Book Review: Crackpot Palace

This new book of from the Edgar Award winning author of The Girl in the Glass is Ford’s fourth short story collection that is certain to delight his fans and generate new ones. Ford’s imaginative writing almost always delivers a strange twist to what at the onset, seems like a perfectly ordinary story as demonstrated in “Daltharee” which begins with a thriving city in a glass bubble but turns into something else entirely. “Relic” tells the tale of Father Walter in charge of a church and relic at the end of the world. When a visitor takes a piece of the relic with her, Sister North sets out on a journey to the beginning of the world to get it back but is the precious item truly a relic and does it matter? In an attempt to fit in with his girlfriend’s family, a young man agrees to sit in church overnight with her recently deceased relative in “Sit the Dead”. What happened that night will haunt him for the rest of his life. Anyone who thinks daddy longlegs are cute, harmless spiders will reconsider after reading the chilling “Daddy Longlegs of the Evening”.

Although most of these were previously published, it is a delight to have them brought together. Each story includes background information about what served as inspiration, the intended message if any and where it first appeared in print. Ford excels at creating vividly imagined, finely nuanced characters and settings, frequently with an unexpected dark side that drags readers along on a short but exhilarating ride. These are great good fun and highly recommended.

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