It may be a clichť, but Mysterious Thrills and Chills made me laugh aloud. It made me weep in confusion. It made me question the laws of god, man, and international trade. If a hallmark of good horror is that it challenges our sense of the ordinary, then Mysterious Thrills and Chills must be counted a great success, for it challenges every rule of written English since the American Revolution.
Verbs war upon each other and their chosen nouns with great clashes of tense and numbers. Paragraphs abandon their subjects and elope with new darlings midway through the course. Adjectives multiply in unnatural profusion, smothering any hint of progress or clarity. Dialogue suffers the most cruelly overblown attributions. Itís common for bad writing to cripple or even kill a story, but the writing here murders the stories, defaces the corpses, and then steals the teeth so they canít be identified by dental records.
When the writing is this bad, identifying the author feels like a sort of slander. But Laura Hinckley earns her infamy in the authorís notes surrounding her poor abused stories. According to the killerís own testimony, these stories are mostly the result of between-classes scribbling or idle daydreaming; never does she talk about editing, or show any deeper consideration for the poor maimed skeletons of stories she leaves bleeding in her wake.
Mysterious Thrills and Chills is indeed the most terrifying set of stories I have read all year; but not, I think, for the reasons Hinkley intended. Give it a pass, or forever rue your fate.