Saturday 7 August 2010

The Melancholy Haunting of Nicholas Parkes

Some time ago when Chris Barker was still on speaking terms with me - or as near to that as you can get on the internet, as we have never met face to face - he emailed me a copy of this long short story. For various reasons I never got round to reading it, even after I discovered it was to be included in his collection, Tenebrous Tales, published by ex-occidente press.

On an impulse, though, I decided a couple of days ago to read it.

I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised to find what a well written, fascinating story this is, with at least one scene which is efficiently and effectively creepy in a true Jamesian fashion. Based largely on the true life story of Nick Drake, Nicholas Parkes' life, which ended with suicide in the mid seventies, is looked back on in retrospect by his present day obsessive fan, who becomes increasingly enthralled by the dead singer-song writer's spirit. The story moves at a leisurely pace, but is so well written and full of such well portrayed scenes, that I found myself engrossed by it, complete with a very satisfying conclusion.

If the other stories in Tenebrous Tales are up to this standard, then it will be an excellent collection. Unfortunately, because so many people have been turned against Mr Barker by his online persona, it is all too likely far fewer people will read this book than should. Perhaps time will eventually prove in Chris Barker's favour, though, and when today's disputes and antagonisms have been long forgotten, the stories won't.

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