Arithmophobia by Ruschelle Dillon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have read some of Ruschelle’s work previously online and in the latest Women In Horror Annual 2 so I was curious to see what sort of collection she would come up with. I had high expectations as she writes to a high standard and I am pleased to say this was reflected throughout her book.
Arithmophobia is a Greek word meaning the fear of numbers. Each story within this collection carries the importance of a particular number as a central theme; the numbers ranging from one to nine. These stories range from the squeamishly horrific, to the horrifically tragic with a dollop of dark humour thrown in for good measure. The standard is such that it is hard to pick a favourite, but here are my standouts:
Three is as Magic as can be. A cop hunts for parents who have disappeared in strange and worrying circumstances as his own family life crumbles around him. The eventual discovery of the murderer also allows him to resolve his own personal issues and you think, ah a happy ending until you get to that final, tragic twist; a heartbreaking denouement.
Four Men on Horses. I love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and this tale of the Four Horsemen of the (failed) Apocalypse is wonderful and strongly reminds me of his writing. War, Famine, Death and Pestilence each take on the modern human and each is defeated. The responses of man, woman and child, whether the desire to take selfies with War or happily join a new Death ‘cult’, are not what the four expect and ultimately defeats them.
Seven Colors focusses on a scientist who, whilst experimenting with light, captures himself a leprechaun … and good old-fashioned chaos ensues.
Ruschelle Dillon is certainly a woman in horror to watch out for.
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