REVIEW: “Dark Warm Heart” by Rich Larson

Review of Rich Larson, “Dark Warm Heart”, The Best Horror of the Year Volume Ten, edited by Ellen Datlow (Night Shade Books, 2018): 239—255. Purchase Here. Originally published at Tor.com on April 12, 2017. Read Here. Reviewed by Rob Francis

As others frequently note, one of the joys of reading anthologies is discovering authors you haven’t come across before. Rich Larson has an incredibly impressive publications list for someone who’s been writing for less than ten years, but I haven’t (I don’t think) read anything by him before. Dark Warm Heart is a wonderful story and a great introduction. It’s a wendigo tale: Kristine’s ‘s husband Noel has returned from fieldwork in the far north of Canada having been caught in a bad snowstorm and miraculously survived. But he has little appetite and is obsessed with transcribing the interviews he’s conducted with the Inuit to learn more of their folklore. He does seem quite keen on nibbling on Kristine, though.

The story is well-written with great pacing, and the ending was pleasantly surprising. I’m not overly familiar with wendigo folklore or wendigo psychosis (though I’ve read a bit about it now) — for those with more knowledge the tale might be a bit predictable but it wasn’t for me. The most chilling part was the translation of the wendigo folk tale; only a short paragraph, a series of short statements like a song or poem, but with a real sense of menace. Very enjoyable.

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