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The Fiddler in the Night

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A dark, spare and enticing story of love, hope and resurrection framed by the bloody trail of a soulless killer.

Arcadia is a spare land, heavy with silence and distance, a misfit place.

In that space author Christian Fennell places his tale, “The Fiddler in the Night,” a story that aches with loneliness, love and loss, but drips with blood.

The story is told in the sparest prose, descriptions and character emotions ground down to bare essentials. Things are, the land is and time stretches back through history and into a foggy uncertain future. The style allows each reader to alone assess motive and resolution.

In its barest form, “The Fiddler in the Night,” brings together separate searchers seeking a measure of peace, freedom or relief. In its fullest form, the story rubs hope and peace with evil.

Jonathan McClean, 16, is a scion of a family who has farmed a piece of Arcadia for generations. He leaves the farm one night  after his terminally ill father choses death,  and his mother leaves, seeking solitude and perhaps her own death.

The search is triggered by the disappearance of Jonathan’s mother, and the theft of his father’s truck.

Jonathan crosses paths with a handful of colorful and disparate souls, including Holly, a girl held captive as a sex slave, and Rachel, a young girl whose mother is gone and his father is killed. Rachel occupies a surprising place in the story.

Raging over the story is Leonard, a 17-year-old untethered killer who leaves a trail of butchery  across the dark landscape.  His murders grow in savagery  and brutality as his blood lust grows, engorged by the  thrill and his self-fulfillment.

Jonathan and Leonard cross paths, each with murder in their minds. In his heart, Johnathan wants to find an end to the trail of deaths he has tracked, all leading to Leonard.

Leonard simply kills, filled with his glorified senses of revenge and power.

The story reads at times like poetry and at others, like a fever dream, an enticing and imaginative combination that melds the heaviness of ancient mythmaking and the nervy edge of modern life.

The story concludes, but for Jonathan and Rachel, it does so with a measure of hopeful unease.

Reviewed by

I am a career award-winning journalist and the author of the four-book Frank Nagler Mystery series. Kirkus Reviews called Nagler "one of modern fiction's expertly drawn detectives." I have also written short stores, poetry, and literary fiction.

Part One

About the author

Christian is the author of critically acclaimed collection of short stories, Torrents of Our Time, and the novel, The Fiddler in the Night, which the US Review of Books called, "a work of art in word form." Christian was a columnist and the fiction editor at The Prague Review. view profile

Published on January 26, 2021

Published by Firenzie Books

50000 words

Contains graphic explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Literary Fiction

Reviewed by