"'Into Bones Like Oil' is a horror novella that, in my eyes, embodies perfectly Kaaron Warren's universe. Starting as a classic situation - a woman seeks shelter in a strange house -, it very quickly becomes a gripping and idiosyncratic story of horror and redemption through the discovery of the pain of others. What I love about Kaaron Warren's writing, is that the uncanny is actually the normality, and what we call 'normality' is actually the real horror. Her characters are all wrecks, broken down in life and in the afterlife, and yet they shine with a dark and moving humanity that makes the reader reflect upon the given notions of 'evil', 'friendship', 'support', and many more. If I should ever teach a class on contemporary horror, 'Into Bones Like Oil' would definitely be on my list, to show the students how genre is made to be broken and re-invented. And Kaaron Warren is one of the best in her field when it comes to that." Seb Doubinsky , award-winnning author of the City-States Cycle series "Protagonist Dora's children are always at the back of her mind, at the fore. She has her eccentricities and multiplicities, and grave faults. As in all Kaaron Warren's delightful but grim stories she borrows from something relatable. She reaches for the uncanny in the everyday, makes it stranger yet. Into Bones Like Oil is no deviant from this ingenious author's modus operandishe finds the fear she wants to explore, here taking a parent's panic and extrapolating it. Warren is a mother who learnt to steal time standing at the stove cooking bolognaise sauce, stirring with one hand, writing with the othershe understands parental instinct and lures you with it. Narrated from Dora's perspective, the text is clear, patient in its scene setting. It doesn't draw attention to horror, but it is there: a haunting at the back or fore of your mind, inside a sunken building full of dilapidation. The house sat quiet at 6amthere is a strong sense of place. Dora's room is so tiny, it's like a grave. Corridor walls are full of shipwreck paintings. Everything is pale or sickly coloured. And even here, the author charms you, hoodwinks you. At your most ease, as you snuggle into your cushion, Warren tenders a fresh perspective to horror: It is not the sight of a severed hand or a head full of seaweed lolling on the ground. It's the gazing at a house next door, the one with a curled cat on the wall. And there's a child's tricycle asunder by the flowerpots. And walking boots out the door that's ajar. Sounds of washing in the kitchen. A waft of pie But you blink and you're not sure it's a memory, because all you see is a sealed-up well smothered with moss. Warren stirs awake an everyday fear that comes at you one hundred and one ways. And it's not a premonition because it is realised a billion times in a heart full of love. An accomplished story that is most unsettling." Eugen Bacon , Aurealis Magazine "A grieving mother is haunted by ghosts from her past in this dark, ethereal novella by Warren (The Gate Theory). Insomniac Dora, mourning the death of her two young daughters, comes to the Angelsea, a beachside rooming house, to escape her troubled lifebut the Angelsea is anything but a peaceful respite. The ghosts of those drowned in a shipwreck visit each night to speak their last words through the mouths of the inn's sleeping inhabitants. When the Angelsea's owners pressure Dora to become a vessel for a ghost, she worries that she will encounter the spirits of her girls and that they will confirm her worst fears by blaming her for their deaths because she failed to protect them. No one in the small, eccentric cast of rooming house boarders is without their faults, and despite Dora's flaws, readers will sympathize with her struggle to find forgiveness. This grim portrait of
Shirley Jackson award-winner Kaaron Warren published her first short story in 1993 and has had fiction in print every year since. She was recently given the Peter McNamara Lifetime Achievement Award and was Guest of Honour at World Fantasy 2018, Stokercon 2019 and Geysercon 2019. Kaaron was a Fellow at the Museum for Australian Democracy, where she researched prime ministers, artists and serial killers. Shes judged the World Fantasy Awards and the Shirley Jackson Awards. She has published five multi-award winning novels (Slights, Walking the Tree, Mistification, The Grief Hole and Tide of Stone) and seven short story collections, including the multi-award winning Through Splintered Walls. She has won the ACT Writers and Publishers Award four times and twice been awarded the Canberra Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Her most recent novella, Into Bones Like Oil (Meerkat Press), was shortlisted for a Shirley Jackson Award and the Bram Stoker Award, winning the Aurealis Award.