Review: Tunneling to the Center of the Earth

I have become a fan of short-story collections.  I have enjoyed the works of John Connelly, not enjoyed the works of Kelly Link — then I encountered Tunneling to the Center of the Earth.  Please stop what you are doing (yes, reading this review) and go purchase a copy, read it and return to this review.


Holy cow.  This begs not only the question of who thinks of this kind of stuff, but how can someone make the telling of it so right?

Like with other collections, the first story had a wow-factor of 11.  The idea of a "professional" grandparent is intriguing, and a business that would be really pretty win-win for all parties involved.

If that's where Kevin Wilson left it, I'd be impressed.  No, it's where he goes with "Grand Stand-Ins" that haunts me now, weeks after my first encounter with it.

And "The Shooting Man" may not have been a total surprise, but — again — it's where the story travels after it leaves my imagination that rocks my world.

Not to brag, but I have a pretty twisted mind, having grown up on Stephen King and book after book of hauntings and spirits and the like.  I have scared myself awake from a dead sleep more times than my husband cares to count, and I have kept myself awake in total fear more than once.  And yet, Kevin Wilson surprises me in the best way possible.

Every single story is unique, every single story is different — and yet, every single story enchants, startles, frightens, unsettles... whatever path Wilson intends it to take, that's where it goes.

I, for one, will follow him wherever he leads, including his new novel, The Family Fang.

By the way, if you need just one more push: Tunneling to the Center of the Earth won a 2009 Shirley Jackson Award.

Alright, if you're still reading, I appreciate your dedication, but I release you from those bonds.  Go get this book.  However, you must tell me what you thought.  Okay?