Trade Paperback, 128 pages £7.99
Review by Mario Guslandi
A prolific author in the field of horror and dark fantasy (stories, novellas, novels), Paul Finch is well known for his solid plots, his gripping narrative style and his ability to create dark atmospheres and to shape plausible characters in a few sentences.
I don’t recall a single story penned by Finch which left me either disappointed or simply unresponsive. I guess “powerful” is the adjective that I have mostly employed to describe his adrenalin-charged tales. But don’t get me wrong, Finch’s fiction is by no means shallow as some action thrillers are, but can be perceptive and full of subtleties, vivid and colorful yet casting dark shadows around the reality’s corners.
Sparrowhawk is a novella of merely 127 pages, defined as “a Victorian ghost story” masterfully blending different fictional elements. Partly it’s a historical tableau – the story is set in London in 1843 and features an Afghan war veteran who, at the beginning of the story lies in a debtor’s prison – depicting with efficacy the features of life during Victorian England.
A mysterious and fascinating employer recruits Sparrowhawk to guard and protect the inhabitants of a London house against unspecified enemies which soon will reveal their true, supernatural nature. Thus the novella soon becomes a ghostly, horrific tale full of creepy surprises.
In addition Finch manages to squeeze into the tale a fleeting love story which will briefly soothe the Captain’s emotional pain deriving from a past private tragedy.
Reading this book is a pleasure for any lover of good fiction. I warmly invite you to partake in this pleasure.