In Stranger Things Have Happened, Thomas Gaffney explores the places in which the real world meets fantasy, where myths and folktales collide with the everyday. This collection of short stories, all featuring a unique dash of the weird or the unexpected, introduces readers to the possibility of something lurking beyond what’s laid out right in front of them, and to many of life’s more ordinary ups and downs.
In addition to a clever tone, and a sharp wit to boot, Gaffney writes in a way that both engages lovers of suspense and the fantastical, and gives his fans a taste of the author’s personal perspective. Though the individual stories cover a wide range of circumstances and characters – ghosts, disease, coincidences, and a whole new meaning to the phrase, “third time’s the charm” – Gaffney ties them all together in one connected and often relatable universe. While some readers might be put off by the dry sense of humor evident in this author’s work, it serves as a working buffer between the darkness accentuating each short story and the blunt truth – that sometimes, the strangest is yet to come, and it’s best to embrace that eventuality sooner rather than later.
Stranger Things Have Happened evokes similar overall impressions as works compiled by authors like Stephen King and Mike Russell, with some episodes of The Twilight Zone thrown in for good measure. They are stark, and in some cases even shocking in their narrative voice, but using a wide range of perspectives allows Gaffney to showcase his ability to adapt to the story in its truest form, rather than stick to what is comfortable. Passive readers need not apply – this collection will make you think, question what you know, and inevitably turn back to the beginning for a second (third, fourth, etc.) go.