Tales of Death, Murder, and Revenge
By David Lubar
Illustrated by Jim Kay
Available now from Tor Teen (Macmillan)
David Lubar is known for his humorous books for young readers, which bear little resemblance to this collection of thirteen deliciously dark tales. Seven of them have been published previously, but six are all new.
I have to give major props to Jim Kay. One of his illustrations appears before each story and sets the mood. Some of them are on par with the nightmare fuel from the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series. The "Whoodoo" illustration is particularly hard to forget.
This is one of the better short story collections I've read. It's very cohesive - all the stories are about the same length, all are horror - and the quality is consistent. It's hard to pick a favorite story, but mine might be "Feelings," which went right where I expected and then kept going. The irony in both "Split Decision" and "Apparent Motive" is delicious, and I particularly like that the former revolves around a bad pun. "Morph" is less horrific and more hopeful than most of the others, but it's got a nice bit of action.
I can see lots of kids eagerly devouring this collection. It will likely be recommended more for teens and older readers, but the ones who will enjoy it the most are probably the elementary-school kids who will find it slightly illicit and perfect for creeping friends out at camp.
I do not recommend EXTREMITIES to fans of David Lubar who aren't into horror. This is not an anthology that subverts the genre in anyway. But for those who do enjoy horror, it's a great choice. Just delightfully perverse and nasty.