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Nocturnes [Paperback]

John Connolly
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 10 2006
Bestselling author John Connolly's first collection of short fiction, Nocturnes, now features five additional stories -- never-before published for an American audience -- in a dark, daring, utterly haunting anthology of lost lovers and missing children, predatory demons, and vengeful ghosts. In "The New Daughter," a father comes to suspect that a burial mound on his land hides something very ancient, and very much alive; in "The Underbury Witches," two London detectives find themselves battling a particularly female evil in a town culled of its menfolk. And finally, private detective Charlie Parker returns in the long novella "The Reflecting Eye," in which the photograph of an unknown girl turns up in the mailbox of an abandoned house once occupied by an infamous killer. This discovery forces Parker to confront the possibility that the house is not as empty as it appears, and that something has been waiting in the darkness for its chance to kill again.

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Nocturnes + The Gates + The Infernals: A Samuel Johnson Tale
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"In the crowded killing fields of crime fiction John Connolly has quickly and decisively established himself as a unique voice."
-- Michael Connelly, New York Times bestselling author of The Narrows

About the Author

John Connolly is the author of The Wrath of AngelsThe Burning SoulThe Book of Lost Things, and Bad Men, among many others. He is a regular contributor to The Irish Times and lives in Dublin, Ireland. For more information, see his website at JohnConnollyBooks.com, or follow him on Twitter @JConnollyBooks.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Great from beginning to end! March 3 2009
Format:Paperback
I have read alot of horror anthologies, this is by far the best collection of works I have read to date. The very least of these stories pale only in comparison with the very best but included in another anthology they would rise to the top.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  56 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended --- with the lights on April 2 2005
By Bookreporter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
NOCTURNES by John Connolly is a collection of short fiction. The stories are bookended by two extended tales set in the United States, while the balance of the remaining thirteen tales takes place in Connolly's native British Isles. Of those thirteen, nine are transcripts of stories written for presentation on BBC's Radio Four. All are --- to varying degrees --- a wild, terrifying ride.

"The Cancer Cowboy Rides" opens NOCTURNES. It is somewhat reminiscent of a Stephen King tale --- the story of a being who intentionally spreads a fast-acting terminal cancer by casual contact. This is a terrifying story, one that will have you avoiding the handclasps and bumps of strangers, and the jostle of crowds.

The closing story, "The Reflecting Eye," is a Charlie Parker novella that fills over one-fourth of the book. It finds Parker waiting with Rachel for the birth of their child. Their quiet peace is disturbed when Parker somewhat reluctantly undertakes an investigation at the behest of the owner of an abandoned house, once occupied by an infamous serial killer of children. A photograph of an unknown girl has turned up in the mailbox. It may not mean anything, but Parker can't take the chance, given that there may be someone, or something, waiting within the nether reaches of the house, poised to kill again.

"The Reflecting Eye," as with other Parker tales, flirts with the supernatural, though Connolly perhaps delves deeper into the genre than he has previously. While "The Reflecting Eye" will only whet the appetite of Parker fans --- it is an appetizer, not a full meal --- it does introduce a dark, mysterious character known as The Collector, who may play a role in future Parker novels and is worth reading for that reason alone.

The remaining stories in NOCTURNES are tinged with Lovecraftian touches and are quite well done, even if the topics are familiar ones. I have been reading Lovecraft and variations of his Cthulhu mythos for a long time, and I'm always pleasantly (or unpleasantly) surprised. "The Wakeford Abyss," for example, had me yelling, "Oh shoot! Shoot! Darn!" (or words to that effect) when I finished this creepy, claustrophobic tale of two spelunkers who decide to explore a cavelike abyss that the rural locals tend to leave to itself. Forests aren't any safer either as you'll discover after reading "The Erlking," which will not only have you skirting the edge of the local woods that your beagle likes to run through, but also will result in you giving that locking latch on your windows an extra tug to make sure they're shut.

Moving? Well, "Nocturne" will ensure that you check out the history of that little fixer-upper that the realtor is so keen on selling you, the one where the previous owner liked to play the piano for all the children in the neighborhood. And if you're wondering why that daughter of yours is acting so...differently as she approaches adolescence, the answer is right there in "The New Daughter." Check out that doll collection. And what's in it.

NOCTURNES demonstrates the range as well as the depth of Connolly's talent. Hopefully this volume won't be overlooked due to its trade paperback format, but will instead open up Connolly to a new audience, while his longtime fans will find more than enough to keep them entertained. Recommended, with the lights on.

--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Shorts of Horror June 28 2005
By Sebastien Pharand - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Some authors are made to write short stories, a tighter, shorter format that needs to be told with little expense. Others are made to write longer narratives. John Connolly is one of these authors. His novels (starring PI Charlie Parker) are always a great mix of suspense and the paranormal. The books take you places you've never been before and are written with wit, humour and great style. Unfortunately, the same cannot be applied to Connolly's first collection of short stories.

It comes as no surprise then that the two best pieces in this collection are also the longest one. The Cancer Cowboy Rides is an AMAZING tale of suspense and terror that will leave you biting your nails (One of the best pieces of terror I've read in a while). And The Reflecting Eye : A Charlie Parker Story showcases the author's talent when it comes to blending horror and suspense. The tale is fast-paced, gritty and highly entertaining.

The rest of this collection has its ups and downs. The problem with Connolly's stories is that they are all very predictable and typical. There are no real surprises in these short tales of suspense and terror. The reader isn't left with much to play with.

Yet, there are a few stories worth mentioning. The Erlking takes childhood fears to the very next level. The Underbury Witches (another longer piece) is fun yet a bit too predictable for its own good. And The Shifting in the Sands has a good premise but it is downplayed by a so-so ending.

I am a big fan of Connolly's work, but some author's just aren't made for the short story format. And yet, this collection had me going. I can't wait to read Connolly's newest thriller. I know that I'll be in for a good ride. As it is, Nocturnes is a decent collection with a couple of great pieces and many forgettable ones.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT the place to start, but brilliant none the less March 28 2005
By Steven Draa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If this is your first time spent with John Connelly, you are not really getting the full impact of what his writing is like. Many of the short stories herein live up to the Charlie Parker series (obviously the novella within), but he branches out into strange and darker waters.
I would recommend this for people that are already familiar with Connelly. But please do yourself a favor and dive head first into the series. Read them in order. If you don't, you will miss out on the way things unfold. Each one is deeper and darker than the next, and dare I say better than the rest. Very intense, violent (but not overbearing), often heart wrenching, humourous and beautifully poetic.
Jump in and leave a light on.

Ps..... the fictional characters Hannible Lecter and Clarise Starling featured in the Thomas Harris novels would enjoy reading about the spooky folks contained in Connelly's pages. Perhaps they too would leave a light on.

(all of the other books would rate at 5 stars, at least)

POSTSCRIPT: as I have reread some of the stories (such as "the monkey inkwell", and "The Underburry Witches" as well as the Parker novella "The Reflecting Eye"), I am inclined to give my missig star back (so 5 out of 5 now). Just keep in mind that Connelly dives more into the supernatural here than what I have been used to, all the while keeping it very real and plausible. This book is to be enjoyed and many of the stories over and over again.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful mix of chills and thrills! May 13 2007
By Z Hayes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Nocturnes [ by the author of The Book of Lost Things] is the first collection of short stories by Irish author John Connolly. The book consists of 15 stories:The Cancer Cowboy Rides, Mr Pettinger's Daemon, The Erlking, The New Daughter, The Ritual of the Bones, The Furnace Room, The Underbury Witches, The Inkpot Monkey, The Shifting of the Sands, Some Children Wander by Mistake, Deep Dark Green, Miss Froom Vampire, Nocturne, The Wakeford Abyss, & The Reflecting Eye: A Charlie Parker Novella.If you love the English Gothic horror master M.R. James, you'll definitely appreciate the stories here...they are basically supernatural stories, but some have been also given the crime thriller treatment to good effect. Some of my favorites in this collection are "The Uderbury Wiches", in which two Lndon detectives go to a small rural town to investigate a mysterious death, and find links with witch burnings dating back to the 17th century. The last story in the collection ,The Reflecting Eye has Charlie Parker, Pi as its protagonist...he finds himself being hired to investigate an abandoned house that once was the residence of a child murderer. The present owner of the house finds a picture of a young girl in the mailbox, and wants parker to ascertain the identity of the girl, worried that the child is either a victim of the murderer in the past, or a new victim targeted by a would-be copycat killer. Suffice to say, all these stories share an abundance of chills, and are written with great atmosphere, and well-plotted. A must-read for fans of supernatural horror or thrillers.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent collection Jan. 10 2006
By Nightingales - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am a big fan of Connolly's novels and I wasnt sure what to expect from this collection of short stories. I was pleasantly surprised! These are really great, some in the style of older, british ghost stories, some more in Connolly's typical style - none of them left me bored or dissapointed. This is a must not just for Connolly fans but also for all fans of old-fashioned ghost stories!
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