Title: The Murmurations of Vienna Von Drome
Author: Jeffrey Ford
In: Black Feathers (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Horror
Dates read: 7th March 2019
Format: Short story
Publisher: Pegasus Books Ltd.
5th sentence, 74th page: “Good lord,” I said, “by this time he could have eaten a half dozen spleens.”
The Beast has been preying upon a small American town for years, and the local Sheriff knows that it has something to do with Vienna Von Drome. But even with all of his suspicions, he won’t know who the villain truly is until the end.
I actually found this short story a lot more difficult to put down than the other stories which preceded it in Black Feathers. It still had that slightly dark horror feel to it, but the storyline was a lot more linear than I had expected. Where many other horror stories have an incredibly jumpy and disjointed feel to them, this followed a chronological path and one that made a lot more sense to me. It was a nice change from the more abstract horror short stories I have been reading lately.
I spent the entire story line of this tale trying to figure out who the Beast was. It seemed too easy to be Vienna, but I couldn’t figure out who it would be if it wasn’t her. This sense of mystery and intrigue meant that I kind of walked into a wall when I was reading this (bad habit of mine to get so absorbed into a story that I forget to concentrate on anything around me).
Although this was kind of a straight-laced story of crime and horror, it had the recurring theme of sparrows throughout. Not birds that I have ever associated with horror, but the haunting flight patterns that are shown throughout are quite eerie and intense. They added a feeling of horror to the atmosphere that it would have otherwise lacked.
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