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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Book Review: The Necromancer Candle by Randy McCharles

Necromancer Candle, The: And Two Additional Tales of Contemporary Fantasy
by Randy McCharles
Publisher: EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing
ASIN: B00MC1SATS ISBN: 9781770530669
July 31, 2014
A collection of three new novellas by Canadian Speculative Fiction author Randy McCharles.
The collection includes:

The Necromancer Candle
Cassidy’s family has a secret. An ancient, ugly candle passed down through the generations until it is has been all but forgotten. But now someone is looking for it, or so Cassidy thinks. A victim of terminal brain cancer, Cassidy no longer trusts what she sees. But real or imagined, the upheaval of Cassidy’s life is moving quickly toward an end where Cassidy’ greatest wish is to die on her own terms. But is that long enough to solve the mystery of the necromancer candle?

Full House
When Jonas loses his job on the same day a neighbor is murdered, he finds his days at home more challenging yet rewarding than he ever imagined. Against a backdrop of healing family relationships and expounding upon life with his poker buddies, Jonas finds himself pressured to solve the murder. But the more he learns, the more Jonas sees that this is no simple murder, but a mystery that has spanned centuries.

Merlin’s Silver
Joan gets more than she bargained for when she buys an expensive tea service at auction to shake up a lackluster marriage. It seems the tea service is sought by black magicians who will stop at nothing to get it, with only a peculiar little man named Odds Bodkins standing in their way. But who can Joan trust? The mysterious voice on the phone offering to buy the tea service? Her best friend Sally who offers to take it off her hands? Or Odds Bodkins, whose designs grow more unfathomable by the hour?

Three different novellas, all fantasies. The first one begins back in medieval times, where a candle maker and his apprentice are told by the local priest to make twelve candles of a man accused of sorcery. After the man is killed and the candles made of his fat, all those involved are killed (except for the apprentice) by the priest’s Hounds, as he calls them, the apprentice makes a thirteenth candle and escapes with it. The next chapter takes the reader to modern times, where a teenage girl just lost her mother to murdered and her father's return a year later after leaving her and her mother when he learns she has terminal cancer.

The second one is about a man just laid off from his job of many years finding out a mystery about a house of one family where a young boy is murdered. Pressed to solved the murder and the mystery about the family, Jonas finds out that what he thought was a normal life isn't as more and more comes to light. And that he may not know the people around him as he always believed.

The last novella has a woman, Joan, going to an auction and purchasing a silver tea set. But it appears the tea set is more than just a tea set, and that there are desperate men out to get it, no matter who gets hurt. A stranger, who goes by the name of Odd Bodkins, comes to her, offering her help. She learns that life is more complex than she ever thought, that magic is real, and her life may never be the same due to this.

Though the second story appears at first not to be as fantastical—not until close to the end—all three fantasies entertained me and keep me hooked until each tale’s end. A perfect, quick read.

I give Necromancer Candle, The: And Two Additional Tales of Contemporary Fantasy

4 ½ sheep

Pamela Kinney

About the Author:
Randy McCharles is active in Calgary, Alberta’s writing community with a focus on speculative fiction, usually of the wickedly humorous variety. He is the recipient of several Aurora Awards (Canada’s most prestigious award for speculative fiction), for works including the novella Ringing in the Changes in Okotoks, Alberta which appeared in Tesseracts 12 (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing) and was also reprinted in Year’s Best Fantasy 9 (David Hartwell and Kathryn Kramer, ed). Additional short stories and novellas are available in various publications from Edge Press, Anansi Press, and Reality Skimming Press, including the 2014 Aurora Award shortlisted titles: The Puzzle Box and Urban Green Man. Randy’s first full length novel, Capone’s Chicago, will be available in May 2014.

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