, available exclusively here.

So indulge your own inner monster and come along for these five fearsome tales of human wickedness… just don’t be tempted to commit any evil deeds of your own.

These Evil Things We Do book cover

Title: These Evil Things We Do | Author: Mick Garris | Publisher: Fangoria | Pub. Date: 05/28/2020 | Pages: 486 | ASIN: B088YRC47C | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Source: Received from the publisher for review consideration | Starred Review

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These Evil Things We Do Review

I recognized the name Mick Garris from his work on movies like Sleepwalkers and the adaptation of The Shining that I like best. So I was very interested to read how his writing would translate into novella-length works.

Very well, as it turns out.

The book is split up into four novellas and one novel-length work. Free would have worked well as a shorter story but the others were a good length. They were interesting and unique. The only one that felt familiar was Free but even that tried to give a different spin on it.

I also liked the fact that in some of the stories you couldn’t be sure whether or not there was anything supernatural going on or whether or not it was psychological.

So, what did I think about the individual stories?

In my opinion, Free was not the best story to open with. It’s overly long and could have been trimmed from a novella to a short story and had just the same punch. Maybe even more so. It also felt like the brief point of view from the husband didn’t add much to the story and even felt like it detracted a little from the outcome because it felt so out of place. It wasn’t a bad story by any means. It just felt a little “been there, read this” with passages drawn out for way too long with way too little going on. The main character, even though she calls herself a horrible person a lot, I never really felt that. The story still felt slanted towards sympathy toward her. Which some people might feel and if they do, I’m not judging that I just didn’t.

This is the story I would have put first. It’s an attention grabber and even though it’s somewhat unrealistic on a few levels, it really didn’t matter. It was a roller-coaster and always entertaining. The main character is unlikable but he’s presented that way from the first and, frankly, I didn’t exactly expect a book full of pleasant people after the title and intro. His actions are also a bit understandable. Dramatic and over the top, yes, but also somewhat understandable. The end also has a good little stunner moment that made me laugh at myself a bit for expecting something else.

Tyler’s Third Act is a critical look at entertainment that the “unwashed masses” enjoy. Specifically taking aim at video games and YouTube. Which I’ll get back to later.
This story didn’t really grab me much but I do remember reading it elsewhere so it was instantly familiar. It’s more in the body horror genre which is a 50-50 for me on whether I’ll like it or not. I do think that fans of the genre will like it.

I am torn on this story. I liked it. It had great atmosphere and the morality was pretty ambiguous for each of the characters (when they were alive, that is). The part I kept staling at was the fact that the ghost was interacting somewhat sexually with a nine-year-old. It was a bit creepy. I really, really don’t need to hear about a nine-year-old’s sexual awakening.
The story was very good, though and it sucked me in.

This is the story I’m having the most trouble with. It’s a great story. It’s well told and a really interesting murder mystery. It’s also nice to have the two points of view to get both sides. The two viewpoints also lined up very well so that the mystery isn’t solved too soon. It works here better than in Free. The characters were understandable and even if their lives weren’t exactly relatable, their emotions were.
I’m not going to give away the ending here but the reveal of the killer was more than a little uncomfortable. It seemed done for shock value and it felt very stereotypical of mental illness and certain demographics so I can’t throw the full weight behind this that I would like to.
If the killer had made more sense to the story then I might have responded better.

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My main issue was the flow felt a little off and a different story would have worked better as an opener. I particularly loved Ugly just because of how unapologetically batshit crazy it is and it had a great closer. Definitely recommended!

You can purchase These Evil Things We Do via its Goodreads link or, if you’d like to help support literacy programs, at Better World Books.

Published inAnthologies & CollectionsHorror Book Reviews
©Sci-Fi & Scary 2019
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