Henry Ian Darling is a collector of oddities, those that bring him closer to an enigma, one he hopes will be a great thing. But maybe it isn't?
©2015 Julie Elizabeth Aldridge (P)2015 Julie Elizabeth Aldridge
I was not sure how I felt about this book. On one hand, I don't think this book is my normal cup of tea, but I did find that I cared about the characters and was drawn into the story by them. I like the short-story genre, especially if it is written well and is able to come to some sort of conclusion. Even though this book is part of a series, each book contains its own adventure, so there is a sort of conclusion. I listened to the Audible audio version of this book narrated by Alan Weyman. Again, I'm not quite sure how I felt about him as a narrator. He pronounces his "R's" as "W's", which irritated me at first, but eventually didn't bother me as much. Despite the speech impediment, his voice lent itself to a very vivid picture of the character.
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.
This was a interesting short story about Henry Darling. He is a ghost back from the dead who lives with his wife Clara, a witch and his friend Brett who is also a ghost. Henry collects oddities or experiences. In this story he an Brett find a book that will not open. When it does it takes them all into another world on a fantastical adventure to help a woman save her children.
This book had a great narrator who enthusiastically told of Henry's adventure. His excitement and inflections made the book very entertaining to listen to.
I was gifted a copy of this audiobook by the author. This is an unbiased review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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