It’s so rare to find a good horror writer outside of the Stephen King school of writing. It’s even rarer to find one who pulls in the perspective not of American White Anglo-Saxon culture, pulling in creatures and creepers we were never even aware waited out in the infinite stretch of darkness. Stephen Graham Jones is one such author – mixing together a keen sense of pop culture witticism with the old villains from his Native American heritage. It has never so smartly wrapped into one perfect package as with his latest collection of short stories, After the People Lights Have Gone Off.
Jones’s prose is not scream-in-horror kind of story, but it is the stick-in-your-brain type that whispers softly as you shut down your mental processes for the night. The stories seem innocuous enough at first glance, the standard pulp horror fair that pumps the trivial for the horrific and the supernatural, that turns walks in the woods and nights at the movies into a passage into darkest Hell, and the growl in the night like the tingle of something familiar and warm.
What Jones does best to dig into the things we really free: not demons or shape-shifters or haunted movie theaters, but the things we do not speak, like marriage, growing up, illness, death. If you’re looking for something that will remind you what should really be keeping you up these cold Fall nights when the wind howls like a child’s cry and the branch slap your window as if trying to get in, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot.