Edgar Allen Poe is one of those writers whose words stays with the readers in the most unsettling ways. His trademark panache for getting under his audience’s collective skin is something writers have tried to emulate repeatedly. One of his most enduring works is subtle, eerie, and unforgettable. The work I am talking about is “The Tell-Tale Heart”, which is a masterclass in how to tell the story of spiraling into insanity.
The short story has been retold in many genres including the latest horror adaptation 1922, an interpretation that will most definitely have the reader clutching their pearls. The story talked about how insidious secrets are and how they can eat away at who you are. No matter how true our intentions are when we keep mysteries and secrets, in the end, do they do us any good? In Sam Costello and TJ Kirsch’s Unknown Subjects, we find some individuals whose secrets have dug at their core.
In the first story, “Straw Gods,” a farmer and his family see no profit from the harvest, as they have not yielded any crops to sell during a Dust Bowl, until one faithful day, the bloodlust of the land itself leads our protagonist to do some unsavory deeds. In the second story, “Unsub,” a woman finds out in an interrogation, that her husband was someone who was narcissistic and treacherous. In the last story, “Live Through This,” as one family moves into a new house, everything they look at reminds them of their former life and the horrors of one day that has incessantly inflicted its imprint on them. Lastly, we get some bonus content which peers into Costello’s and Kirsch’s minds as they break each story.
Overall, an excellent collection of tales which explore the subject of secrets without adding the element of depravity and excellent character development. The stories by Costello are fascinating, distressing, and illuminating. The art by Kirsch is gorgeous. Altogether, a great book which proves that both of these creators are top of their game.
Story: Sam Costello Art: TJ Kirsch
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy