Hodder & Stoughton, £14.99

'Nocturnes' is Irish writer John Connolly’s foray into the world of the short story. Book-ended by two novellas, 'The Cancer Cowboy Rides Again' and 'The Reflecting Eye', 'Nocturnes' is a collection of 13 short stories of the macabre variety.

Delving into the readers' darkest fears, Connolly's short stories cover everything from lost loves, to missing children, to subterranean creatures and predatory demons.

Connolly lists horror greats such as Stephen King and MR James as his inspiration for the stories in 'Nocturnes'. And elements of King certainly shine through in the novella 'The Cancer Cowboy Rides Again', which charts the fatal progress of a modern-day grim reaper. In fact, if you didn't know any better you'd almost think you were reading Stephen King.

Marking the return of private eye Charlie Parker, the troubled hero of Connolly's novels, 'The Reflecting Eye' is a tale of a house haunted by a child killer.

'The Inkpot Monkey', which tells the tale of an author troubled by writers' block and how he overcame the impediment, is perhaps the stand-out offering in the short story collection.

Connolly's 'Nocturnes' is a competent and readable collection. 'The Cancer Cowboy Rides Again', one of two novellas, is definitely the most memorable story.

This book is worth a glance but pales in comparison with Connolly's excellent novels, 'Every Dead Thing' among them.

Joanne Ahern