Sunday, October 25, 2009

Short Story Sunday

I really meant to post this LAST Sunday. I'm almost finished with the book (only the Charlie Parker Novella left) and yet, I've only posted one Short Story Sunday. It looks like I'll be posting even after the challenge has finished!! Once again, selections are being taken from John Connolly's awesome book of shorts, Nocturnes! This book has some seriously great short stories!

The New Daughter. "In truth, I cannot recall the first time I noticed the change in her behavior. She was always developing, altering -- or so it seemed -- with each passing day. The story of a single father who decides to move his children to the country and get out of the city. He bought an old rectory set on acres of land. The house had been on the market for ages, and at first, it seemed a steal. Until he started attributing the changes in his daughter on the house. Or rather on the mound that was located in one of the fields on the property. A "burial" mound, or so said some of the locals. What was actually buried there? And did it have anything to do with the strange scraping sounds that could be heard outside the bedroom windows at night? (When he woke one night to find his daughter at the edge of his bed. And she said: "I'm not Louisa. I'm your new daughter". I got chills!)

The Ritual of the Bones. "The headmaster's voice was the voice of God". This is the story of Jenkins, one of the two scholarship students at The Montague School, one of the most prestigious prep schools in all of England. Only the wealthiest, most elite families had children at The Montague School. But once every ten years, a couple of scholarships were doled out to worthy students. As with any prep school, there were rituals and pomp and circumstance. But one of the strangest was the ceremony when certain select upperclassmen were presented with small velvet boxes -- each one containing a bone. Where did the bones come from...and what was the REAL Ritual of the Bones?

The Furnace Room. "The Thibault company once made locomotives and carriages for the railroads, famous names that ran on lines all across the Northeast: green cars for Wicasset and Quebec; green and red for Sandy River; yellow and green for Bridgton and Saco. This is the story of a loner with a secret past who drifts into town looking for a job. One day on a walk along the waterfront, he sees a sign for a Night Watchman at the old Thibault company. Seems like an easy job, at least until the night he hears noises. And sees strange creatures going to the "Furnace Room". But what really gets him, is seeing his wife there. The wife he had killed.

The Underbury Witches. "Steam and fog swirled together upon the station platform, turning men and women into gray phantoms and creating traps for unwary out of carelessly positioned cases and chests." The town of Underbury has a sordid history. In 1628, Ellen Drury and her sisters were executed for witchcraft. Now, 200 years later, Sergeant Stokes and Inspector Croft of Scotland Yard are called to the town of Underbury to investigate the mysterious death of a local man. A man that wasn't exactly the nicest man around. A man that had a history of abuse towards women. But what animal could have caused the death? Because surely the wounds inflicted on Mal Travers were not made by a human. But if it wasn't an animal, what could it have been? And what secret are the women of Underbury hiding?

I'll leave it at 4 stories this week. 4 really GOOD stories. I have to say that The New Daughter was probably the creepiest of all that I read this week. Seriously, I got chills reading this one (AND I see they are making a movie based on this story. With Kevin Costner. Interesting.) If you like creepy, scary short stories, I highly recommend this book!! John Connolly definitely knows how to set the mood!! Although the RIP IV Challenge will be over, I'll be back next Sunday to finish up my review of this book!! Till then, happy reading !!


Eva said...

I read Noctures last year, and I love it soooo much! I'm happy I own it, because I totally want to reread some of the stories on Halloween! And "The New Daughter" seriously creeped me out as well.

Andi said...

I really need to get hold of this book. I seem to have stalled a bit on 20th Century Ghosts for whatever reason (maybe short story burnout?). This one sounds great, though. I'd revisit Connolly any ole day.