When it comes to short fiction, I place Jeffrey Ford up there with Kelly Link and Ray Bradbury. He’s a master of the form, and unsurprisingly, A NATURAL HISTORY OF HELL does not contain a single dud. Each story features exquisitely crafted prose, an artist’s eye for detail, and impeccable characterization, but two stories in particular really blew me away. “Mount Chary Galore,” which displays an astonishing level of imagination and is so chock full of story that I can’t believe it’s only twenty pages long, and “Rocket Ship to Hell,” which I can only describe as such a perfect storm of voice, story, and characterization that when I was finished reading it I took a few minutes to bask in its afterglow. Those who have read Ford before know what a great writer he is, but if you haven’t and are looking for a good place to start this collection won’t steer you wrong. Beautiful, powerful stories from start to finish.