Craig Rodger’s ‘One More Number’ is a collection full of music, grit, and unsavoury characters. There are six stories within this collection, and all of them are somewhat connected. The main one being musical instruments. A lot of the characters play various instruments and keep them close by their sides throughout the book.
The writing style is reminiscent of Hemingway in terms of to the point sentences. Rodger’s makes an unusual but beautiful choice in creating an orchestrated melody out of this collection. There is an ebb and flow to these stories, as there are periods of short and long sentences. Switching between those two creates a sense of unease in the reader. You are never allowed to relax for too long.
Do not read this book expecting answers because you will be disappointed. Rodger’s sustains a sense of foreboding mystery right up until the last page. Not many words are spoken in this collection, but I feel that it was the right choice. The descriptive actions of the characters say far more than their own words ever could.
‘The Trumpet Man’ is my favourite story out of the collection. Rodger’s hints that there has been some kind of disaster in the town, and everyone has dispersed into groups. Our main character, Silas, wields his trumpet like a weapon. It is not an ordinary trumpet, but we’re never let in on the secret. Again, you will not find answers in this collection, but I believe that is done with intent. Craig Rodger’s wants the reader to come up with conclusions by themselves.
There are various recurring motifs throughout this collection, such as; TV’s, bartenders, musical instruments, and notebooks. The general theme of ‘One More Number’ is film noir. You can almost picture these vignettes playing on a silent film reel in a jazz bar. This collection is one you will want to reread as it has more layers than an onion. In some moments, it almost feels like a social commentary hidden within a musical setting.
Craig Rodger’s has done an excellent job writing this thoroughly unique collection of stories, and I hope he revisits these characters someday. You can find him on Twitter at @abasketofcraig, and his book will be released very soon with ‘Death of Print’.