Rating: 4.25* of five The Book Description: A woman falling out of sync with the world; a king's servant hypnotized by his murderous horse; a transplanted ear with a mind of its own�the characters in these stories live as interlopers in a world shaped by mysterious disappearances and unfathomable discrepancies between the real and imagined. Brian Evenson, master of literary horror, presents his most far-ranging collection to date, exploring how humans can persist in an increasingly unreal world. Haunting, gripping, and psychologically fierce, these tales illuminate a dark and unsettling side of humanity.Praised by Peter Straub for going "furthest out on the sheerest, least sheltered narrative precipice," Brian Evenson is the author of ten books of fiction. He has been a finalist for the Edgar Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the World Fantasy Award, and the winner of the International Horror Guild Award, and the American Library Association's award for Best Horror Novel. Fugue State was named one of Time Out New York's Best Books of 2009. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and three O. Henry Prizes, including one for the title story in "Windeye," Evenson lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where he directs Brown University's Literary Arts Department. My Review: Since there are 25 stories in this book's 188pp, I will not be utilizing the Bryce Method (named for the illustrious blogger/reviewer/Goodreader Bryce, of revered memory for his excellent and frequent reviews before the twins were born) as the reviews of each story would be as long as the stories themselves are. For such is the nature of Evenson's writing. It's a challenge to make his storytelling anything other than real-time without spoilering or simply regurgitating his words.It's not that his writing is Lovecraftian in its ornament, or Kingly in its wallop. His eerie and atmospheric stories are concise, and have their own unadorned grandeur. If his prose was architecture, I'd call it Art Deco with Fascist Monumental leanings.So here's a species of compromise on Bryce Method reviewing...stories grouped by stars!5 of 5“Windeye”“Discrepancy”“The Process”4 of 5“The Second Boy”“Angel of Death”“The Dismal Mirror”“Legion”“Hurlock's Law”“The Tunnel”“South of the Beast” (maybe this gets 4.5....)“The Absent Eye”“Tapadera”“They”“The Oxygen Protocol”“The Drownable Species”All of the others are three stars...good, solid stories, but not for whatever reason outstanding compared to their peers in this collection.I'm not sure I'd call any of them “horror” stories. I'd call them all, one and all, atmospheric evocations of unsettling and unsettled mood, of disturbed and disturbing malfunctions of perception. I'd call them all quietly unnervingly accurate night-scopes on the rifles your inner demons bring to bear at the back of your neck on windy, rainy nights when the power goes out and the flashlight batteries are dead.If that kind of reading has no appeal, horseman, pass on.One bleat of dissatisfaction: This book has the UGLIEST cover...a dark, blood-mixed-with-poo colored block set off by a ragged edge of trailing bloody red on a white background. Y.U.C.K. Drop-out type for the advert on the back reinforces the low-budget look, as does the Preparation-H-hued type they set the title in. In a store, I'd pass it up with a wrinkled nose and a scoff. This reaction is not to put y'all off! The stories make up for the dismal disappointment of the cover. Really, honestly, they do.