ILL MET BY DARKNESS by Paul Finch - Review Part 2.
The second story in this collection from Sarob Press, 'Down to a Sunless Sea', plays with genre by combining two popular ideas. Firstly, a mysterious man with something on his mind offers to sell a priceless artefact to a museum. But when the representative of the museum presses the seller for more information, the story that emerges is one of deception, organized crime, and underwater adventure. And there's also a very impressive monster.
The story centres on the ancient myth of Europa, the queen abducted by Zeus in the form of a bull, because that's how he rolled. A couple of British ex-Paratroopers find themselves seduced by naughty ladies into going on a dangerous dive off a Greek island to plunder an ancient site. It transpires that not only was Europa a very real person, but also that a guardian was set over her tomb - a guardian that was still very active after thousands of years.
The story is inventive, full of convincing detail, and has some excellent action scenes. The final chase is excellent, and I was left guessing as to the identity of the monster until very near the end. There's a James Bond-ish feel to it that is refreshingly different from fusty academics poking around old churches or college libraries. And the story ends with a very satisfying bang.
So, that's another winner from Paul Finch. Next, according to the blurb, is something that looks like folk horror:“The Hell Wain” takes us to a sleepy Lancashire village on Guy Fawkes Night, and introduces the horrific tradition of ‘The Bonfire Boys’.