A few years ago, I read a wonderful book called The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. I can not begin to tell you how much I loved this little treasure. (Instead, I'll just point you to my review. I gushed enough here.) Suffice it to say, if you haven't read the book, it's a wonderfully dark, sinister fairy tale and worth ever second you have the cover opened.
But today, we are going to talk about John Connolly's book of short stories: Nocturnes. I've missed the first half of the RIP Shorts Challenge, but I won't miss another Sunday.
The Cancer Cowboy Rides is the first story in the collection, and one of the longest. The cowboy's name was not Buddy Carson. The cowboy didn't have a name, not now. There may have been one a long time ago, but if there was, then it had been lost to him for many years. Jim Lopez was the Chief of Police in the small hamlet of Easton, New Hampshire. It was quiet and small, a place where everyone knew your name. And he loved his town. Being Chief of Police was easy in a town like Easton. There was never a lot of trouble....at least there wasn't until the day Buddy Carson arrived in town and people started getting sick. Really sick. It seems that everywhere the cowboy touches, cancer seems to spread. And it's up to Lopez to save not only the ones he loves, but the entire town of Easton from the Cancer Cowboy.
Mr. Pettinger's Daemon is the story of Mr. Pettinger. He was a chaplain during World War II and had seen the horrors of war first hand. Now that the war had ended, he is trying to pick up the pieces of his mind and move on. The Bishop has decided to move him to the tiny parish of Chetwyn-Dark to recuperate. Mr. Fell, the minister there now has seemingly had a "crisis of faith", and needs to be replaced. It is up to Mr. Pettinger to find out what has been going on in this tiny parish. And to find out exactly what has been trying to dig itself out of the crypt that is directly beneath the church in Chetwyn-Dark.
Finally, we have The Erlking, which is the tale of something that goes bump in the night. The Erlking, that steals children away from the beds, never to be seen again.
I love this time of year!! I love the scary story and the urban legend. And I love tales of things that go bump in the night! I had to look up The Erlking to find it's origins. It is found a lot in old German poems and ballads and is described as a "malevolent creature who haunts forests and carries travelers off to their deaths". But Connolly's short story is based on a ballad by Goethe called Der Erlkonig, who preys on children, in the forest. And it literally sent shivers down my spine. Not bad for a story that's only 10 pages long!! Connolly definitely joins the ranks of Gaiman and King as a talented writer that can scare you with the short story!! (I know. This isn't much of a review. I have problems with reviewing Short Stories! Maybe next week will be better!) Till next week then!!