At long last, Gaiman’s latest work for grown-ups has been released and is available in Kindle format: Trigger Warning (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $14.99). From Amazon:
Multiple award winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman returns to dazzle, captivate, haunt, and entertain with this third collection of short fiction following Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things—which includes a never-before published American Gods story, “Black Dog,” written exclusively for this volume.
In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction—stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013—as well “Black Dog,” a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection.
Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion. In Adventure Story—a thematic companion to The Ocean at the End of the Lane—Gaiman ponders death and the way people take their stories with them when they die. His social media experience A Calendar of Tales are short takes inspired by replies to fan tweets about the months of the year—stories of pirates and the March winds, an igloo made of books, and a Mother’s Day card that portends disturbances in the universe. Gaiman offers his own ingenious spin on Sherlock Holmes in his award-nominated mystery tale The Case of Death and Honey. And Click-Clack the Rattlebag explains the creaks and clatter we hear when we’re all alone in the darkness.
A sophisticated writer whose creative genius is unparalleled, Gaiman entrances with his literary alchemy, transporting us deep into the realm of imagination, where the fantastical becomes real and the everyday incandescent. Full of wonder and terror, surprises and amusements, Trigger Warning is a treasury of delights that engage the mind, stir the heart, and shake the soul from one of the most unique and popular literary artists of our day.
The best stories here, however, are in Gaiman’s own fairly dark and somber territory. Of most interest to Gaiman fans will be the collection’s one original story, “Black Dog,” which features his “American Gods” protagonist Shadow Moon in an engrossing ghost story set in rural England. The story begins with an uncharacteristic cliché — “Outside the pub it was raining cats and dogs” — but then Gaiman unpacks the cliché in shrewd and unexpected ways, involving an old crime, the fearsome dog of the title, and why so many mummified Egyptian cats ended up in Victorian England. “The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains …” is a still-darker tale of greed and treachery involving a dwarf looking to find a horde of gold in a remote Scottish cave; it resonates with the Isle of Skye folklore that Gaiman says inspired it. In a lighter vein, “The Thing About Cassandra” evokes the charm of a good “Twilight Zone” episode — or perhaps more distantly of John Collier — as its narrator, who as a teenager created an imaginary girlfriend to avoid embarrassment for his lack of a real one, finds her somehow appearing in real life years later. The ending is a bit of a trick, but it’s a cool trick.
Trigger Warning: a must-have for Gaiman fans, and a great introduction to Gaiman for those who’ve yet to discover this master storyteller.