A Single Light, by Patricia Leslie: monsters prowl the Australian highlands

‘When Rick Hendry is contacted by a federal agent to help investigate a growing number of mysterious vanishings across Australia, he finds himself immersed in a world where normal is a very narrow view of reality. The two men are joined by a doctor, an archeologist, a journalist, and an Afflur Hunter.’ 

They soon discover that in the bush, south of Sydney, among the beach goers, walkers and picnickers, a menace grows. The mysterious Bledray monsters are preparing for a Gathering; a feast of epic proportions. Only the Afflur Hunter and Guardians can stop them, but their strength is failing and humans are needed to help prevent a second holocaust’. 

A Single Light is an urban fantasy tale of ghoulish monsters and non-human protectors battling to save humanity amid the spectacular and rugged landscapes of the Royal National Park south of Sydney.‘ From Back Cover.

Reporter Gabriella worries about the state of her colleague Rick Hendry who is clearly not sleeping well. It turns out he doesn’t want to sleep because in sleep he dreams – and the dreams terrify him.

‘There was something out there, taking people ..’ p.36. Officer Anthony Biglia.

Biglia comes across an expose written by Hendry and believes that the reporter can help him. They swap their theories. Jamie Morell finds abnormalities in the victims’ blood. None of them can work out how and why eight people are dead.

‘All are equal in the face of eternal hunger.’

For the Bledray, Maliak, Moriah, Jedidiah and Laeh, the humans exist only to be protected or to be hunted. On the plains below the high country lie millions of souls, a feast to gorge on.

‘ She ran then, urgency gripping her as the screaming of dying souls mixed with the stars and faded into oblivion.’ p. 136

I found that the hunger of the creatures is somehow believable- it’s the idea of insatiable appetite taken to extremes. The sense of menace grows as the hunters of souls and the hunters of Bledray converge upon one another until there is a climatic encounter as bush fire rages. (The fire scenes seemed particularly struck me in the light of the huge fires in NSW last summer covering some of the same ranges.) The author’s attention to detail and sense of place in the descriptions of these highlands in serves to ground the story. You can read more about Patricia Leslie and her work at her website  patricialeslie.net.

Patricia LeslieA Single Light_a novel by Patricia Leslie_The beach almost deserted

Where to find A Single Light: From the publisher Odyssey Books. Also at Amazon Australia, at Amazon USA, at BookDepository, at Barnes and Noble, at Chapters Indigo, Waterstones, Booktopia and more. Or ask your friendly local bookshop to obtain it for you.

Patricia Leslie also wrote The Ouroborus Key, an absorbing blend of Sumerian mythology, esoteric Templar secrets, and a detective story. This makes for a fascinating combination as you can see from my review here.

The graphics shown here are courtesy of the author and of publisher Odyssey Books.

You are at Mark’s blog called Baffled Bear Books. Mark is a dark coffee tragic and bibliophile as well as the Guardian and blundering typist for Mawson Bear, Ponderer of Baffling Things and one of this bright world’s few published bears.

Seven Ghostly Spins – A brush with the supernatural, by Patricia Bossano

When isolated from the bustle of civilisation, the mind slips unfettered.’

Seven Ghostly Spins contains six paranormal tales that are short enough to read during a commuter ride to work. (But will you then feel a bit too disturbed to carry on as usual that day?) One tale, ‘Abiku’, is a creepy novella perhaps best read when safely at home with the lights turned on.

‘Amelia’s mouth opened and an infinite, desolate scream escaped.’

I am not a frequent reader of ghost or horror tales. Although the author offers tantalising notes on the inspirations for this collection, for instance, that one of the stories is based on “a real walk in the moonlight”, I still began by thinking, “All right then, so let’s just see if you can get to me.”

Fellow Baffled Ones, these stories got to me.

We get crumbling houses and overgrown paths in abandoned gardens, dark basements, cemeteries, fortune tellers, and birds ominously pecking at the window. Yet, as the book’s subtitle suggests, the stories are more about ‘brushes’ with the supernatural than with horror. We are offered different levels of the mind and of sight, portals that open unexpectedly, places that seemingly tug at the mind, objects that influence actions.

‘I close my eyes and I float for a while, not in my room but in a dream. I think I should go home but I don’t know how. I’m not worried though ‘.

‘Alison’ is the sweetest ghost story I’ve encountered although very sad.  It’s based on the legend of a girl who died in a real theatre in San Francisco.

‘By The Iron Gate’ is as much about the pathos of a woman’s tightly restricted life as about the supernatural. ‘I would grab the iron bars and stare into the moonlit garden, like a prisoner longing to return to her cell.‘ In ‘She Caught A Ride’, a hazing goes wrong, and in ‘Carolina  Blue’ a chiffon dress leads to a fateful encounter of the heart. The dully named story called ‘205 1/2, 25th Street’ is anything but as a man’s viewing of a real estate purchase turns into a chilling time slip through to the actions of his forebears.

I enjoyed these stories both for the brushes with supernatural elements and also for the well written glimpses of the characters’ lives wherein time and again a carefully added word or phrase by the author turns the ordinary into something else. Why not let your own mind slip unfettered for a while. I think you may close the book, as I did, feeling thoughtful about particular ‘odd’ events in your own lives.

Seven Ghostly Spins, by Patricia Bossano, with featured author Kelsey E Gerard, is published by Water Bearer Press. Patricia Bossano has also written Faery Sight, Nahia,  and Cradle Gift.

Where to unshroud it: From BookDepository (free shipping worldwide) and Amazon in Kindle and soft cover, Barnes and Noble in Kobo and soft cover,  also Waterstones and Chapters Indigo. Hardcover editions are also available. Or, ask your friendly local bookstore to order it in for you, and for your friends who appreciate a frission of the supernatural.

Mark is guardian and blundering typist for Mawson, one of this bright world’s few published bears.