Anthony V. Pugliese
“All Things Truly Wicked: Tales of Sinners, Saints, Science, and the Supernatural” is a compilation of short stories by Anthony V. Pugliese that explores the complex workings of the human mind and the darker aspects of human nature. The book features a range of genres, including horror, science fiction, and the metaphysical—and they all contain unexpected twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the end. For instance, a chapter in the book might initially give the impression of being a crime thriller but then suddenly shift into the realm of the paranormal.
Throughout the book, Pugliese isn’t afraid to explore disconcerting themes and topics, resulting in chilling tales that provoke reflection. It is also important to note that some of the scenes in the book are quite graphic in their depiction. For example, “Her eyes were wide with fear and anguish. She beckoned for help as the behemoth rat violated her with vigorous force.”
The author uses different techniques to build a haunting and powerful story. He draws on elements of religion, such as Jesus Christ, specific vocabulary, such as “la amada de Dios”, folklore, such as gremlins and Krampus, and scientific concepts, such as tardigrades, to create a particular atmosphere. Adding believability to the fictional world they are creating.
Pugliese’s writing style is atmospheric—his characters are well-rounded, each with motivations and desires. This makes it easy for the reader to become invested in their stories and root for them, even when they’re not necessarily “good.” They feel like real people with real-life problems, such as this excerpt: “I found someone else.” “Another woman?” “No.” Her eyes kept staring forward, no blinking, no emotion. Her next words seemed rehearsed. “I’m…involved…with a man.”
“All Things Truly Wicked: Tales of Sinners, Saints, Science, and the Supernatural” is a collection of short stories that intertwine psychological exploration with unsettling imagery. It will appeal to horror, science fiction, and supernatural fans. This work of fiction offers something for every type of reader. Stories that will leave a lasting impression on the reader, staying with them even after finishing the book.
– The Moving Words Review
Official Entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 3, 2024