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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Six Tolls of the Bell and Other Mystery Stories by Marco Barbaro

Title: Six Tolls of the Bell and Mystery Other Stories
Author: Marco Barbaro
Read Type: Author Request
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You can purchase a copy of this book from Amazon UK and Amazon US
You can find the original Italian versions in the following:
The Chosen one in "7 Storie all'imbrunire" (Amazon Italian)
The ring and the swamp" in "Storie all'imbrunire Vol. II" (Amazon Italian)

You can find out more about the author on his Twitter, Facebook and Amazon Profile Page
The Italian Publishing house TRAGOPANO Edizioni has also written about Marco here
Book Blurb
This book contains three stories:
The Chosen One
The ring and the swamp
Six tolls of the bell

The plots

Slowly regaining consciousness in a gloomy, damp room hidden in an old and mysterious mansion, the chosen one awakens as his nightmares are just beginning. Why did this macabre cult choose him? And what terrible fate awaits him?

Morass and swamps. A terrible secret lurks in the depths of the murky water. What mysterious creature roams the rural woods and mangroves?

An old ritual is performed at the top of a campanile, the highest observation point of a little village. Father Cornelius has hidden the story for years, but now the time has come for him to reveal the terrible secret that, every night of the full moon, threatens to eradicate all who innocently live in the small town below.

Author Bio
Marco Barbaro (1976) was born in Mirano, Italy, and dedicated his spare time during the first thirty-three years of his life to work, family, music, sports and computer programming.

In 2010, he discovered the power and beauty of writing.

Between singing lullabies to his son and changing diapers, he's written nearly seventy short (and long) stories, two of which were honored in the "La Biblioteca d'oro" and "La Bussola Letteraria" 2011 literary contests. His collection of eight short and long stories was chosen as a finalist entry in the "Jacques Prevert 2012" contest.

In 2013, he wrote a short comic tale which was published in the anthology "77 Fiabe Buffe". He continues writing new stories today, several of which are being translated into English.

Feel free to share your ideas, reviews or ask questions by sending an email to Marco at marco.barbaro (at)

Strong language: once
Drugs: no
Violence: mild
Sexual content: no

I received a free copy of this anthology from the author in return for an unbiased review

Six Tolls of the Bell and Other Mystery Stories is an anthology written from Italian by Marco Barbaro and translated into English by Andrea Pakieser

The Chosen One
4 stars
A good start to the collection, the character's point of view displays his confusion and potentially drugged state well. There is tension throughout the story. It ended well, slightly uncertain of what the future held for the character.

I particularly liked the word choice in some situations, for example "making his muscles fibrillate"

The Ring and the Swamp
3.5 stars
We meet Jack, a man clearly slightly unhinged, with a penchant for dumping women's bodies in the swamp! As if he wasn't wacky enough there is a supernatural undertone to the entire story, fascinating to read. The descriptions were well placed and kept the pace of the story, while the flashes of something other than Jack out in the swamp were brief and believable as just a crocodile… or were they?

This slightly longer story snagged my attention and kept me reading, but I did feel the last section where everything was revealed weakened the story a little, I'd like to have seen it left in uncertain territory, I think.

Six Tolls of the Bell
3.5 stars
This story is told mainly to a sceptical priest, in a small group of selected men, many of whom would rather be in bed at this late hour than in a hushed up meeting to hear what is surely the ramblings of an old man who's lost his sense of reality a bit.

I felt that the characters not listening simultaneously made the story being told feel less important, but also gave a sense of foreboding. Would they realise in time the truth of the matter or would lives be lose because of them?

The 411
I felt overall this was a good first effort in English by Marco, sometimes phrases were awkwardly put, I'm not sure how much of this was in the original Italian copy and how much was through the translation. At times I came across a word I would never have thought of using for a situation, yet if I'd consulted a thesaurus this would have been near the top of the list. Most of the time I felt these added a unique take that perfectly captured the moment, but a couple left me bewildered for a moment.

I look forward to seeing his future efforts.

Rating a translated book is always difficult as it is hard to tell how much of those little things that bother you are the story itself and how much are the translation. When doing the individual ratings I kept them as one, but as an American translator translated this, not the author, I'll judge what I think the Italian version would read like (if only I could read the language).

For the original stories I give a 4
For the translation I give a 3
Overall I give this anthology a 3.5 and adjust it to a 4 for reviewing sites.

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