Bradford Morrow is such a great writer. Not only are his novels great, but now I find his short stories are as well. The Uninnocent is a collection of gothic short stories. All of the stories in this book are dark, creepy, unsettling, and damn near perfect. Many times a collection of short stories will have one or two (or maybe more) stories that either aren’t as strong  or don’t fit in with the rest of the book, but in this collection all of the stories work. Each story was strong enough to stand on its own, there was no filler or fluff here.

Many of the stories had a bit of a Poe feel to them either in an uncanny mood sort of way or in the form of the unreliable narrator. I love both of these things so much, and to get to read a book where the author pulls these off so well. (I want to say effortlessly, but I know that’s not true, it just seems effortless because the writing is so smooth and it sucks you in immediately.) It was such a treat to read.

I hate to try to describe any of these stories because some of them have twists that I’d hate to give away, and describing some of the characters might turn off others. These characters are sad, spiteful, alcoholics, crazy people, psychopaths, and murderers. But they are written with such confidence in them, each character has a sense of self, and some even have an alarming intelligence while others are simple (and the simpleness brings with it its own sense of uncanny.) that no matter how selfish or guilty they are, you want to read the story, you’re compelled.

Another thing I liked about these short stories is: they’re short. Mr. Morrow really hits on the perfect length for these stories.

If you’re a Poe fan, like noir-y, gothic tales, or just enjoy great fiction, get this book and put it in your face.

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