It's always fun to read Jean Ray's work. Ray's writing is generally complex and elegant. As usual, these short stories have a drab old-world feel to them. Modern technology is anathema to Ray's work. He also displays a sardonic sense of humor that shows up on occasion. Wakefield Press is publishing his books in the order in which they originally appeared which makes these Books 3 and 4. Book 5 will be released in April and is Ray's most famous book Malpertuis (which became a movie starring Orson Welles).

The Great Nocturne is a short book and didn't deliver as well as the others but it's still worth reading and buying. In "The Phantom in the Hold", a rogue stows away on a ship and falls prey to maddening phantasmagoria. In "The 7 Castles of the Sea King", a man draws strange symbols which hint at a secret worth killing for. My favorite of the bunch is the title story, a novella in which a man finds a tome on necromancy, makes a deal with dark powers to rekindle an old love, and murder follows. Overall, I think this one ranks a B+.

Circles of Dread: a stronger collection in my opinion. A murderous mechanical hand takes action in "The Hand of Gotz Von Berlichingen". "Marlyweck Cemetary" is a strange and menacing tale about a burial ground that keeps changing it's own location and landscape. "The Man Who Dared" is a zinger about a man who cleanses a swamp of an evil presence with horrid results. "The Inn of the Spectres" may be easy pickings for some burglars. . .if not for the trap in place. In "The Black Mirror", a man steals a object once owned by historical sorcerer John Dee and several deaths ensue. This book was a joy to read. A-.

Written by Nicholas Montelongo

No comments

The author does not allow comments to this entry