REVIEW: “Where’s the Harm?” by Rebecca Lloyd

Review of Rebecca Lloyd, “Where’s the Harm?”, The Best Horror of the Year Volume Ten, edited by Ellen Datlow (Night Shade Books, 2018): 77—105. Purchase Here. Originally published in Seven Strange Stories (Tartarus Press, 2017). Purchase Here. Reviewed by Rob Francis.

I’ve been a fan of Rebecca Lloyd since reading her story ‘Ragman’ in last year’s Best Horror of the Year (Volume Nine), so was pleased to see a repeat appearance this year. ‘Where’s the Harm?’ is a particularly fine contribution to the anthology. Two brothers are redecorating the parental home they have inherited, an effort that sparks some long-standing sibling rivalry. When the brothers decide to explore the nearby woods and come across a house that shouldn’t be there, yet which is home to an odd family of long-haired sisters, the gap that has always existed between them prevents the aversion of a tragedy that is slow and horrific in the making.

I loved this story, with its elements of siren mythology (particularly given the etymology of the term ‘siren’ being linked to rope and entanglement, the women’s preternaturally long hair, and the act of ‘winding’ that appears in the story), the air of mystery around the women, the frustration of a relationship broken since childhood, and the building of tension as the inevitable approaches – though one is never sure quite how it is going to end. Wonderful stuff.