Flame & other enigmatic tales by Maynard & Sims
Eight years after their last collection Falling into Heaven Len Maynard & Mick Sims finally return with a new volume of elegantly written, subtly unnerving stories. Much has happened in the meantime. The duo has pursued different literary avenues publishing a score of horror novels and supernatural thrillers appeared through Leisure Books in the US market. In particular they have created a body of work revolving around Department 18, an outfit devoted to solve cases of supernatural crime.
The present volume also includes a further adventure in that series (“Assignment”) but the remaining material belongs to the style of the early Maynard & Sims fiction, much to the satisfaction of their old aficionados (including myself).To meet again the original Maynard & Sims product is a reason for rejoicing, especially because of the top quality of the tales included.
“Serenity” tells how a retired civil servant agrees to temporarily move to a country house to look after a friend’s estate as well as after his ailing mother. But things are quite different from what they appear to be. A delightful, disturbing piece.
“Fallen” is a tale of loneliness, regrets and missed opportunities, but also an excellent story of witchcraft gone wrong.
In “Jealousy”, a vivid piece set in the world of theatre, a young actress becomes the centre of a number of odd accidents the explanation of which is not quite natural.
The volume is bookended by two novellas. “Double Act” is the revised version of a novella firstly appeared in 2007, revolving around a couple of actors. After Charlie’s sudden death, his long-time partner Walter discovers a few unimaginable secrets in his friend’s private life as well as some truths about their successful double act. A breathtaking story where human vices and ghostly appearances blend effortlessly, providing pleasurable shivers and strong emotions.
“Flame” is the long-awaited sequel to the acclaimed novella “Moths” (first published in the late ‘90s). A deeply unsettling piece of exotic horror, the novella conveys a distinct sense of evil and dread and the feeling that behind our everyday life unholy things are lurking.
The superb conclusion of an excellent, ghostly collection, beautifully produced by the reborn Sarob Press.