Length: 162 Pages
Publisher: Raw Dog Screaming Press
Release date: July 28, 2013
Synopsis: Asylums once used to confine those deemed mentally unfit linger, forgotten behind trees or urban development, beautiful yet desolate in their decay. Within them festers something far more unnerving than unlit corners or unexplained noises: the case files left to moulder out of sight, out of conscience. Stephanie M. Wytovich forces your hands upon these crumbling, warped binders and exposes your mind to every taboo misfortune experienced by the outcast, exiled, misbegotten monsters and victims who have walked among us. The poetry contained in Hysteria performs internal body modification on its readers in an unrelenting fashion, employing broad-spectrum brutality treatment that spans the physical to the societal.
Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review
From the author’s note I was hesitant to open this book. Not because it didn’t sound like a great book, but frankly what Stephanie M. Wytovich wrote terrified me. Madness, hysteria, and all forms of crazy were waiting for me, the level of which I hadn’t expected. I’ve been a fan of Stephanie for some time, and what she poured out in these pages was a special kind of twisted.
Her first story, A Killer Recipe, tore through me like a chainsaw to a tree, and from there it was all over. I fell down the rabbit hole in a hot minute. Black Bird had me hypnotized and unable to turn away as I was pulled deeper into the deranged world of Hysteria. Another short I loved was Blood Cocktails, wow, holy hell, short and sweet, and to the fucking point. The mix of horror and sexual suggestion is never far when you enter Stephanie M. Wytovich’s world. Add a dash of madness and murder and this is what Hysteria will give you.
Braided was one of my favorites. I don’t have the words to describe the feeling it sparked in me. This is a story you must read; no words can adequately explain it. Con Artist and Confession were two more fucking brilliant pieces. Darkness was dark, as it should be, and filled with feelings I could relate to, for better or worse. The poems kept getting better the more I read. Eye Appointment, Insomnia, Lipstick, No Vacancy were so damn fantastic I couldn’t put this book down. As with most of the stories in Hysteria, I can’t fathom the dark place this creativity lives in the authors mind. Rounding out my list of great pieces were On My Terms and Patient Limb. Hysteria is straight up horror weaved in the form of poetry, which Stephanie M. Wytovich is a master. This is a book you must read as a horror fan.
Stephanie M. Wytovich, biography-
Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous venues such as Weird Tales, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, Fantastic Tales of Terror, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8, as well as many others.
Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Point Park University, and a mentor with Crystal Lake Publishing. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare, and most recently, The Apocalyptic Mannequin. Her debut novel, The Eighth, is published with Dark Regions Press.