Red Raygun, out now
Sometimes punishment isn’t avoided, simply deferred…
The third of this series of ghost stories jumps the sequence forward to 1927, and away from the confines of the United Kingdom. Our narrator has escaped our shores following a scandal caused by his publication of some memories that many would rather forget – and his indiscreet way of doing so prompts someone to remember some other aspects from their youth. Ironically in a tale about corruption, there’s a touching innocence about Frederick Illingworth, the narrator who fails to properly comprehend the effects of what he has done on other people.
Barnes deftly creates the scene – you can feel the Athenian sun burning down, and while a longer word count might have permitted more description of the agonising wait that Illingworth starts the tale with, it’s an effective piece. You know that Godfrey Skayne is going to be involved somehow, but it’s not quite how you expect – and there’s another element added which has a more blatant horror feel than the ghostly goings-on so far.
Verdict: A chillingly different perspective. 8/10