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3.90  ·  Rating details ·  4,680 ratings  ·  394 reviews
From #1 internationally bestselling author John Connolly comes Nocturnes, a dark, daring, utterly haunting shot story anthology of lost lovers and missing children, predatory demons, and vengeful ghosts.

Connolly’s collection of supernatural novellas and stories echoes the work of some of the masters of the genre while never losing his own distinctive voice. In "The New Dau
Paperback, 496 pages
Published October 10th 2006 by Atria Books (first published 2004)
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3.90  · 
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 ·  4,680 ratings  ·  394 reviews

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Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
The cover says this book is terrifying and delightful I don't know about terrifying, but it is mostly a delightful read.

Framing a collection of short stories, three of which had never previously been published are two novellas, The Cancer Cowboy Rides and The reflecting Eye which features Charlie Parker.

There were a couple of short stories near the beginning of the collection I did not particularly like, but the rest were really good, particularly the Inkpot Monkey. In my opinion, the two novell
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
A really good collection of short stories that I read in the beginning of 2014. Usually, the quality of short stories varies very much, but I think this is one of the best collections of short stories I have ever read. Then again, this is John Connolly, writer of the excellent Charlie Parker series. So of course, these stories must be good!
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5000-books
My only problem with John Connolly's short stories is just that - they are short! When I read his books I want at least 450 pages of goodness. Nevertheless Nocturnes is really good.

It did help that it includes a Charlie Parker novella, The Reflecting Eye, especially as it is about The Collector who features so notably in the main series. I enjoyed that very much. Another novella length piece, The Cancer Cowboy Rides, was wonderfully disgusting, telling the tale of a man carrying and passing on a
Jan 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2009
I'll be the first to admit I'm not a huge fan of short story compilations. While I've only read a handful of collections, I find they take a lot of effort to get through. It's not that the quality of the work isn't up to par with that of a full length novel, it's just the ending of one story followed by the beginning of another can sometimes come across as exhausting. You get all invested in a story and it's characters and all of a sudden, it's over. Then, you begin again.

Seeing as Connolly is o
Tom Mathews
This is one of the best story collections that I have read. Nocturnes is a great title as the stories are truly the stuff that nightmares are made of. It is rare that a single author collection doesn't have one story that would be better off in the dustbin but that is the case here. Even the worst story is pretty darn good.

On a side note, as Connolly is the author of the excellent Charlie Parker detective series I thought that some of the stories in this collection, particularly The Underbury Wi
Arun Divakar
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
In hindsight, the title for this book was rather apt. While I did not think about it at the time of reading, all the stories here are ones where the night is dark and full of terrors. There are things here that go bump in the night and the night itself gives you the biggest bumps of them all. Connolly was not an author whose books I had read before and he did turn out to be good ( in the early Stephen King kind of way). These are short stories packed with punches, teeth and claws. Here is what I ...more
Liz Barnsley
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful selection of short stories from Mr Connolly, including one featuring Charlie Parker (The Reflecting Eye) , I re-read these, some each night over the last little while (February 2014) and once again was enthralled and delighted by each of them.

There is a great mix here – my favourite being “The Underbury Witches” – I do like a good evil witch story – closely followed by “Some Children Wander By Mistake” which, frankly, freaked me out, anyone who has the clown phobia should beware!

Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fabulous collection of horror stories. Loved it, loved it, loved it!

I first picked this up to read the novella at the end, as it concerns a 'villain' who shows up in the Charlie Parker series which Mr. Connolly also writes. It was obvious - in this other book, a novel - that I had missed something, though it was made clear who and what this villainous person was. Still, he had a back story and I hadn't read it. So...

I read that novella first and it fit into the series perfectly, preci
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Pretty good collection, I really enjoyed The Cancer Cowboy Rides Again, The Underbury Witches, Nocturne and Deep, Dark Green. But the Charlie Parker novella The Reflecting Eye pushed it up to 4 stars.

This is a book of short stories, so I would think that the best way to respond would be to each one individually ... all 15 (though there is, apparently, a different version with even more stories - so it looks like I will be buying the updated copy at some point!):
"The Cancer Cowboy Rides" - This was a quite chilling and remarkably grotesque story about a living cancer, embodied in "Buddy". A truly disgusting story, it was certainly entertaining and a quite solid short story.
"Mr. Pettinger's Da
Melanie (TBR and Beyond)

I really have a love and hate relationship with horror short stories. Every now and then I really love one and it affects me. Yes, Shirley Jackson I'm talking you! This was my first book by John Connolly and it really wasn't the best one for me to pick. I should've started with "The Book of Lost Things." I will still get to that one though, I think it will be more my style.

I listened to this one on audio. It took me forever. To be fair, it always takes me longer on audio because I'm antsy. I've
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In every one of these short stories Connolly succeeds in raising my neck hairs, even if at times it is only a small bit. I like to think that I'm immune to the average horror story atmospheres and tropes which is to say that for an author to have any pull on my emotions they must do either A) take the normal horror game to new heights or B) Do something completely off the wall altogether. Connolly does a mixture of both of these options which produces many diverse and refreshing stories. I reall ...more
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Connolly fans
Generally I consider most short story collections a mixed bag at best, unless your name is Stephen King. And the reason I read this one is firstly the inclusion of a Charlie Parker story, which was imho the best story in the book at the same time. Secondly I was kind of curious how mr. Connely did do outside of "Charlie Parker universe". And while he did not really dissapoint he did not always deliver as good. I did enjoy the opening novella and the short story on the Witches, which might have b ...more
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Group read with Literary Darkness GR group

When reading this book I kept thinking: "I'd read something like this before!", so perhaps I did read plenty of those short stories from somewhere else in the past.

Plus, John Connolly's themes, style and writing reminds me strongly of Clive Barker's short stories, I'm not saying who is ripping off who, but the resemblance is still strong.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
3 Stars - Good book

A collection of creepy stories -nothing more and nothing less. If you're going to read this, I'd recommend reading it during the Halloween season. I'm sure people can enjoy the book outside the constraints of Halloween, but I'd imagine it's less fun.

I gave this one 3 stars because there are some 2 , 3, 4, and 5 star stories. 3 seemed like a good average; it also means that this book is worth the read. I'm almost positive that everyone can find at least one story they enjoy. O
John Wiltshire
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I have some downtime, I'm working my way through the audio versions of John Connolly's Charlie Parker series. I've read the series a number of times, but listening to them has been revelatory--mainly in how overly fast I read and how much I actually miss! So, having that excellent reader's voice in my mind, I've just started reading this new (to me) Connolly book of short stories. Great stuff so far. I'll update when done.
I finished this great little collection last night and highly recomme
Alexander Draganov
Oct 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a very strong collection of horror stories, which are quite different in tone and style. I like most the ones, which are connected with the legends about ancient faerie or divine creatures - with them Connely touches the greatness of H.P. Lovecraft.
Mar 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dead-tree, star-4, 2012
The Cancer Cowboy Rides (4 stars) - Interesting idea. Decent character development. Started out good but lost steam near the end. Really no absolution and the ending was choppy. Cut up scenes that didn't really run together into coherence. I mean I guess I understood in the end but he could have kept it smooth like the rest of the story. I think I would have liked him to flesh it out a bit. It could have made a decent book.

Mr. Pettingers Daemon (3 stars) - I really liked the atmosphere in this.
Leah Polcar

This is my first Connolly and though I did not love it, I was impressed enough to hunt down The Gate (which I really liked) and plan on reading much more.

I did find a lot of the stories to be obvious (see, The Cycle or The Bridal Bed, or derivative (see pretty much every story but Cancer Cowboy or Some Children Wander by Mistake), or just not scary/creepy, but some did stand out:

The Cancer Cowboy Rides : This reads like vintage Stephen King and that is a very good thing. I really liked th
Allison Wonderland
Jun 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
I thoroughly enjoyed John Connolly's novel, The Book of Lost Things, and thus was intrigued by this volume of some of his short fiction pieces. For the most part, they were enjoyable supernatural stories, if a bit predictable. Very rarely was I outright surprised by something that Mr. Connolly wrote, and for me, the mark of a good horror story is that it surprises you. There were also a few plot holes in his stories, particularly in the Charlie Parker novella, which bothered me as I read. I also ...more
Jan 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I absolutely love John Connolly, & this book is exceptional. The stories are written in different styles & voices -- one of the things I like about Connolly is that his books aren't all the same. Many of the stories here are set in between-wars & post-war England, which I find particularly compelling -- these stories have a certain old-fashioned (but not boring) quality to them. My favorite piece was probably "Some Children Wander By Mistake", which I found chilling & sad, or "Th ...more
Jun 01, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: misogynists
I've never read anything else of John Connolly's, but from this collection of short stories, it seems he has real women issues. Every female character fits directly into the succubus category, with sagging breasts, rotting flesh, and a great desire to consume men. To Connolly, it seems that every woman is a Lilith, a witch from which men must escape or die. I guess he's had some bad relationships.
Paula Cappa
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm a short story fiend so this book really spoke to me. Connolly is a fine writer and these stories are suspenseful and page-turning. I especially like The Shifting of the Sands.
Scott Firestone
Sep 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I don't read much horror anymore. But John Connolly's name kept popping up in various places--not least in the Recommendations right here on Goodreads. I found out he's written a series of thrillers involving former NYPD detective Charlie Parker, who investigates murders that involve supernatural elements. Even noted thriller writer Harlan Coben called Connolly "one of the best thriller writers we have." So I decided to read his first collection of short stories, and I'm very glad I did.

"The Ca
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I first encountered John Connolly when I read his wonderfully gothic fairy tale The Book of Lost Things . It’s been years but I do remember the captivating and spin-chilling nature of his plot, and the poetry of his prose.

Collected before Lost Things was published, Nocturnes contains similar tones and themes. Most of the stories read like modern fairy tales. And also like fairy tales, most of them can be summed up in a basic formula. A person or family that comes in from outside the village go
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dark stories with dextrously laid-down plot lines, all told with panache. Yes, this is genre fiction, but exceedingly well done. It's a fun book and a quick read. If you tend towards squeamishness, maybe it's not the book for you. But if you tend towards squeamishness, what are you doing reading horror fiction anyway? Uh duh. I'm tempted to call these fables, because many of the stories clearly have morals they're trying to inculcate, sometimes with a great degree of subtlety, and sometimes not ...more
Michelle (Crazy Cat Lady)

>The Cancer Cowboy Rides - I felt more disturbed in a bad way than scared in a good way. 1*

>Mr Pettenger's Dæmon - Very short, but closer to what I was expecting. 3*

>The Erkling - I think The Erlking, despite it's short length, is the creepiest frickin' thing I have ever read. Rating: 5*

>The New Daughter - In which fairies are decidedly malicious. 4.25*.

>The Ritual of the Bones - Had potental, but I didn't know what the point of it was. It used lots of surnames of po
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, age-adult, 2011
I came across this book after watching the movie "The New Daughter" (with Kevin Costner). As with "Dread"/Books of Blood 1-3, I wanted to know more of this story and hoped the short story it was based on would be better. A friend had recommended a novel of Connolly's and I thought a book of short stories might not be a bad way to get acquainted with his work.

Unfortunately, the story "The New Daughter" was similar to "Dread" in that the movie actually expanded upon it. It was quite short although
Aug 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Well-executed if predictable (honestly, about 1/3 of the way in, you can figure out the shtick of most of these stories) ghost stories, mostly, in the 19th-century/Edwardian English mode: a lot of unfortunate-things-happened-here (in at least four stories I can recall off the top of my head), a bunch of ancient-evil-lying-in-wait, and a few ye-olde-British-isles-paganism (which, to me, will pretty much never be done better than in the original Wicker Man). And I have to agree with the reviews on ...more
Jun 01, 2009 rated it liked it
I really had to struggle to finish Nocturnes; if I'd taken it out from the library instead of purchasing it (even for $5) I probably would have stopped. The prose was deft and colorful at points, but the stories just didn't deliver for me, and when you tapped on the side of a finished piece until the metaphors fell out, more often than not what was really supposed to be scary was women--their mystical societies, their dangerously enthralling bodies, their mood swings, their sexual appetites. It ...more
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John Connolly was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1968 and has, at various points in his life, worked as a journalist, a barman, a local government official, a waiter and a dogsbody at Harrods department store in London. He studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, subsequently spending five years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper ...more

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Nocturnes (2 books)
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“Being scared isn't the problem. It's not running away that's the hard part.” 132 likes
“Oh, such promises we make in the heat of our passion, when the breath catches in the throat and the belly trembles. Lured by the warmth of another - the scent of her, the strength of him - our tongues betray us and the words come tumbling from our mouths. The act becomes indistinguishable from the intent, and the truth is confused with lies, even to ourselves. Do we say these things because we truly believe them, or do we believe that, by saying them aloud, they may become true? And, when tested, how many of us can say that we fulfilled our vows, that we did not turn away, that we did not renege on the promises we made? When our partners grow old and slow, when the light in their eyes dims and our ardor cools, how many of us are not tempted to turn away and seek our pleasures elsewhere? Not I. I was faithful always. I kept my vows to her, and she her vows to me, in her way.” 16 likes
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