The Whites of Their Eyes — Xen

June 3, 2020

36498642. sy475 TITLE: The Whites of Their Eyes: A Collection of Queer Horror
AUTHOR: Xen (AKA Cole McCade)
GENRE: Horror
PAGES: 263pg
SOURCE: Kindle Unlimited

In the town of Inverse, Silvino and Scott Orellano discover the darkness in their deepest hearts. At the cusp of a new life, Kane Orwell learns terrible truths whispered by a black and eldritch mouth. Torn between one identity and another, Shania Logan struggles to hold on to the fragments of her self. And standing on the threshold of the afterlife, a grieving wife balances between life and death on the flicker of a candle’s flame.
Four tales of horror, written from a queer perspective. In this collection of short stories and novellas, our heroes and heroines will explore the depths of terror both macabre and mundane–and live their darkest fears, reflected in the whites of their eyes.

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Whew. DAMN. This collection was… SO GOOD?! I love Cole McCade’s writing so much and absolutely consider him one of my favorite romance authors (or favorite authors in general), but I had NO CLUE his horror work was just as flawless. This was legitimately so unsettling and creepy and I think I may have actual bona fide nightmares about one of the scenes in one of these stories.

First, let’s talk about the concept of queer horror to begin with — as a queer person who adores horror, I’ve always been a little disheartened by how rare it is to find horror stories centering people who look like me, so reading this collection and finding that each and every primary character was queer? *chef kiss* AMAZING. We have sapphic characters, gay characters, and a delightful ace couple in our final story.

That said, as is mentioned in the author’s note in the beginning of the book, this is horror . These are not happy stories with guarantees of sunny endings, and if you’re not comfortable reading depictions of queer folks going Through It™, be aware of that before heading into this one. I personally am a strong believer, much like Xen, that queer authors deserve the right to showcase all queer experiences — not just happy ones — so I was personally really pleased with the gritty nature of these stories and the way they never held back.

Every time I pick up a new story from this author, I’m consistently blown away by how beautiful his writing is and how instantaneously I become attached to his characters (especially the beautiful elderly couple in ‘Flicker’, the final story). I think this is an incredible collection and I know I’ll be recommending it for a long, long time to come.

content w a r n i n g s →

racism, xenophobia, homophobia, slur usage, memories of an abusive parent, attempted murder by said parent, body horror, alcoholism, animal death, a dying spouse

d i v e r s i t y →

‘Inverse’ features a Salvadoran gay man & his gay husband; ‘Insurrection’ features a butch bi woman; ‘Mouth’ features a Black gay MC & his Japanese queer husband; ‘Flicker’ features an asexual couple, both described with brown skin

t l ; d r →

Gritty, unsettling, and downright delightful.


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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.


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