Author: Kate Jonez
First Published: March 29, 2019
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Southern Gothic
A troubled mother commits an unspeakable act to banish the demon that lurks in her root cellar. Ghosts from the past won’t release their hold on a young woman. A girl in search of a new job as a nanny finds herself in charge of a mysterious package that requires much more care than any child.
Lady Bits collects sixteen tales from Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson award nominated author Kate Jonez that explores the horror nestled in the female heart. Vividly realized protagonists engage with an often-hostile world to deliver justice, lower a vengeance hammer, or to simply revel in evil. Prepare to be unsettled, disturbed, and terrified.
I love a good horror collection, and I especially love ones that dip into southern gothic fiction. Lady Bits is a strong collection, full of stories about wandering tramps, devious children, eerie folklore, and dangerous women. The stories are dark, gritty, and incredibly atmospheric, every story was a surprise for me and I had a lot of fun reading each one. Despite falling under the category of horror, the stories lack scares but deliver grotesque people and never shies away from extreme topics.
“It’s always the mother’s fault. That’s what they say anyways, no matter whose fault it actually is..”
The collection starts off incredibly strong with Carnivores and All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck, both stories center on cunning young girls hardened by the ugliness of society. I was completely engaged in these stories, and they were easily some of the strongest. By the Book in stark contrast was all black comedy that had me laughing out loud, I loved it so much I re-read it a second time to my husband. I also appreciated the stories that featured lesser-known folktales, such as the Kallikantzaros from Serbia and the Jenglot from Indonesia.
Short story collections are always a wild ride, it is a wonderful opportunity to see the range of an author but it can be tricky collecting a set of stories that work as a whole. The genres leap from southern gothic to black comedy to urban fantasy. There will certainly be something in here that would appeal to different readers, though the shifts in genres can also be disorienting. Overall I was very pleased with this collection and am interested in reading more stories by this author.
Warnings: sexual assault, violence, drug use