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Tales of Death, Murder, and Revenge
by David Lubar
Tor Teen, $9.99, 205pp
Publication Date: July 22, 2014
The author states in his Note that these stories are too dark to inflict on his usual target audience of young readers; but, for young readers who like tales of terror, this collection is actually perfect, because the protagonists are teens themselves, encountering modern horrors like a sadistic gym teacher, a hateful parent, step- or otherwise, or the indifferent violence of cities and machines. Sometimes the teens are perpetuating the violence themselves, other times they are enduring it or trying to elude the perils that beset them. Often there is outrageous irony in the surprise twist at the end of a tale. And since horror and fantasy share some domain, a scattering of supernatural elements is not out of place.

My favorites included “Split Decision” for its unrepentant punning; “Feelings” for its truthfulness; “Free Seas”  because it is a gem of classic horror; and “A Cart Full of Junk”, which struck me as humorous. Even the darkest of the stories were admirably crafted and very effectively written. So for all readers, young and old, who relish a taste of mandrake or of hemlock, this is a fine serving. ~~ Chris Paige

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