Nocturnes Paperback – Oct 10 2006
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
"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 Charlie Parker series of mystery novels, the supernatural collection Nocturnes, and (with Jennifer Ridyard) the Samuel Johnson and Chronicles of the Invaders series for younger readers. He lives in Dublin, Ireland. For more information, see his website at JohnConnollyBooks.com, or follow him on Twitter @JConnollyBooksSee all Product Description
Inside This Book(Learn More)
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"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
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.
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.
I applaud this author for taking the challenge of moving beyond the mystery/thriller genre and embracing the horror/supernatural genre. This takes courage because some readers are going to be disappointed that you've moved past your genre, but the price of that is to limit an authors scope and ambition. Therefore I applaud Connolly's willingness to push his readers and his own abilities to embrace another genre, and he does so admirably.
This is a good collection of traditional horror stories, and work best by creating a sense of disturbing anticipation, a foreknowledge of dreadful circumstances, a sense of a natural world that's not quite right, and of darker purposes around us. Well this does a pretty decent job of it.
This is good horror, if not good mystery. You are not going to get a good puzzle, or a really clever character, or even the triumph of good over evil, this isn't it. Good horror works mostly on atmosphere and by appealing to our notions of being disturbed. Readers should not be satisfied with "good triumphs" because good doesn't. Good horror should be disturbing. Supernatural horror should make the magical or supernatural more tangible and believable, and thus disrupting one's sense of order.
And good short stories are lessons in economy- they achieve what they aim at without overdoing it. Connolly does well with the structure he's given. My hope is that he does more horror and less mystery, for we need more good horror. This is good Lovercraftian horror, at which many try and so few succeed
The two novellas- the Charlie Parker story and the Cancer Cowboy, were two of the weakest stories, though very good. At times Parker seems to be stretching here trapped between the economy of a short story and the ability to expand in a novel but also trying to hard to capture a sense of America. I liked both. The Cancer Cowboy evokes a sense of impending dread and loss and I'd like to read more Charlie Parker, but both stories are a bit too long when they could have been tighter. Perhaps the other weak link is the Underbury Witches, although I like the feminist theme and enjoyed the characters, this story is too predictable though presenting two characters that I would like to see again.
Other stories that work. I thought Noctures, Ritual of the Bones, Erlking were great. The New Daughter was quite good. Wakeford Abyss, Deep Dark Green were both very enjoyable. I was tickled with Miss Fromm Vampire, and the Inkpot Monkey. My favorite story was of a small church where the local priest is digging down as something else is digging its way up. What are you willing to do to test your faith?
Good stuff here, fine collection of traditional atmospheric horror. I hope for more horror from Connolly in the future. This was a delightful surprise.