What’s The Music Of Bengt Karlsson, Murderer all about?:
A widower who is still struggling to come to terms with the death of his wife attempts to connect better with his son by encouraging him to take piano lessons. However, the notes that are played on the piano bring something different and very evil into their lives.
What did I think?:
I’ve only read one novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist and it’s the most famous one – Let The Right One In which has also been made into a film. I remember so vividly the novel taking my breath away so my expectations for this story were set very high. I needn’t have worried though, this story was clearly Lindqvist at his horrific best and I thoroughly enjoyed every word I read. Our main character is a man who has fairly recently lost his beloved wife in a car accident and as well as dealing with his grief he is endeavouring to be able to communicate better with his son Robin, a battle that he fears he is losing.
Robin, like most children of his age spends a lot of his time in the virtual reality world of computer games but is quite open to bribery when his father offers to double his pocket money if he will start taking piano lessons. Things are going well and Robin seems to be enjoying the alternative way of amusing himself but it is when father and son move to a new secluded house in the forest that things start going a bit wrong. The house is smaller than their previous one so the piano sits quite comfortably in Robin’s bedroom and his father enjoys listening to him practice while he potters around the house.
One day however, Robin begins playing something a bit different. There does not seem to be a clear melody but the notes are repetitive and give his father an instant feeling of foreboding and unease. Stranger still, it has become normal to hear Robin’s voice in his bedroom as he talks to other gamers or uses Skype but one evening there is a power cut. Of course, you would expect there to be instant silence as the connections are cut – right? Wrong. Robin still continues to talk as if there were someone else in his bedroom but when his father checks, Robin is completely alone. He also continues to play those terrible notes on the piano whilst tears roll down his face as if he just cannot help himself, as if he is being forced to play the music.
I’m not going to give away any secrets about what exactly is going on in these characters lives but believe me, it’s absolutely terrifying. The author writes seamlessly and effortlessly about events that are eerie, deadly and in places, just plain grotesque. I never knew what to expect from page to page as things just seemed to get even worse for Robin and his father. I have a fairly vivid imagination and I’m certain that a few of the sentences and images that they conjured are forever etched in my memory! John Ajvide is a true master of the horror genre and it’s only made me more eager to get to the rest of his back catalogue.
Have you read this story? What did you think?
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):
NEXT SHORT STORY: Dreams In The Witch-House by H.P. Lovecraft from the collection The Definitive H.P. Lovecraft.