It’s late. Dark. A boy rushes to catch a train, leaping aboard just before it pulls away. Suddenly he realises that it’s the wrong train. He’s annoyed, of course, but not scared.
. . . Yet.
He gets off at the next station, but the platform’s empty, and it doesn’t look like any station he’s seen before. But he’s still not scared.
. . . Yet.
Then a stranger arrives - someone with stories to help pass the time. Only these aren’t any old stories. These are nightmares, and they come with a price to pay.
. . . Scared yet?
You will be.
I'm not a great fan of short stories as I love the journey that you take with a longer read. I like to feel, smell and touch the characters. For me, all of this takes time to build up; the devil is in the detail and to me it's very important in a story. It leaves a really pleasant feeling in my brain which I cannot describe. Maybe I will find a magical book one day with endless pages that keep on turning and being produced each time that I breathe - that would be really cool!
I do, however, love the idea of connecting short stories to a central theme. A platform, pardon the pun, that you can come back to which pulls the narrative together like a steam train and makes a connection. It's a story within a story, shall we say. In this book it's the mystery around an old man on a railway station platform, who is in the middle of nowhere with his scruffy, grey dog called Toby. There is a very spooky side to the old man; it might be the way he looks at the reader without ever really looking at you. He will definitely get inside your head and play with your mind as he starts to wickedly weave his stories that might not just be stories....
You are subtly pulled along in powerful vice-like grip the more that you read this book. The short stories are very dark and have a naive mischievous quality about them. They are very surreal nightmares that giggle through your brain, but they will also suddenly set you on edge and make your spine tingle. At the half way point of the book, there is a short story entitled Babysitting which is fantastic to read. It is immersive, chilling, cleverly written and really enjoyable to read. It will certainly put you on edge and make sure that you never get on the wrong train at night time or get off at the wrong station.
At the end of the book, there is a real a sting in the tale that you really will love. I will say no more as there are no spoilers to be found here. I love the idea that readers might try to read this book in a similar situation. If not, then maybe you need to try it as this is something that I would have liked to have done. A dark night, in an isolated spot will certainly ramp up the chill factor. However, if you can't do that and IF YOU DARE then read it under the bedcovers by torch light, regardless of age, that should still do it.
When you do get to read this book, you will also have the privilege of seeing the illustrations. There is one for each story header that has been produced by the talented Dave Shelton. I have not seen these myself, but I am looking forward to seeing them in the finished copy. This is a cracking read; top entertainment and an up and coming Halloween treat...
Published by : David Fickling Books
Available : 01 September 2016 - Pre-order now
Price : £10.99