The title story, which opens the collection, is as though Jeremy de Quidt's 'The Wrong Train' has been rewritten for adults by someone who's recently read Robert Aickman's 'The Hospice'. It's a promising start, and many of the other tales live up to it. 'The Music Box' is a cautionary tale of a collector's lust for a cursed object; 'The Tallboy' spins an equally enjoyable scene around a similar premise. 'The Light from Dead Stars' is a crime story in which a police inspector, about to retire, is handed an unexpected clue to a a cold case that has long tortured him. 'The Bird in the Cage' is a nasty little fable like something out of Grimm. I loved the ghost stories 'The Man Upstairs', about an unseen neighbour and a 'ghastly' face at a window; 'The Night Guard', in which a man finds himself trapped in his favourite art gallery after closing time; 'The Crying', a very dark story in which an immoral and deceptive protagonist gets his comeuppance; 'Room Service', the tale of an inept chef and a strange request, which might have been my favourite. The weakest stories were a little too twee for my tastes: I wasn't keen on 'Like White Rain', 'The Ghost of Helene Jørgensen' and especially the rather smug 'Detained' for this reason. All in all, however, this is a really strong collection of noir and ghost stories with fantastic pacing and atmosphere. One to settle down with and read in a single sitting on a rainy afternoon or cold night.
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