Night is a time when the unthinkable can happen, when the world we all know is somehow influenced by powers beyond human comprehension... or at least this is what awaits us in Stanley Laine's collection of mysterious short stories, “Night Friends”. They differ a lot from each other in terms of the characters, places and themes, but what is common in all of them is the atmosphere of peculiarity and confrontation with the unknown. And all that is unexpected, at first unrecognized or not taken seriously, later becomes too overwhelming to escape from.
My personal favourite is "The Iceman Now Comes for Me", which includes the notorious mystery solver Philippa K. Dick known from “The Limit Club”, a fantastic novel by the same author. If you’re familiar with Philippa's way of working, you can correctly suspect that a story involving her will be more than a simple scary piece of prose, but will include an attempt to find a logical explanation of (seemingly) supernatural events.
For me, what I both like and don't like about short stories is that there is often a feeling of insufficiency at the end, precisely because of the limited word count. And Stanley Laine achieves a lot even in not so many words. He makes a reader crave to know more, to stay with the characters he or she has already grown fond of just a little longer, but the end comes abruptly and all too quickly. And beware – it sometimes brings more questions than answers, as if encouraging you to let your imagination run wild and tell the rest of the story on your own. Or hopefully suggesting that the author intends to continue them.
After “The Limit Club”, this is the second book by Stanley Laine I’ve read and I felt equally drawn to it. With Halloween approaching, "Night Friends" is a perfect read if you want to get in the properly ominous mood. These amazing stories will give you shivers and you may think twice next time before ignoring some weird sounds in your backyard. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.