Ginger Nuts of Horror
By Michael Sieber
Melancholy Falls doesn’t sound like a nice place to visit, and I wouldn’t want to live there.
Because there’s a lot of weird stuff going on there.
How about the mayor turning into a rat and having to govern while in that state for a start?
And that’s just the beginning — literally.
Interludes from Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 by Jeff Heimbuch is a book of short stories and vignettes about the odd happenings and weird people in the town of Melancholy Falls.
In this book, you get to know some of the residents of this town, and while you can read this book as a standalone and come away with something, it’s meant to be a companion piece to the podcast Return Home also by Heimbuch.
Return Home plays much like the old radio dramas from a long time ago. Interludes from Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 according to Heimbuch is a way to flesh out some of the characters listeners hear during the show. While it’s a companion piece to the podcast, Heimbuch says one doesn’t need to be a listener to the show to enjoy the book, and I agree.
The book reads as if you stumbled upon files that an investigator keeps as they’re investigating a mystery. Some stories are transcripts from recordings, some are confessions, and others read like poems. At first, the book seems like it’s just weird for weirdness sake, but reading through these pieces, one gets a sense that there’s an odd thread like a rancid connecting tissue loosely tying everything together.
Once you get to the end of that thread, though, you’re left with more questions, as if the investigation stopped, or picks up later, which it does on the podcast.
While the book isn’t about any one character or event, I do get a sense of sadness (melancholy) that runs through each story, and while I wouldn’t classify the book as straight horror, there are horrific elements to be found.
You have the mayor mentioned above who turned into a rat only to be replaced in a special election by a candidate who’s incorporeal.
Then there’s the case of a man whose wife died because of some weird religion called Bileth.
And there’s the mysterious and murderous Woman of the Falls, for whom the town was named.
While I can’t say it’s a merry romp through Melancholy Falls — that pit you get in your stomach when you start stays with you when you’re finished — I can say fans of the weird will be entertained. It’s a quick read with most stories being two to five pages.
Heimbuch says that Volume 2 may come out at the beginning of their fourth or fifth season of the podcast; they’re in season three at the time of this writing.
If you’re a fan of the bizarre, Interludes from Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 satisfied, but you’ll likely want more.