His Dark Lady

Posted by maxfincher on March 01, 2011 in Dr Max Fincher, Guest Blog tagged with ,

Jonathan Barnes is the writer of The Somnambulist (Gollancz, 2008) and The Domino Men (Gollancz,2009). Both novels are a mix of the grotesque and evoke a creepy sense of dread, particularly The Domino Men, the eponymous psychotic killers in the service of the nebulous ‘Directorate’, a secret cabal in control of modern-day London.

As his latest short story, ‘His Dark Lady’, shows, Barnes is very adept at evoking characters who are at once both compellingly ordinary, yet disturbingly impenetrable in their motivation. The unnamed narrator of ‘His Dark Lady’ runs into an former school acquaintance in his local high street, the aloof and mysterious Paul Wheeler. Wheeler has returned to his suburban home town to bury his recently deceased father. When Wheeler develops an old camera he finds in his father’s house, photographs of a strange ‘dark lady’ begin to haunt the narrator: ‘Everytime I went back to it, I saw greater malice in her smile and more malignant purpose in her steady confident gaze’. When Wheeler leaves town suddenly without a trace, the narrator hires a private detective to find out who she is, leading him to a very disturbing discovery…

Jonathan Barnes’s story can be found at his blog here: http://jonathanbarnes.blogspot.com/

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