Thursday, Aug 17, 2023
Review by Abe Ziesing
This is like Arturo Pérez-Reverte meets Algernon Blackwood - classic gothic horror with a contemporary mystery makeover.
While attending his grandfather's wake, young Charles Hayden happened upon a curious leather-bound volume, nearly 150 years old, and with the most extraordinary woodcut illustrations. He was so captivated by it that he kept it for himself. Stole it. Many years later it would haunt him and lead to him living out a most extraordinary story of his own, or perhaps reliving the dark fairy tale encapsulated within the mysterious book. Will he be able to unravel this deadly conundrum of coincidences before it unravels him?
Dale Bailey's prose flows very well, making what already would've been a page-turner, with elements of suspense and thrilling weird fiction, into a very quick read indeed; and yet, at just over 200 pages, I don't think that I would change one thing. Perfectly satisfying. His writing is sophisticated without being haughty, and he certainly has a knack for the grim and spooky.