Thursday 6 July 2023

The Man in the Attic - Rebecca Cantrell - A Hannah Vogel Short Story

The Man in the Attic
A Hannah Vogel Short Story

Wow what a great short story. I stumbled across two eBook stories by Cantrell while doing research for a different review. I picked up both this one and On the Train, without reading anything about them. I grabbed them just as a fan of the works of Cantrell I had already read. I could tell based on the covers that they were related and likely related to WWII events. The description of this story states:

“1940, German-occupied Czechoslovakia

A dark shadow lurks near Jacob's village, one dressed in tall black boots and carrying guns. He should listen to his grandfather, give up his childish games and possessions. But when two boys try to take his prize marble, he runs away to his synagogue and hides in the forbidden attic.

There Jacob uncrates a huge, dusty clay man. Could it be the creature from his grandfather's stories, the Maharal's earthen defender of the Jews of Prague? If such legends were true, no one would dare come for his marble—or his village. Legends taught that the statue could be brought to life with a single word to do its master’s bidding. But that was a childish thought, and he should give up childish thoughts. And even if it were true, the legends also told of unintended horrors once that word was spoken to the creature, that word he should not say...”

As soon as the creature in the box was described I recognized it from the St Tommy NYPD books by Declan Finn. A golem is a terrible thing to consider, it is mindless and intent on completing a most literal interpretation of its instructions. In St Tommy they are used for good, in this one things go sideways really quick. In this one a young boy, Jacob, finds one and does now really know what the consequences of his awakening it will be.  

Cantrell does an amazing job building tension, creating terror, and capturing horror in this masterfully written short story. Cantrell was looking for help renaming an older story called iFrankenstein on social media, I had suggested iGolem without even being aware of this story. 

I have now read a few stories by Cantrell over the last few months, prior to that it had been seven years since I read a book by her. Back in 2015 I read a few of the Order of the Sanguines series co-written with James Rollins, that was shortly before a major work project and then a switch in jobs and her works fell off my radar. After reading her excellent collection, Yuletide Thrills, short stories I picked up this and 2 of her other volumes. I now plan to read all of her published works, both those under this name and the two under the pen name, Bekka Black. This is an excellent short story, wonderful written. So I encourage you to pick this up and give it a try, but be warned you might become addicted to Cantrell’s stories and end up with many of her books on your wish list or ‘to be read’ pile. 

Books by Rebecca Cantrell:
Cigarette Boy and Other Stories

Joe Tesla Series:
The World Beneath
The Tesla Legacy
The Chemistry of Death
The Steel Shark

Hannah Vogel Series:
A Trace of Smoke 
A Night of Long Knives 
A Game of Lies 
A City of Broken Glass 
A Time of Night and Fog (Omnibus Edition)
Hannah Vogel Short Stories\Novella’s:
Cigarette Boy

As Bekka Black:
iMonster Series:

The Order of the Sanguines Trilogy with James Rollins:
0.5 City of Screams
2.0 Innocent Blood
3.0 Blood Infernal

Tucker Wayne Series with Grant Blackwood:
The Kill Switch
War Hawk

Malibu Mystery Series with Sean Black:
"A" is for Actress or "A" is for Asshat 
"B" is for Bad Girls 
"C" is for Coochy Coo 
"D" is for Drunk 
"E" is for Exposed 
"F" is for Fred 
"G" is for Groovy 

No comments: