ZOO - Hirotaka Adachi One or two more books like ZOO and I'm going to have a new fave author.

Otsuichi is one of the newer dark fiction authors out of Japan. He is hard to categorize as his short fiction spreads throughout many genres including horror, science fiction and mystery. His writing style is fairly straight forward, eschewing the flowery angst of many of today's Japanese writers. He is somewhere between the Kafkaesque absurdism favored by Harudi Murakami and Kobo Abe and the strangeness of American Bizarro. I would compare him most to Kyu Murakami due to his ability to take normal everyday events and lead them into the grotesque.

The ten stories in ZOO range from very good to Absolutely Batshit Wonderful. Those tales in the ABW category include...

ZOO - a dark psychological horror story about a young man who is getting snapshots delivered to him daily of his girl friend's decomposing body.

In a Falling Airplane - Maybe the most deceptive of the stories. Starts like a tale about a airline hijacker and turns into a look at three desperate losers. Clearly an socio-political satire about Japan's competitive culture.

The White House in the Cold Forest -The best and most disturbing story in the collection about a murderer who builds his house from the corpses of his victims.

In a Park at Twilight, a Long Time Ago is the shortest tale at four pages and packs the biggest wallop. No description. Just read it.

Song of The Sunny Spot is the most mainstream of the bunch and easily the warmest. I would say it owes a lot to the writings of Ray Bradbury.

Seven Rooms is the most harrowing of the collection. It is a tale of abduction with a gruesome, yet emotionally moving end.

Otsuichi's matter-of-fact writing often heightens the sense of horror in his tales. It should also be noted that many of his tales involve young children and child abuse, so the squeamish may want to tread lightly. Having said that, Otsuichi packs a punch that you just do not see in many of the new writers who specialize in short fiction. A must read author for the lovers of grotesque fantasy and horror.