INTO BONES LIKE OIL | A book review by weird speculative fiction writer Ted Fauster

by Kaaron Warren

A book review by weird speculative fiction writer Ted Fauster

There’s a reason Kaaron Warren won the Shirley Jackson award. And several others.

INTO BONES LIKE OIL is a chilling tale of guilt and regret, salted by the true horror of the sea. You feel dirty reading this novelette, and you should.

Warren has a way of knocking you down a few pegs, stripping you bare. She wastes no time, tossing you straight into a weather-beaten, ramshackle boarding house where the ghosts of both the dead and the living dwell. These are the broken people. The pariahs. The sinful and unforgiven. And together they’ve built a home.

The story follows Dora, a woman tainted by a foul memory she cannot escape, bent and broken under the weight of guilt. How she came to be at The Angelsea is not important. The old house has become a place where the dead speak through stormy dreams. And Dora desperately needs answers.

“You can’t do damage, when you’re asleep,” Roy, the proprietor says. “You can’t think about your own guilt.”

I really enjoyed the way the name of each chapter ticks off the days. Reminds me of The Shining. Each one is brief. Brought to a sharp point that digs deeper with every turn of a page. The tension builds slowly but steadily, like a clock wound too tightly.

This is my first book by Karron Warren. I look forward to consuming everything else she’s written.