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Reviewed by Nino Lobiladze for Readers' Favorite
Finding the Bones by Nikki Kallio is a collection of nine short stories and a novella, including one that tells us about a woman who discovers bones while walking with her dog in the wood. Overwhelmed by the memories of her losses, she was too terrified to go closer. A lonely boy named Tommy reads books about extraterrestrials and hopes to find out what happened to his mother. An elderly lady diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and haunted by a traumatic past escapes from the Northwoods Manor facility. A hoarder's daughter cleans the house to reveal well-hidden family mysteries. Kristin, a paranormal investigator, explores the rich history of an old inn and her possible connection to a famous killer. Solar storms would soon change the fate of humanity and the course of Gin's life forever. Fans of short prose with a paranormal element, suspense, and science fiction will appreciate these and other themes of this mesmerizing anthology.
Finding the Bones is about our perception of reality. The award-winning author shows how traumatic events distort our appreciation of the outside world. In Disappearing, Tommy persuades himself that his mother was taken by aliens, refusing to accept the possibility of another but potentially more terrifying reason for her absence. Nikki Kallio uses contrasts and asks difficult questions, leaving some of them open for readers to answer. In Resurface, Janine destroyed the barricades of trash her late mother Betsy had built in her house, trying to hide from inner guilt and the cruel world around her. Janine preferred open spaces and emptiness, but they both suffered the same disturbing recollections of the past that they tried to avoid at any cost. I liked the unpredictable twists and shocking ending of this short story. Kallio creates a frightening and realistic dystopia in The Fledgling, touching on another important topic, the tendency to take refuge in safe spaces. The recent pandemic presented us with many issues, including the fear of leaving our cozy homes. The author’s psychological exploration challenges us to look deeper within ourselves to find our place in a rapidly changing world.