First published back in December of 1987, Tony Napoli’s short story ‘Voices In The Night’ was released as a stand-alone story for the Fastback ‘Mystery’ series.  Fastbacks were designed to encourage reluctant readers to take up reading, keeping the stories short, sharp and exciting.

The book is classed as a ‘Double Fastback’, meaning it’s roughly double the length of a standard Fastback.

The story was later published within the ‘After Midnight’ (1989) Fastback Anthology.

DLS Synopsis:
Stan Meyers had been working at KFOS radio station for the last two years, but now he was feeling burnt-out. For those last two years he’d hosted the incredibly popular late-night call-in show ‘Meyers at Midnight’, where he’d speak with those listeners who, for whatever reason, were awake past midnight. But two years of hosting the show and listening to so many listeners’’ problems had worn him down. It was time for him to move on.

He’d told the Program Director, Bill Hodges, he was leaving. That he’d already accepted a job at KSTY where he’d be playing 40s’ and 50s’ jazz instead. A change of pace. A change in career that he felt it was time to take.

However, when word gets out that the much-loved Stan Meyers will be leaving, the phone lines go mad. A lot of late-night listeners relied on Stan to get them through the night. The news meant there were a hell of a lot of very sad, upset, and in some cases, very angry listeners out there now.

It was after the news of Stan’s leaving was first announced, that he received his first call from Barton Cook. A call that was worryingly to Stan’s home landline. The man on the call was clearly very upset. But then all of a sudden, his temperament shifts, and he tells Stan he’ll kill him and then himself if Stan leaves the show. 

It would be the first of several calls he’d receive from this troubled man, and eventually, it was a threat Stan Meyers found he should take very seriously…

DLS Review:
The tale is a classic stalker style piece, with a late-night radio presenter being threatened by an obsessive fan.

The story itself isn’t particularly complex or overly involved. Indeed, there’s not a huge amount to it. Nevertheless, Napoli spends a large proportion of the story setting the scene and gradually, scene-by-scene, building up the suspense.

For the most part the story runs just how you might predict it will. Of course, there’s a twist ending thrown in at the end. We always expect there to be a twist, however, to be honest, I didn’t quite see this particular one coming. It’s not that it’s particularly clever or ingeniously conceived, it’s just that it almost falls into the story from out of nowhere.

Despite being more of a slow burner than it probably needed or should have been (especially for a Fastback), the tale is still reasonably gripping. It’s certainly not as fast paced and punchy as a Richard Laymon Fastback. But for a short read, it’s still worth the investment of time.

The Fastback runs for a total of 62 pages (which are just 4” x 5.5” with an average word count of around 100 words per page).

© DLS Reviews


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