Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free, bite-sized book/magazine reviews.
Since The Hiss of Escaping Air is a novelette chapbook, it all boils down to whether the story is convincing.
For me, the narrative works. Christopher Golden opens with our main character, an actress who's out of her element. The author injects liberal doses of characterization and exposition but it feels natural to the narrative and is quite upbeat. It is the said characterization and exposition which makes us sympathize with our protagonist and gets us embroiled into the mystery: what is she up to?
Golden also seems to have a firm handle on dialogue, whether it's fleshing out the supporting characters or revealing the confidence of our heroine. The author's biggest asset however is how he straddles the line between the fantastic and the mundane. This eventually leads to the horror of this chapbook which is intentionally ambiguous.
The Hiss of Escaping Air was a great read. It's not quite in my "top five stories of the year" list yet (check back with me come December) but it's definitely up there as one of my favorites. Whether it's the technical skill or the emotional resonance of the story, Golden proves once more that he has the chops to fascinate and intrigue readers.