John Connolly is the bestselling author of thirteen thrillers featuring P.I. Charlie Parker, which The Independent calls “the finest crime series currently in existence.” Ten years ago he published Nocturnes, a collection of supernatural tales. This follow-up volume contains thirteen new tales — eleven short stories and two novellas, the multi-award-winning “The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository” and “The Fractured Atlas – Five Fragments” — set in Britain and Ireland. Here’s a clip from Mike Berry’s review in Portland Press Herald:
“The Blood of the Lamb” takes place in Dublin, focused on a married couple as they await the arrival of two Vatican priests who will examine their daughter. The girl has begun to exhibit miraculous healing powers, and her encounter with the visitors reveals itself to be a chilling exercise in misdirection. “Lamia” follows a woman’s quest for vengeance against her rapist, and “The Hollow King” employs the structure of a fairy tale to explore a hellish bargain.
It’s difficult to do anything new with the classic ghost story, but Connolly displays a sure hand when he puts his mind to the task. “A Dream of Winter” spins a creepy spell in exactly 300 words, and “A Haunting” examines the end of a long, loving marriage through the prism of a spectral visitation. Connolly moves farther afield geographically with “Lazarus,” in which the friends and family of the title character discover that corporeal resurrection has its drawbacks. And in “Razorshins,” a group of Maine bootleggers during Prohibition face off against a creature that demands tribute from any who cross its path…
The centerpiece of Night Music is “The Fractured Atlas – Five Fragments,” another tale of the magical properties of literature. Across the centuries, unfortunate individuals in the book trade encounter a mysterious tome that seems intent upon rewriting the very essence of reality. The short novel is nastier and far more unsettling than most of the other offerings here, reminiscent of the darkest horrors of Clive Barker and H.P. Lovecraft.
Night Music: Nocturnes 2 was published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books on October 6, 2015. It is 464 pages, priced at $17.00 in trade paperback and $12.99 for the digital edition. Click on the covers above for bigger versions.