I’m going to go with total honesty and transparency by revealing that I didn’t know who Mick Garris even was when I accepted the review copy from the team at Cinestate/FANGORIA. I just read whatever they give me because it’s always entertaining; if not amazing.
After finishing the first three stories of These Evil Things We Do and feeling totally blown away by how much I had enjoyed them, I decided to look this Mick Garris guy up on Google.
Mick Garris is kind of a big deal.
Most recently, he is the host of a popular podcast called Post Mortem which is part of FANGORIA’S family of podcasts.
He co-wrote the screenplay for Hocus Pocus and directed a slew of horror movie blockbusters and cult classics. His work for television is staggering. Like I said, he’s a big deal.
I went back and read Garris’ introduction. I often skip introductions because they can sometimes spoil even the smallest of plot details or reading experience. But I had to go back.
Books & Movies, man. That’s what Garris had to say and it was the perfect way to set up these stories.
Garris knows how to take the magic of cinema and infuse it into words on the page. I believe this is because he is capable of doing it in reverse as well: Taking words off the page and bringing them to life on screen. A special way to double down on storytelling that few people possess, but Mick Garris is one of them. I’m here for it.
These Evil Things We Do is made up of four novellas about “awful people” and a brand new novel titled Salome.
“Free” is about a woman who realizes that she is not cut out for domestic life, so she gets in her car and leaves. Bad things happen.
“Ugly” brings the reader into the mind of a talented plastic surgeon who judges people by their outward appearances. Bad things happen.
“Tyler’s Third Act” (originally published as part of the Cemetery Dance Signature Series back in 2012) reveals the savagery and desperation of the entertainment industry, and what people are willing to do for ratings. Bad things happen.
“Snow Shadows” depicts a child genius’s unhealthy obsession with his teacher. You guessed it…Bad things happen!
In all of these stories, there was a moment where either my jaw dropped open or I audibly gasped. Garris breathes life into these terribly disturbed people. I found myself buying into their motivations so strongly, I was subconsciously aligning myself with these wretched characters; rooting for them. Suddenly, an act of depravity or a natural consequence would be so revolting, I would be reminded that I was not supposed to be empathetic to the “bad guys.”
This is the power Mick Garris wields in his ability to bring complex, fictional characters into existence; they leap off the page and share their innermost dark thoughts with the reader. It’s completely intimate and frighteningly real.
The novellas prime the pump for the novel, Salome, which is a triumph of modern horror noir fiction.
It’s my recommendation that you read Salome with a stiff drink in hand, or maybe a cocktail if that’s your preference, and wait until you have the house to yourself—enough time to read this straight through. It’s cinematic enough to not need a bookmark. You’re not going to want the world to interrupt your time with the protagonist, James Turrentine. James is a writer and a lousy husband. He loved his wife, Chase, in his own way—but he hated her, too. Only when she is murdered does he realize the tragic mistakes he made in his marriage. This story is sexy, provocative, and disturbing—even strangely emotional. I absolutely loved it.
These Evil Things We Do is a solid contender for my 2020 Best of the Year.