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Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Book Review: To Solemn Graves by Kim Idynne

To Solemn Graves
by Kim Idynne
October 13, 2023
Feeling shunned in their new neighborhood, a family attributes the cold attitude of the neighbors to prejudice—but a little investigation unearths a more shocking motive. A conniving widower finds a new wife through a foreign dating service, but the bride turns out to know him much more intimately than he imagined. A young man enlists a shaman to exorcise a terrifying spirit from his apartment, and as he learns more about the supposed ghost, he begins to form a strange and tender bond with her. To the Solemn Graves presents thirteen stories that, while laced with the supernatural, remind us that most horror comes from the all too natural.


This is a collection of horror or dark fantasy short stories. Some felt not completed. But there are those that did, and I enjoyed. Like the story, “Yanakoya,” about a indigenous girl being taken care of by her grandmother, Nina, who used magic in connection with a female black jaguar called Yanakoya. The only jaguar still hanging around the jungle near the village and plantations, as the rest that dared to were shot. Sadly, Yanakoya’s two cubs were killed, although the big cat survived. 

I also enjoyed “To Solemn Graves.” Which is also the title of the collection. About Mona who moved and bought a house and at first thinks the place is haunted, until she finds speakers and electronics embedded in the walls. The other story, “Night Demon,” I liked is the one about the man, Jae, who finds a spirit, who appears wearing an insect mask, haunting his apartment him and his partner live in.

Nothing is truly scary, the paranormal is more paranormal than horror, and some may not have an ending that felt complete to me, but still they are comfortable stories to relax with.

I gave To Solemn Graves 4 sheep.

Reviewed by Pamela K. Kinney


About the Author:
Kim Idynne is a Minneapolis-based writer and illustrator. She is the author of several novels for adults and young adults, and she has also published a variety of short fiction. Her first short story, "Meat," was published in the February 2015 issue of Literary Mama; the following year, Idynne received a Silver Pen award for her story "Fungus." Her artwork has been featured in journals, books, datebooks, and at galleries around the Twin Cities area. You can check out her work at

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