Night Service: John F. Leonard
Reviewed By Steve Stred
John F. Leonard continues to build his world and his Scaeth Mythos to their fullest. I’ve read a number of his releases – minus Bad Pennies, the novel that started it all, sheesh – and every time Leonard manages to suck me in and make me root for the characters.
‘Night Service’ the newest edition to the ever-expanding bibliography starts out innocently enough. We are introduced to a couple who are on a date. Neither are well off or have much money, so they’re going to take the bus to her place and hang out, enjoy each other’s company.
While they wait, which begins to feel like the bus will never arrive, a mixed bag of characters arrive to also take the bus aka the ‘Night Service.’
We get an older, chatty grandpa, a lady with a stroller and her baby, a massive man with muscles and tattoos and a group of people who look to have partied for many years.
Finally the bus arrives and it’s once they get on that the story really takes off.
I enjoyed how things played out and as the action unfolds, Leonard is unforgiving. No one is safe and as the Scaeth enter the fold and introduce themselves to the passengers, I was really happy to have had Leonard introduce each of these characters to us, so that they are not just throwaways.
Leonard long ago has solidified himself as a ‘must-read’ for me, and ‘Night Service’ just adds to that moniker.
I’ll be prioritizing getting to Bad Pennies here shortly, but just know, if you haven’t read Bad Pennies, you can easily jump into any of John’s works and you’ll be fine.
KR: John F. Leonard wrote a fascinating piece on the writing of Night Service which you can exclusively read on Kendall Reviews HERE
It’s been a great night, but it’s getting late. You need to make tracks and cash isn’t king.
No worries …all aboard the Night Service. It could be the last bus you ever catch.
Every journey is a journey into the unknown, but this trip is an eye-opener, unlike anything that Luke and Jessica have ever experienced. They’re going to learn a few important lessons. Being young and in love doesn’t grant immunity from the everyday awful …or the less ordinary evil that lurks in the shadows.
There’s no inoculation from the horror of the world – it’s real and it’s waiting to touch you.
Public transport tends to divide opinion. Some folks think it’s fantastic. They love rubbing shoulders with strangers, seeing life anew through condensation-clad windows. Others consider buses as nothing short of easy-on-the-pocket cattle trucks that the enviro-friendlies promote and never use.
There are drawbacks, that’s for sure.
A nagging distrust, an under the radar sense of unpredictability.
You never know who’s going to be in the seat next to you. You never know, with absolute certainty, if you’ll arrive where you need to be.
Especially on those rare darktime buses that run when the sensible folk have done their business and gone home. The last dance, last ditch, leftover choice. The get on or get walking option. They’re the worst.
All the night owls out there need to take care, buses after midnight are decidedly dodgy affairs. Unreliable and loaded with the potential for unpleasant.
That said, life doesn’t always leave you with very much choice. Love them or loathe them, sometimes you just have to climb aboard and hope for the best. How bad can it be?
Just jump on and enjoy!
Time to shut up and let someone else drive. You’re not in control when you travel in lowlife style.
No standing, there’s room on top.
No smoking and don’t distract the driver.
Don’t scream and don’t cuss.
Just get on the bus.
Night service is a wild ride. One you’ll never forget. It’s going to take you to places you’ve never been before.
Oh, one thing. Don’t expect to get off alive. And don’t expect to see another sunrise if you do. Happy endings can be elusive little devils.
Definitely a horror story. Part of the Scaeth Mythos and one of a number of sinister tales from the Dead Boxes Archive. Some places, just like some objects, aren’t quite what they seem. Ordinary on the surface, but underneath crawling with incredible.
They’re scary. They hold miracle and mystery. Horror and salvation.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, and the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun.
On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In will arrive. This release was specifically created to help fund the 1st Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here