Review of Inna Effress, “Liquid Air”, The Best Horror of the Year Volume Ten, edited by Ellen Datlow (Night Shade Books, 2018): 21—30. Purchase Here. Originally published in Nightscript III, edited by C.M. Muller (Nightscript, 2017). Purchase Here. Reviewed by Rob Francis.
One of the shorter stories in the anthology, this is an interesting piece that follows Kris as she goes to collect some neon signage from an unusual sign technician, and is told to return on the morrow as it is not yet finished. We then get an insight into Kris’s home life and the growing insanity of her doll-obsessed husband and failing marriage. When she returns to collect the signage the next day she makes a decision that brings about something of a cataclysm for her and others.
The story is a bit disjointed and I’m not sure that the various parts hang together as well as they could, though it may be that some of the meaning has passed me by; I was certainly left with a few questions at the end. I wasn’t sufficiently convinced of Kate’s relatively sudden (and prolonged) acquiescence to physical intimacy with the technician, even if they had met once before, and it felt like the husband’s obsession could have been dealt with more satisfactorily. Nonetheless, it was an entertaining read and the real strength of the story is in the descriptions, with the final section, detailing the aftermath of a flood that has unearthed the contents of a cemetery (and a few other things), really standing out. Well worth a read.