- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1512 KB
- Print Length: 153 pages
- Publisher: Dunhams Manor Press; 2 edition (29 May 2017)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B071P7QS19
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #32,409 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Castle-Town Tragedy and Other Tales of Carnacki, the Ghost-finder Kindle Edition
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I went into this with not very great expectations, but the author manages to use the framing formula and the tics of behaviour Hodgon gave to Carnacki in a reasonable and restrained manner. And he didn't over-use the Electric Pentacle, either (a fault some other writers are prone to, where they have Carnacki whipping this out and starting it up at the drop of a hat). I was very pleased with the resulting stories, and while not in the same league as Hodgson, they are very good pastiches and well worth reading.
Once again we can join Carnacki's friends for more after dinner tales of the supernatural. Very enjoyable and very well written. I enjoyed these slightly more than the originals, as they didn't seem quite as dry. I have also enjoyed reading William Meikle's Carnickl tales, so it's great to read another really good wtiters tales. Thanks Brandon Barrows, and please consider writing more Carnicki, stories as I really enjoyed these and I would eagerly be amongst the first to place an advance order for another book.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Barrows’ characterization is superior to that of original stories (instantly evident from the personality and colour he adds to Carnacki‘s hitherto all but faceless friends), his prose is cleaner and more polished (for example, he eases up on quirks of Carnacki‘s narration, tho his voice is still recognizable), his Carnacki is slightly more eccentric, slightly more vulnerable, and all the more human for that. All of these improvements are natural, so that one can imagine these stories being written by Hodgson if he lived on to hone his skills.
No two stories are alike, so that we somewhat more classical hauntings, cosmic horror of the second story, or the dash of Manly Wade Wellman in the final piece (bonus story in Kindle edition). As far as the second story goes, I was a bit afraid of it due to its use of, truth be told, slightly over-used/abused The King in Yellow, but it turned out that my fears were unfounded. Barrows handled it with grace and skill, wisely making Carnacki ignorant of the The King in Yellow’s background, and employing memorable description of his friend’s transmutation, of alien architecture that superimposed itself upon London’s backstreets. What should be wholly strange and alien remains so, rather than being wholly trivialized.
Also, one more thing concerning Barrows‘s faithfulness to his inspiration… Yes, one of these stories is a „Scooby-Doo scenario“. Which one it is, I shan't reveal. Neither will any reader fully guess it until the right time comes. Carnacki is one of those old-school storytellers, after all, and all such storytellers have their tricks and misdirections.
Brandon Barrows is the latest author to contribute to the rich legacy of Hodgson’s supernatural sleuth. “The Castle-Town Tragedy and Other Stories,” from the always outstanding Dunhams Manor Press, collects three Carnacki novellas from Barrows that pit the detective up against a howling spirit trapped in a perpetual cycle of mourning among the blood-soaked cobblestones of a contested estate (in the titular tale), infectious insanity and extradimensional gods in a phantom city whose streets hide behind the very shadows of London herself (in “The Madness of Arthur Malbrey”), and a classic locked-room mystery with enough threads to keep you working feverishly to untie the knot right up until the climactic revelation (in “The Lurker in the Roadhouse”).
While attentive readers will likely know where these stories are going somewhat before their conclusions (though, like I said, “Lurker” in particular keeps you guessing), that doesn’t make the process of getting there any less interesting or entertaining. Indeed, the joy of these tales is not in the big answers, but the small details: the way Barrows captures Carnacki’s voice damn near perfectly, the methodical scientific manner in which each case is broken down piece by piece until the entire tangle is unraveled, the frequent references to past continuity both in the larger Carnacki mythology and the narrower confines of Barrows' own contributions, and, hell, even the way Barrows sticks to Hodgson’s framing device of having the somewhat self-mythologizing Ghost-Finder recount his stories to a captive audience of dinner-party guests. Barrows also knows how to get weird-fiction fanboy mouths watering, with his seamless mash-up of Hodgson’s Carnacki with Chambers’ Carcosa cosmology in what is my personal favorite of the three tales on offer here, “The Madness of Arthur Malbrey.”
A testament to the flexibility and diversity inherent in the Carnacki concept, each of Barrows’ three novellas is completely different, both in the type of mystical mystery to be resolved and in the tone and mood. The titular tale is a quick, chilling li’l ghost story, “Arthur Malbrey” is a moody and tragic descent into sanity-shredding cosmic horror, and “Lurker” is a long, drawn-out detective yarn built on a foundation of dense, detail-oriented backstories, rife with red herrings and no-frills fun from start to finish. Each one is a tight, atmospheric page-turner that will not only please long-time Carnacki readers, but also act as a primo introduction for those who are still new to Hodgson’s Sherlock of the Supernatural. This release from DMP includes a triumvirate of beautifully spooky black-and-white illustrations from Dave Felton, who also did the eye-popping cover art. Get it in on this, and let “the creep” overtake you.