To Walk the Night (William Sloane)

71PrNPUGnxL._SL1500_And yet, whatever Mr Miller may say, I suspect most people who might read this book looking for SF will be scratching their heads for most of the duration wondering where it is. For the most part, what we really have here is a mystery of sorts—bordering upon noir in a way—that looks like it might cross over into horror (which I suppose it ultimately does; those genres can be so hard to disentangle at times). Sloane begins with his narrator, Bark, bringing home the ashes of his friend, Jerry, who’s committed suicide under odd circumstances; the rest of the book is devoted to a long flashback as Bark describes those circumstances to Jerry’s father in an attempt to understand what happened… and “what happened” begins with a violent. inexplicable death; Bark and Jerry are two university graduates rooming together who pay a visit to one of their former lecturers, and, well, find him on fire. This is bizarre enough, especially since the fire doesn’t damage anything else, but then comes the revelation that the dead man was married… which fact is so out of character for him, it almost strikes them as more perplexing than his death… and the widow only adds to their perplexity when they meet her. Sloane maintains a really impressive sense of unease throughout the book, gradually dropping hints that the widow LeNormand isn’t quite who she appears to be and revealing the precise nature of her late husband’s work; it all adds up to a compelling and fascinating tale, smoothly executed from start to finish. I look forward to reading Sloane’s other book next…

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