FLAME AND OTHER ENIGMATIC TALES by Maynard Sims, Sarob Press, h/b, no price stated, www.maynard-sims.com
Reviewed by Matthew Johns
A collection of six fascinating tales, beautifully bound from authors Len Maynard and Mick Sims â€“ collectively known as Maynard Sims (the literary Brangelina, perhaps?).
This opens with the richly crafted â€˜Double Actâ€™ set in 1940s London.Â Music hall act Coker and Hass have been working together for decades and think they know each other.Â Straight man Charlie Hass writes the act, while his partner Wally Coker is the funny man in the misshapen suit with wild hair (think Max Wall).Â Charlie passes away suddenly, and Wally begins to find that he didnâ€™t know his partner at all.Â Wallyâ€™s insecurities about just being the funny man and being lost with the death of his partner fade as he discovers Charlie was jealous of Wallyâ€™s ability to make the crowd laugh.Â Charlieâ€™s jealous ghost soon starts making Wallyâ€™s life difficult as it seeks closure.
In â€˜Jealousyâ€™, a drama teacher becomes obsessed with one of his female pupils, but is soon discovered hanged at home after being spurned by his pupil.Â Then the pupilâ€™s boyfriend also hangs himself.Â A friend of the drama teacher soon notices a shadowy figure following the pupil around.
â€˜Assignmentâ€™ follows Robert Carter from Department 18 â€“ a shadowy UK government organisation devoted to tackling paranormal and the associated psychic phenomena (a British X Files, if you like).Â Carter is sent to a large country house to help its wealthy owner with some unusual problems, and discovers a foe he has faced before â€“ an ancient evil.
Maynard Simsâ€™ work is superbly detailed, and very well written.Â I found myself falling into their spell within a page or two of opening the book and did not want to put it down.