cover image The Thief of Broken Toys

The Thief of Broken Toys

Tim Lebbon, . . ChiZine, $10.95 (150pp) ISBN 978-0-9812978-9-7

A father's inconsolable grief over his son's untimely death opens a door to a potentially redemptive supernatural experience in this poignant but meandering novella. Since young Toby died in his sleep, Ray has wandered the streets of the little Cornish fishing village of Skentipple in a fog of misery, watching his ex-wife rebuild her life. A chance encounter with an enigmatic old man seems to hold out the prospect of Ray's own emotional healing—though, as becomes apparent, at a very dear price. Lebbon (Bar None ) superbly captures the thoughts and feelings of a man whose misery so unhinges him that an encounter with the uncanny is unavoidable, but too often Ray's self-pity comes across as artlessly repetitive and padded. An idea that might have made a haunting short story seems underde-veloped at this greater length. (May)