Synopsis: In these ten unsettling tales—the debut collection from Joshua Rex—cities and houses become predators, mothers macabre curators, dormant antique coats and colonial legends revivified dangers. A psychometress resurrects a rapacious fiend, and a psychologist counsels an eerily familiar patient. A man returning home to bury his father is forced to exhume a horrid secret, and a bullied adolescent’s game-winning shot is not only a team victory but a bloody and visceral personal triumph.
One of the strongest aspects of What’s Coming For You is the thematic link between all the stories. Rather than that link creating a series of stories that feel overly similar, the theme flows throughout while bringing in a selection of scenarios, characters and styles that add a sense of variety. Horror has always been a space for morality tales and the unravelling of consequences. Within the collection, buildings, spaces and objects are given a transformative quality with the ability to unearth hidden secrets. People are led by unseen but powerful forces to confront past tragedies and seemingly inanimate objects seek to find a renewed power with new owners.
Breakout Season, with its gradual evolution into dramatic body horror, The Unfinished Room‘s deeply affecting story and The Reveal‘s meditation on masculine rage and the resulting guilt were standouts for me. The Voice Below, as the collection’s longest entry hints at an ability to weave a more detailed, drawn out story without losing momentum. The protagonist, Martha is compelling and so the story that begins to unfold around her is tinged with sadness but layered as more characters begin to influence the story. It is something you could easily see being expanded into a full-length novel.
The idea of vengeful supernatural forces run throughout the stories but, as with many good horror tales, the basis is in human actions and reactions. Multiple stories put the reader in the position of the wrongdoer, the wronged and final story In Situ even directly confronts the reader. In Situ feels like the shortest, but its direct address places the reader at the centre of the story for greater impact.
Excellently curated, this is a collection of stories that has emotional weight but doesn’t hold back in terms of the more visceral, gory and scary elements that make for gripping horror stories.