I love it when an author takes the time and trouble to include an introduction, or forward. Monette took the time, and what she said about literature and horror struck a chord with me. Monette names James and Lovecraft as two important influences on her desire to write fantastic fiction, noting that although she loves their use of language and crafting of story, she missed a more modern examination of the sexual and psychological aspects of characters.
The stories in The Bone Key are pure gold. Short, with as much of the stories left to the imagination as she puts into words, the language is reminiscent of the old fiction Monette says she loves. Her character, Kyle Murchison Booth, is eccentric yet sympathetic and appealing. Since he is such a shy, lone man it takes time to accumulate knowledge of the other people in his world. But slowly and surely Booth's experiences begin to build a population of interesting fringe characters -- some dead, some living. Booth's brushes with the unnatural are simultaneously creepy and thought-provoking.
If you're looking for subtle, literary stories with themes of horror (and how the most excruciating horror arises from the way people treat each other), try The Bone Key. You'll read these stories more than once!