After I read Nightingale Songs, the prior collection of restrained and disquieting stories by Simon Strantzas, I found myself wondering what kind of work this author might creat with a more direct, less elliptical approach. His follow-up, Burnt Black Suns, answers that question.
Whether this change in direction arose from a natural drift in the author’s motivation, or a desire to prove he can successfully master new and different tricks, the stories here seem clearly designed to take a more straightforward approach than Strantzas has used previously. In particular, pieces like the opener “On Ice” and the titular closing novella hit so much harder as to seem almost the work of a different writer.
Not one story in the book is anything less than excellent, and the novella “Burnt Black Suns” is my single favorite thing Strantzas has written. This collection is a work of real excellence, which deserves to be read by everyone interested in intelligently crafted horror fiction. Burnt Black Suns is highly recommended.