John is the caretaker of a very special house. A house in which the right kind of people suffering the wrong kind of loss, can connect with their loved ones after being branded with a sigil and working out what their totem is, linking said spirit to them. It's a house in which the inhabitants only leave if they have to, so content are they to be re-connected to their loved ones. And it's a house that sits a little too closely to other things that want to cross the divide between dimensions, meaning it is soon up to John to fix whatever it is that is broken...
What begins intriguingly in William Meikle's short and to the point novella, Pentacle, eventually gives way to being less than what the reader's imagination can conjure. Having not yet read his previous work, Broken Sigil, which reportedly acts as a kind of spiritual prequel to Pentacle, I enjoyed the way Meikle gradually revealed the world in which these strange houses and the people drawn to them exist. By the time his protagonist becomes aware that something is wrong and finds a series of tapes explaining what a previous inhabitant did to keep the things from the other side at bay, I thought I was in for something special.
Unfortunately, when the threat was revealed, I was seriously underwhelmed. I won't reveal what said threat is, but to my mind, it never felt overly concerning or indeed anything more than annoyingly weird. Others may see it differently, but for mine, this was a novella that started solidly before falling well short of the nefarious horror I was anticipating.
In short, this was just an okay read from an author I've come to expect bigger things from.
2.5 Mournful Tunes for Pentacle.