‘The Man in the Ditch’ is a rather quick read which centres on a married couple moving into a new house, where the wife Linzi recurringly sees a naked dead man in a ditch though her husband J.D. cannot.
This story is set in a place that could ignite horror: the marshes, the bog, the isolation. Yet reading this story I never felt what tension there was completely resolve by the end … perhaps I even believed I should have expected more from the tension as it was building in the story. And while Linzi works well as a character, I did not enjoy the peppering of the card reader used to add the expected ideals of the horror genre.
This is not to say that Lisa Tuttle is a poor writer. She has won awards and crossed multiple genres and reading audiences with her work. I also enjoyed her short story ‘The Replacements’ that has uncomfortableness to it when reading in terms of a creature that can in many ways change a life. I just did not enjoy this story as much as others.
Check out ‘A Book of Horrors’ edited by Stephen Jones for this story and others in the same field of horror, as he has attempted to collect tales that bring back what horror really is for audiences.