In spite of the books already in my current reading pile, I set everything aside this week when my copy of Daniel Braum's The Night Marchers arrived. I started reading, curious to find out what he'd been up to. A couple stories in, I was pleasantly surprised. Now, seven stories in, more than halfway through, I am CONVINCED. This is a fantastic book.
Whether it's the glorious but haunting hues of ghostfish appearing in the dark corners of the room, or the burning aftermath of grief, or strange death slithering through the thatched jungle roof, there is something in each of these stories that makes it impossible to stop reading them.
But what something is that?
Maybe it's the way the reader finds themselves so immediately immersed in each new story. The entry is sharp and complete and vivid, a spell only the best short stories are able to snare us with.
Maybe it is the voice of each character, crystal clear in the reader's mind, so clear that no matter what they are telling the reader, it is immediately real, no matter how strange or unfamiliar. This is because no matter how fantastical the details, the human element at the heart of the story is so strong it pervades everything within.
Maybe it is the velocity of each story, a living current that sweeps the reader along -- you are caught, you are part of that moment in that world, you are led into the jungle, the ratty apartment building, the ocean, the burning building.
Whatever these dark and magical ingredients are that he's been playing with to achieve this wondrous collection of tales, Daniel Braum has succeeded in mixing them in new and different combinations that surprise and captivate, startle and thrill.
I'll be getting copies of the book into the shop soon, but if you're not in the Portland, Maine area and you would like to order from the publisher, it's easy to check out The Night Marchers and a bunch of other titles in the Grey Matter Press shop online: