Henry Ian Darling talks directly to the reader via a journal entry or such in this short story. He likes to collect odd things and sometimes those odd things give him a small adventure. In this story, he’ll need the help of his second wife, Clara, and his ghostly friend Bret.
We learn early on that Henry had a massive heart attack after his first wife died. They brought him back, and with a passenger of sorts. Bret is the only dead person Henry can see and hear. Bret has no idea how it happened either. When Henry met his second wife, Clara, he decided to not keep any secrets from her and so far that is working well for both of them. Now the three of them have a quiet, if rather eclectic, settled life.
That is until Henry’s oddities collection brings them something from the other side! Cue classic horror music maniacal laugh! I really enjoyed this story and I find it’s a little hard to say all the reasons why without getting spoilery. So if I’m a bit vague, it’s because I want you to explore this story and discover all it’s goodies yourself.
First, Henry is an adorable old geek at heart. He was geek before there were computers and their was only tinkering with bits and bobs. He loves his oddities and his den is covered with them. The entire story is told from his point of view so we get to see how his mind can ramble a bit and take unusual turns, but that’s all for the best as it turns out. He’s also quite fond of cliches and he doesn’t mind pointing them out and poking fun at them either. Then he also gets a little snarky under stress, and what worthy hero doesn’t? Right away, I really liked Henry and wanted to adopt him as an uncle.
This story had some surprises for me. First, I wasn’t too sure who Bret was with his disfigured face. We learn early on that he’s a ghost but I was little surprised because Henry treats him like a friend and is constantly chatting him up. Clara is a treat too with her own reasons for being with Henry and being so accepting of Bret.
As we get into the meat of the story, a mystery unfolds, but it is one that can only be solved in the supernatural realm. Henry finds himself out of his depth on this one! But he rises to the occasion and does his best with the knowledge he has, sometimes falling back on instinct. The mystery itself wasn’t particularly unusual, but the setting and how it was solved was, making this a charming story.
The tale has a perfect mix of humor, suspense, and the unusual. I didn’t feel there was a dull moment at all in this story. I can see how the author would turn this into a series and I hope that happens!
I won a copy of this book with no strings attached.
The Narration: Alan Weyman was great! He sounded like a slightly befuddled country gent as Henry, which was perfect. His voice for Clara was slower, richer, and feminine. I especially liked his snarky tone.