Book review: The Whisperers, by John Connolly

May 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Book reviews 

whisperersCharlie Parker’s back in his ninth outing, and his own situation is in some sort of order for once. His personal life appears to have reached a plateau of consistency; the ghosts and memories of his past are still there, but muted with time after the devastating revelatory events of The Lovers. Importantly, he’s also got his Private Investigator license back, and it doesn’t take long for him to become embroiled in a case and a cast of characters who, in their own indirect ways, help guide him towards the destiny that awaits him in a book (hopefully) way down the line.

The Whisperers commences with a brilliantly written and cleverly deceptive chapter set in Baghdad’s Iraq Museum in 2003, wherein looters remove some ancient treasures under the cover of a gun battle between US forces and the Fedayeen. Among the items taken is a box, and in that box is another box, and within that box something ancient waits…

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Simon Strantzas: The Book I Would Like To Be Buried With…

March 22, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Bury Me With This Book, Interviews 

In the first of what hopefully become a regular series, I’ve asked genre authors about the book that has influenced them more than any, the book they’d like to take with them to their grave… first up is Canadian author and tundra-spook Simon Strantzas:

collectedstrangestories“The book I would like to be buried with is such an obvious selection for me that it hardly seems worth the effort to explain. Anyone familiar with my writing might guess the answer, but for those in the dark I suspect I’d most like to be buried with The Collected Strange Stories of Robert Aickman. Aickman didn’t write a lot of fiction over his lifetime, but what he did write continues to fascinate and befuddle those of us who enjoy his work. He dealt with dreamscapes, with symbols and metaphors, and while many of his tales lack a clear explanation for what exactly has occurred in them, they are often like the best of our dreams – at times illogical, yet always adhering to their own internal logic.

collectedstrangestories2Reading Aickman one can’t help but feel that it’s the reader, not the author, who is at fault if things aren’t clear – the tales make sense, one can feel that they do, even if how remains frustratingly elusive. To study these ciphers, to tease out their true meanings, would take eternity, and I suspect, trapped in that coffin beneath the ground, I’d have nothing more to do than put my mind to it once and for all. Imagine: to be the only corpse in the yard who understood Aickman… I wager I’d be the belle of the undead ball that year.”

The first two volume edition of The Collected Strange Stories of Robert Aickman was published by Tartarus Press and Durtro Press in 1999 and is now out of print, but available through several specialist dealers.

More informaton about Robert Aickman can be found at Wikipedia.


Photo © A. Capozzi 2009About Simon Strantzas:

Simon Strantzas is the author of the critically-acclaimed Cold To The Touch (Tartarus Press, 2009), a collection of thirteen tales of the strange and supernatural. His first collection, Beneath The Surface (Humdrumming, 2008) was called “possibly the most important debut short story collection in the genre [in years]. . .” by multiple award-winning editor Stephen Jones. Strantzas’s stories have appeared or are due soon in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Cemetery Dance, Postscripts, and elsewhere. In 2009, his work was nominated for the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction. Current projects include a third collection of short fiction, a novella, and a short novel. He also hopes to one day catch up on a voluminous amount of reading.

He has lived in Toronto, Canada, for his entire life and has no plans on leaving for sunnier climes.

  • Visit Simon’s website
  • Read a recent interview with Simon at Savvy Reader’s Bookshelf

Book review:Apartment 16, by Adam Nevill

March 18, 2010 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Book reviews 

Apartment 16With the exception of a handful of short stories consistently high in quality and spookiness, Adam Nevill’s singular voice has been quiet in the six years since the publication of his debut novel Banquet for the Damned, which was released as a collectable slipcased hardback by PS Publishing, and more recently in paperback format through the lamentably short-lived Virgin Books horror line which Nevill helmed.

Those years of whispering silence have been fruitful as his second novel, Apartment 16 (plus a third, in-progress), have been picked up by publishing giant Pan MacMillan – an occurrence that (hopefully) has all sorts of positive implications for the genre in this country. A BIG UK publisher buying titles by a UK author? Not something that’s happened since, well, since the days of Clive Barker, and before him, Ramsey Campbell and James Herbert (synchronistically Nevill’s stablemate in horror at Pan MacMillan). From that ‘golden age’ and all that’s gone between (most of it not so nice if you’re a UK-based horror fan or writer) to now is a big gap in time, so whether you like it or not, these facts make Apartment 16 an important novel, and Adam Nevill an important writer who, I’m happy to say, establishes his status amongst today’s outstanding creators of speculative horror with Apartment 16.

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Download Horror Reanimated 1:Echoes

August 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News, Stories 

hr-echoesAs the post says, if you go to Horror Reanimated, the blog I run with Joseph D’Lacey and Bill Hussey, you can download a PDF version of the limited edition chapbook we gave away at our readings earlier in the year.

Speculative Fiction Junkie has written a little piece and seems to like it; as does Sharon Ring, who gave it a great review over on Science Fiction and Fantasy Enthusiasts, and Highlander’s Book Reviews.

Let us know what you think!

Book review: Red, by Paul Kane

June 6, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Book reviews 

red-front-cover21Paul Kane’s an author I’ve kept my eye on ever since his short fiction began appearing regularly in the genre small press in the late 1990s. Over the last few years his output has been unnaturally prolific and of a very high standard. This is evidenced by a strong showing on the Long List of the British Fantasy Society’s latest Awards: Kane’s first novel The Afterblight Chronicles: Arrowhead is up for Best Novel; two titles, Reunion, and Red are up for Best Novella, and no less than four of his short stories are up for that particular Award: A Chaos Demon is for Life, Lifelike, The Suicide Room, and Wind Chimes, (which I thought was the outstanding story in the third Bloody Books’ Read by Dawn anthology from last year).

Red is a contemporary take on the classic fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood. Far removed from the quaint childhood we imagine for the little girl in the original tale Rachael Daniels, an aspiring actress, lives in a grey urban environment, just about making a living as a careworker whilst enduring the frustrations she understands will come her way at the onset of her chosen career. Already a little jaded, she’s recently broken up with her boyfriend, and dreads walking the streets after dark as the city is a threatening place wit its hoodies and vast concrete estates, such as the Greenham Estate which is where her favourite client lives, the 80 year old Miss Tilly Brindle. Read more

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