Ginger Nuts of Horror
When you read as much as I do you begin to notice new trends forming, some of them you run away from and some of them you embrace. The Feast of Saint Anne is hopefully part of a new trend of linked novellas that form one whole novel. I like the idea four self contained yet interlinked stories working off each other to form a satisfying complete book.
"Welcome back to the village of Wyvern Falls...here along the Hudson in that sleepy region with the witching influence in the air" exclaims the blurb from the back cover. These sort of opening lines are like comfy cushions on my favourite reading chair, there is something about a series of books set in special location that calls to me. Even before opening a book these sort of phrases help to calm me down, they make me feel as though I am entering a world full of wonder and awe, where the possibilities for adventure are limitless.
Think back to your childhood, do you remember those long summer nights and how they surreptitiously transformed into the golden hued nights of Autumn? They were a magical time weren't they, a time in your life where anything seemed possible. A time where mystery and magic just seemed to hang in the air. Well The Feast of St Anne is one of those books that transports you back that time.
Wyvern Falls is a village that feels cut off from the drabness of the the modern a world, a place where friends are best friends for life and the local population is rife with characters. Robert Stava has painted these The Feast of St Anne on a canvas rich with brilliant characters and a real sense of place. Wyvern Falls spills off the page to live and breath in your minds eye.
Of the four novellas presented here my favourite has to be the opening one The Red Barron's Daughter, this is the one story that really captures an awe inspiring feeling of wonder and dread Set against the backdrop of travelling fair, there is a real Bradbury feeling to this story. Stava really captures that same sense of chilling awe which was so prevalent in Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. Full of best friends forever,a retired cop, and a chilling supernatural threat, The Red Barron's Daughter is a true joy to read.
Stava has taken great care and attention in ensuring that the book while consisting of separate stories feels like one complete read and not just a collection of novellas, favourite characters from each story pop up throughout the book forming a link between them.
This is the sort of book that goes beyond being a mere horror novel, it is one of those stories that opens doors in your memories and transports you back to a time where life just elt more colourful.
Welcome back to the village of Wyvern Falls...here along the Hudson in that sleepy region with the witching influence in the air. In this second installment of the 'Hudson Horror' series, 'The Feast of Saint Anne' brings you not one but four terrifying tales of the supernatural set in their yearly carnival:
In "The Red Baron's Daughter" two boys get more history than they bargained for when a Fortune Teller draws them into the web of a monster with its origins in the deadly skies of the Western Front, circa 1918. Can CID detective John Easton save them from an even grimmer fate?
With 'The Lonely Dancers' an upcoming band finally show up for their gig - thirty years after they were killed in a tragic accident. Will local musician Nick Carr unravel this murder mystery or is he doomed to relive their tale?
"Lorenzo King and the Dunderberg Imp" takes a new spin on an old Washington Irving classic when a failing New York media hound finds himself in the worst, and deadliest, assignment of his life. But can he outwit this much nastier version of Irving's river goblin and show everyone who the King really is?
In the final tale, "Hey Dummy!" Jim Franks and his girlfriend cross paths with what appears to be an old-fashioned vaudeville act. Only neither ventriloquist nor dummy are what they seem and the answer to their awful secret lies over sixty years in the past with a New Guinea witchdoctor...
One hair-raising novel.
The Feast of Saint Anne.
If you love supernatural tales with a historic bent, Washington Irving & The Legend of Sleepy Hollow then this one for your bookshelf...