cover image The Traveller and Other Stories

The Traveller and Other Stories

Stuart Neville. Soho Crime, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64129-203-0

Set mostly in the author’s native Northern Ireland, the 13 tales of horrific crimes and terrifying horrors in this splendid collection from Edgar finalist Neville (The Final Silence) are divided into two sections. Highlights from the first, “New Monsters,” include “Coming In on Time,” about the anguish of anticipating the unlikely return of a mother; “The Green Lady,” in which ghosts and a legendary woman lure a youngster fishing for sticklebacks into trouble; and “London Safe,” in which unthinkable consequences await a boy who grows up to find his father living another life in England. “Old Friends,” the second section, brings back characters from Neville’s novels, notably reprehensible Gerry Fegan of The Ghosts of Belfast, who appears in four stories. The captivating title novella resurrects a presumably dead Fegan as a contract killer hired to avenge the deaths of twin sons. In the tense “Faith,” a priest agrees to commit murder for a parishioner; in the disquieting “The Craftsman,” Albert and Celia Ryan of Ratlines settle past debts. Each entry turns on an unexpected ending. This chilling assortment of Northern Irish noir is not to be missed. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Assoc. (Oct.)