The Cuckoo Girls is a collection of short stories, some of which have appeared in other anthologies, and some of which are original to this collection. Lillie’s style of horror is often very subtle and psychological, and she excels at her craft. I found most of the stories contained inside wonderful reads, but these jumped out as special to me:
“The Cuckoo Girls”: A woman and her sister encounter a strange teenage girl who appears everywhere they go. The girl seems harmless, but strange things start to happen. This story was fun because it’s a head-scratcher. It’s weird, wonderful, and creepy in its own way.
“In Loco Parentis”: A creepy story about a mother whose child isn’t the same anymore. I don’t want to spoil it, but this one gets under your skin and snuggles with you.
“Alyce-with-a-Y”: Lillie takes Alice in Wonderland, which is already kind of a crazy and unsettling story in its own right, and turns up the creep factor. It’s a fresh new take on things in Wonderland.
“And One for Azazel (with Jellybeans)”: One part Twilight Zone, one part Shirley Jackson, and one part Color Out of Space. This was probably one of my favorites of the collection. The ending is brutal.
“Wishing you the Best Year Ever”: What does a strange visitor in a tree, prophecies, and baseball have in common? Apparently, a lot and since this is a horror collection, it isn’t going to turn out good.
If you like subtle, slow-burn, horror, then do yourself a favor and check out this collection. You won’t be disappointed.
I did an interview with Patricia Lillie awhile back. If you want to check it out you can read it here.