‘Noctuidae’ by Scott Nicolay is a tricky one to write a review for. It is my first time reading his work and I purchased this book purely because it was published by King Shot Press; a small press based in Oregon that releases some damn fine books. The books these guys publish are often difficult to categorize and I like that. Even I need a break from the horror genre sometimes and I have really enjoyed some of their previous releases.
The fact that Nicolay is a world fantasy award winner meant I went into this with high expectations. Were those expectations met? Yes and no. The writing is sharp and Nicolay’s characters are great. It is a strange story that flirts with the horror genre but I think it falls more into the weird fiction category.
The story follows a group of three hikers as they embark upon a journey into a canyon in Arizona; one female (whom the point of view that the story is told from) and two males. Strange things happen upon the discovery of a cave and our trio are thrust into an unexpected fight for survival. It all sounds pretty run of the mill so far, but what Nicolay does well is turn the story on its head. He does this by making the reader almost forget about what lurks outside of the cave and instead focus on what’s happening inside of the cave, which is uncomfortable.
The story is quick to get through. I liked it, but felt it was a little lost in what it wanted to be. I felt it would make a great short story in an anthology or better perhaps expanded into something novel length, but the novella style length didn’t really work for me.
Overall, it’s a really good story, it didn’t blow me away but it did have a great ending and it is another tick in the box for King Shot Press. I would like to read more from Mr Nicolay.
You can pick up a copy from here.