Information about the author.
Figures in Rain is the first collection of Chet Williamson’s tales of the uneasy, the macabre, and the horrific. In these twenty-seven stories—two of which have been specially written for this volume—Williamson explores the sometimes tragic, sometimes horrifying, always fascinating world of dark terrors that exists alongside our own, more mundane, world. When the two worlds overlap, the result can be terror, pain, confusion, and heartache; but it can also be forgiveness, understanding, hope, and even love. No two Chet Williamson stories are alike; and the characters who inhabit them are all too recognisable as living, breathing people who sometimes stumble across the boundary between our existence and that of something darker, and who do not always have the tools to cope with what they find there.
The story centers around a renovated theater in Pennsylvania and is arranged in three acts, plus overture and curtain call. The tension in Act I heightens as the reader must decide if this is a murder mystery, psychodrama, horror or fantasy, with the author offering clues to support each possibility. Theaters have a history of ghosts and accidents, but as the number of deaths at the Venetian mounts, the police become less inclined to accept verdicts of “accident.” Owner/actor Dennis Hamilton has nothing obvious to gain from the killings, nor could he have caused them, but his strange behavior makes others wonder if he might not have a double or another personality—or something else entirely—that does want the deaths. Mystery, suspense, drama and horror combine to make this one of Williamson’s finest works.
In Merridale, semi-transparent blue apparitions have appeared. These aren’t ghosts, exactly. They are visions of the dead in their final moments—the last seconds of their lives portrayed for all to see. They don’t move, and they don’t speak.
Ash Wednesday is a thoughtful horror story about what happens to people when they are forced to gaze into the face of death and, specifically, the face of their own personal dead: their friends and family, those they believed to be dead and gone. Murders are revealed, rapes and other crimes. People despair, and try to create new lives out of the wreckage. Two of these are Bradley Meyers, a vet already driven half-crazy by his experiences in Vietnam, confronted by the sight of his dead son, and now barely capable of containing his rage, and Jim Callender, whose son has died in the same accident, for which he is partly responsible. As Callender sinks into guilt, Meyers moves toward murder.