I first became acquainted with Jason McIntyre’s writing in the multi-author short story anthology Triptychs where his writing hooked me on the spot – and Nights Gone By is another excellent read. Each story in this collection is a well-written, suspense-filled, and captivating tale – and each one has a twist or an edge or a gleam of darkness that got right under my skin. The genre and subject vary, from the spine-tinglingly Ray Bradbury-esque ‘DDA’ (what kind of department and application are we really dealing with here?); the evocative and gripping ‘Down The Line’ – a story of a dead man on a train and a pair of boots; and the haunting tale of a lost child in ‘Through The Transom Light’. Regardless of the setting, what remains constant is McIntyre’s easy-flowing, yet finely tuned prose that grips you and pulls you into the story from the first sentence to the last.
I love all the stories in Nights Gone By, but two of them especially stand out. One is the goose-bump inducing ‘DDA’: you just know something is amiss in this story, and in those last couple of paragraphs the reveal chilled me to the bone. But if I had to pick a favourite story, I think it would be ‘Through The Transom Light’. It’s a suspense/horror masterpiece, as well as an insightful exploration of what can happen to a person – and a couple – after a devastating loss. In the story, a father who has lost a child keeps reliving the memory of the night his baby daughter disappeared, and as the story progresses we are pulled further and further into the darkness of his mind and what happened to him. An abducted baby is tragic enough, but the dark, shadowy figure lurking at the heart of this story really got to me. As in all the stories here, McIntyre shows his writing chops by revealing just enough of the tale’s secrets to keep you hooked, but not so much that he spoils the suspense and mystery. Less is more in suspense and McIntyre definitely knows this.
I couldn’t put this book down once I started reading, and was sad to read the last page. If you’re into suspense, stories that creep under your skin, characters that feel real and complex, and stories with a touch of darkness, then this book is definitely for you.
Jason McIntyre has published several novels and short stories. I’ll be adding more of his work to my reading list ASAP.