Written by: Vitina Molgaard
A. Henry Keene is a bit of an elusive person. I say that because these works are an eclectic selection that only add to the mystery of this author. Horror certainly rests within these tales and the horror is laced with abuse, neglect, rejection and revenge. Here are a collection of dark tales that do not let up for a moment to allow the reader the chance to breathe and find relief.
The titular story, ‘A Crooked Closet’ was an excellent place for this book to begin. We are immediately introduced to the very essence of this novel’s winding road of violence and revenge, as we meet up with a married couple who have some very serious issues with anger and control. The question here is just who is the actual aggressor?
Next, Danny and Becky is a nasty tale that again homes in on abuse and revenge, with some focus on alienation to boot. In this one we study Becky – who has been the victim of her father for some time – and her boyfriend Danny who only wants to help. This has one very determined young woman who may well have been pushed and mistreated one time to many.
Finally, I am going to venture into an oft ignored childhood theme, the monster in the closet. Jimmy is a generally angry boy, but he does have a few friends. However, spending the night over at his house could very well prove to be more than what most of us would call a comfy sleep-over. A dark frightening night is all that is promised here.
Now there are quite a number of stories here that I am not going to highlight. I do want to mention them though. These appeared at first to be separate tales but they are actually chapters with individual names. I found that to be a bit awkward and confusing when I first started reading, and would have found it more easily understood had the structural concept been clearer from the beginning. The style used here really threw me for a loop, and it’s ultimately the reason my rating isn’t higher. As strange as it sounds, the design of The Crooked Closet feels disjointed and not very… reader friendly, if you will.