Tickety Boo Press, out now
Tales of a tattooed stranger coming to an unusual place…
Simon Marshall-Jones’ collection of stories is (mostly) set in the town of Longcroft, a place whose links to our world are part of its mystery and its appeal. It’s a place where odd things can – and do – happen, not just to Simeon (the not so subtle name of the new arrival) but to anyone whose path he crosses there… including the reader, who is likely to be inexorably drawn in to Marshall-Jones’ creation. It’s a place of great wonders and great peril, where secrets are guarded carefully but where a stranger can be entrusted with great responsibility.
Marshall-Jones ensures that the narrative drives forward where necessary, but there are some descriptive moments that will make you pause for thought (that applies even more in the two stories in the collection not set in Longcroft). He poses various questions about the nature of perception and reality, and you’ll certainly come away from reading this collection with your perspective slightly set askew.
The stories have been described as semi-autobiographical, and there’s that tang throughout of personal experience filtered through the prism of an author’s imagination – some might call it selective memory, but in this case it feels more augmented than filleted. Such writing always has a different sort of richness.
Verdict: A step sideways into a world of wonder. 8/10