Coming from Telos Publishing is this short collection of two novellas from Simon Clark. The title piece, ‘Humpty’s Bones’, comes in at just under 80 pages, while the additional story, ‘Danger Signs’, is much shorter.
Despite the horrific undertones to Clark’s story, we often felt as if this would be better aimed at a younger audience rather than the traditional adult horror and chiller market. The story is well written, though, with some decent pacing and a good measure of tension throughout its brief page count, but some of the language and the peculiarly ill-judged ending often made us think that we were reading teen horror at points. That’s not to denigrate the story as a whole – enthusiasts will find plenty to like here, but it wasn’t to our tastes given what we were expecting. The idea of finding something out of the ordinary with everyday objects and settings, such as your back garden for instance, is a device being exploited more and more in fiction these days, but Clark manages to run with the mechanism gracefully and executes it with skill.
The second story is placed more decidedly in the science fiction camp, and is almost certainly aimed at a younger horror reader. It’s good for a very brief, very quick read, and the short chapter structure lends itself well to quick jumps and feverish page turning. In many ways we enjoyed it more than ‘Humpty’s Bones’, as it supplied us with a slightly Lovecraft-tinged story of an encounter with the hellish and unreal.
Overall, this isn’t a bad little two-part package, but the odd design, unnecessarily long introductions from the author and slightly confused approach gave us pause when thinking about the score.
[isbn name=”Humpty’s Bones”]978-1845830519[/isbn]