Book Review: Night Music: Nocturnes Volume 2

Night Music: Nocturnes Volume 2 by John Connolly, Nocturnes 2

A decade after Nocturnes first terrified and delighted readers, John Connolly, bestselling author of thirteen acclaimed thrillers featuring private investigator Charlie Parker, gives us a second volume of tales of the supernatural. From stories of the monstrous for dark winter nights to fables of fantastic libraries and haunted books, from a tender account of love after death to a frank, personal, and revealing account of the author's affection for myths of ghosts and demons, this is a collection that will surprise, delight—and terrify.

John Connolly is best know for his Charlie Parker series a supernatural thriller series. A few years ago he released his first short story collection Nocturnes, this October he will add a the sequel, Night Music to the series. I have heard a lot of good new about John Connolly by several other bloggers. I have had his books on my to read list for a long time, but I have to admit that Night Music is my first book that I read of John Connolly. Night Music is as I mentioned a collection of short stories, and non featured I think a Charlie Parker story inside, so I can't judge on that. But John Connolly did convince me from his first story in Night Music

A lot of people that I talk to think, that when you read short stories all within one genre, that is gets boring, well I always say that they are wrong. There is so much to explore with in a theme of an anthology. And when it comes down to the short stories that are featured in Night Music, they are really diverse, ranging from stories that have a high supernatural influence, stories that are inspired by other books (will get to that), and the traditional horror story and/or the combination of it. There are a complete of thirteen different stories, could this be a sign of foreboding? Amongst these thirteen stories there are two well know novella's, one with which John Connolly won the Edgar Award back in 2014. 

Below you can find the complete list of the stories in Night Music.

1. The Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository

2. The Blood of the Lamb
3. A Dream of Winter
4. The Lamia
5. The Hollow King: From the Universe of the Book of Lost Things
6. The Children of Dr. Lyall
7. The Fractured Atlas - Five Fragments
i. The Dread and Fear of Kings
ii. The Dijnn
iii. Mud
iv.The Wanderer in Unknown Realms
v. And In Darkness Shall We Dwell
8. Razorshins
9. On The Anatomization of the Unknown Man (1637) by Frans Mier
10. A Haunting
11. Lazarus
12. Holmes on the Range: A tale of the Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository
13. I Live Here. 

In short story collection the first story should just have a certain kick to it, it should pique the readers interest to read the other stories. This is what John Connolly manages just superbly. The first story The Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository won the Edgar Award and I can clearly see why. The story picks up with some thrilling elements following Mr. Berger, who has always been a very passionate about book and after he looses his mother he even more turn to them. One night he stumbles upon something weird that he can relate to a classic work of fiction and he finds a new goal in life finding that women again. This in the ends brings him to the Caxton Private Library. This is far from your ordinary library, granted it is a home for something book related. The Caxton Library is a home for characters. Yes thats right, characters from books. But only characters from authors that have passed away. and thus Mr. Berger gets his answers. And so much more as you don't stumble upon the Library, it stumbles onto you. The Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository is a very fine story indeed. 

The Lamia is a terrifying story in the sense that it is something that could very well happen our day. This is a powerful story about domestic violence and about getting even. In the past Carolyn has been heavily abused by her husband, though they have been separated for a while he keeps on appearing an whether it is a figment of her imagination or real is hard to tell. Carolyn is on the brink of giving it up all together until she receives a letter that states " I can help you"  with a name and address written on it, it's an invitation. Not knowing what Carolyn can expect she goes albeit reluctantly. During the meeting it becomes clear what it is all about, she doesn't want to do it at first but in the end is convinced to help. Did she feel regret? No. And she shouldn't. You can accept this as a supernatural horror story or as something more a story with a message.

Razorshins is a myth-story. It takes place in the time when bootlegging was popular during the Prohibition. A famed creature called Razorshins is said to roam certain parts. The story is actually a retelling of several events in history and how things went down. I have to say that there is quite a lot of backstory given in this story about The King Solomon and the whole business. The thing that makes this story scary is the fact that Razorshins actually is speculated about there isn't a concrete creature sketched that causes the death/dissaperances. THe end message is clear though.Everything requires payment. 

On The Anatomization of the Unknown Man (1637) by Frans Mier is a truly terrifying story. The Anatomization of the Unknown Man is a piece of art about the opening of the body. It begin rather innocent telling a bit of background turns to a horrific story wherein it soon states that the artist in quest Frans Mier doesn't even exist. And from this point onwards you know that you are in the mind of a psychopath. It's a scary story that gave me chills across my spine.

Holmes on the Range is a brilliant example of once again using the Caxton Library and Book Depository. If you are familiar with the history of Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle you know that Sherlock was killed in the story the Final Problem. This also caused Sherlock to come to the Caxton Library. Everything seemed fine enough as Holmes and Watson got settled. But not for long as Arthur Conan Doyle started to write the Hound of Baskervilles, which took place before The Final Problem, there by renewing Sherlock Holmes. Do you know where I am hinting at? Calling Holmes back to life, though not necessarily making the current Holmes disappear but more likely of calling a new Sherlock into being, it is thus that Sherlock has to convince Arthur of the possible problems that might arise if more new stories are being written with him in the lead. As I already said, a great story that shows a nice utilization of the Caxton Library idea. 

I live here is a perfect ending to the anthology where John Connolly discusses the theme of supernatural fiction in a great way highlighting different elements and what makes several writers unqiue in their field. A real eye opener, And the best thing is that is it based on a true story. Guess who? 

Night Music is an anthology that completely surprised me. I hadn't expected to be send a review copy by Hodder and Stougthon but I am sure glad that they did. This being my first book by John Connelly I didn't know what I was about to read but with these powerful thirteen short stories he has already won me over.  Night Music features a great variety of short stories, from a more supernatural influenced one that can be found in the Caxton Library or the truly horrifying and terrifying of Razorshins and The Lamia, an other noted story is definitely The Fractured Atlas. All in all this anthology is definitely a winner. Creepy stories, perfectly suited from the coming fall/winter period. Read it with the lights on. Just to be sure. 


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