The first section is comprised of ghost stories written in the tradition of M R James, which are a joy to read. They are exquisitely well written and I have found them delightful bedtime reading over the last couple of weeks (my wife thinks I am barking mad to read ghost stories just before I go to sleep!). As with all story compilations I had my favourites of course but they are all beautifully crafted to a very high standard indeed. I devoured all these tales with much glee, although I suppose the stories that really stood out for me were The Scarecrow, The Wall Painting and The Prize. The stories are linked by a device whereby people are invited to tell their ghostly tale to a couple of locals in the setting of an old fashioned Essex pub, called The Endeavour. This section was originally published in 2001 as A Ghostly Crew: Tales from the Endeavour. I would have been more than delighted with the book on the strength of this section alone.
The book's second section Things from Beyond is based on the writing of H P Lovecraft. I must confess to not being a great Lovecraft fan myself, however, Roger Johnson managed to keep me reading and more importantly kept me interested. The book's final section More Things in Heaven and Earth is a miscellany of various pieces of writing that includes some poetry. This section also includes a chilling tale entitled Love, Death and the Maiden based on the grim and very bloody life history of Countess Elisabeth Bathory, which I thought was truly excellent.
I can't think of a worthier book to be recommending on 31 October - Happy Halloween!
In The Night In The Dark is available from all good bookshops and may also be purchased from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and in electronic formats like Amazon Kindle and Kobo.