Hoaxes and Other Stories by Brian Dinuzzo. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2022. 161 pages. $17.95, paperback.
Right away, this book pulled me in. The titular Hoax, the leading story of the collection by Dinuzzo, is about a budding actor who keeps dying, found the victim of a number of terrible accidents, though each one reported to the news is fake—a hoax. The rest of the stories in the collection do a similarly excellent job of grabbing me immediately, drawing me into the folds with fascinating scenarios and interesting characters. If you’re like me—a chronic lover of weird stories—this collection is for you. Dinuzzo expertly crafts these strange situations and makes each one a treat to read.
These strange stories are, of course, held up on the backs of Dinuzzo’s wonderful characters. Grandpa Charlie of The Undeniable Proof of the Bigfoot comes to mind as one expertly rendered example: an explosive storyteller and grizzled hunter of the cryptid of legend, unwilling to let go of his first encounter with his mark, obsessed with unearthing the secret magics of his unexplained world, even as it cuts him off from his community. This wonderful pairing of situation and character are what make Hoaxes and Other Stories such a wonderful read for the individual who seeks strangeness with a heartwarming humanity at its center.
—Sydney Anderson, MAR