Candles for Elizabeth - Caitlín R. Kiernan Candles for Elizabeth is a thin chapbook containing barely 60 pages of fiction (a few of the pages consist of introductions, the table of contents, etc). It's a bit pricey but it is over-sized and has a glossy, creepy cover with gorgeous fonts instead of the standard drek found on most covers. Still, the text within is what I'm paying for and I can't help wishing there had been more of it.

The chapbook contains three short stories. One is an original written for the collection and two are reprints. All of the stories are difficult to synopsize. They're more like quick glimpses into these character lives than a by-the-numbers horror story and are told in a dream-like voice. The author relies on her wounded young characters and well-drawn atmosphere to tell the story and deftly holds back allowing the reader to use their own imagination. Her style takes some getting used to and probably isn't for everyone. There are no bloated sentences here and no unnecessary words. Personally, I found it a relief. The less bloat the better if you ask me. These stories aren't horrific in the traditional sense but they'll linger and haunt if you read closely.

Of all of the stories my personal favorite was A Story for Edward Gorey. It was genuinely chilling. Everything from the oppressive heat, to the almost overwhelming feeling of loneliness and desperation comes vividly alive.

After reading The Last Child of Lir, a story the author says is a companion piece to two of her others, I had the urge to track down the other two stories. Although the characters and the grief-laden tale drew me in, I felt like I was missing something and needed more insight into these people and their lives. As written, this story didn't entirely stand-alone for me.

The final story, Postcards From the King of Tides, takes the reader on a road trip that takes a turn for the weird when the car breaks down and two of its curious occupants discover an odd sideshow. Odd and creepy. What more does one need?

More stories would've rated this book five stars but for five dollars (plus shipping) it was a tad too slight for the money. Still, I enjoyed it while it lasted and am left longing for more.