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Showing posts from June, 2021
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  Frequent ST contributor and all-round literary lioness Helen Grant has a new book out! She has been kind enough to send me a signed copy and I began reading it this very afternoon. I've only read the first three (short) chapters but I can testify that it begins with a wonderful, nightmarish ordeal for her protagonist Fen. But what does Fen have to worry about? She's newly wealthy, has a wonderful fiancĂ©, and has just moved into a picturesque house in rural Scotland. I look forward to finding out just how bad things are... There is a virtual book launch on Facebook tomorrow (Thursday 1st July) at 7pm. Find out more here . 

FINDING YOURSELF IN THE DARK - Concluded

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The last three stories in Steve Duffy's new collection from Sarob cover the last three months of the year. 'The Ice Beneath Us' was not first published in ST, but I had the pleasure of reading it early because it was inspired by an episode of Frasier. If you know the series, it's the ice-fishing one with the cabin on the frozen lake. Suffice to say that this take on that chilly notion does not end with a heartwarming moment. Blood-chilling, yes. It is, I think, the best modern takes on a legend that (not to give too much away) inspired one of the true classics of the genre. 'The Purple-Tinted Window' appeared in ST. On re-reading it remains an economical and moving account of someone faced with impossible choices. A young woman is possessed by a paranormal 'gift' that is of no value. All it does is point the way to her fate at the hands of a brute who wields near absolute power. She becomes an internet bride via the Filipina Dreamgirl agency and leaves

'No Passage Landward' by Steve Duffy

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I've posted this before, but thought it was apt to put it out again. It gives a good flavour of Steve Duffy's new collection, and any deficiencies are down to my reading, not his writing. 

Pariah & Other Stories

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It's been many years since I produced a Supernatural Tales special i.e. a volume of short stories by a single author. However, cover artist and regular contributor Sam Dawson persuaded me to give it another go. So here it is - now available in paperback from the Lulu site. I can vouch for the quality of these stories. They are readable, interesting, intelligent, sometimes funny, more often disturbing. Recommended. Not only is it jam-packed with tales of mystery, horror, and unease, but it's features some excellent black and white illustrations by Sam.  As you can see from the contents page below, it's a substantial collection. I can recommend all these stories. The volume retails for £5.95 plus p&p, and is currently available only as print-on-demand from the Lulu site. 

Fiery Portent

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Kindred Spirit - a new book by Stephen Cashmore

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ST's redoubtable deputy editor and proofreader has a  new book out from Sparsile Press. Find out more at the link, where you can also read some of Stephen's short fiction. I'll be publishing an extract from Kindred Spirit in ST 48. George Viviani has it all, a publishing contract, a feisty mistress and a loving family waiting for him at home. It's a pity he'll be dead before the day is done. But it doesn't stop there. Soon it seems that anyone with a connection to George is experiencing strange and frightening phenomena. Gradually, a widening group of desperate people find themselves drawn together, as they are taken over by a creeping sense of unreality. Events begin to spiral out of control and only one man—Cheyne Tully, ghost hunter—has a chance of discovering the truth before it's too late. Publishing details Sparsile Books, see sparsilebooks.com Order from Waterstones, Foyles, Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble

FINDING YOURSELF IN THE DARK - CONTD (CONTD)

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The next three stories in Steve Duffy's new collection from Sarob Press showcase his versatility rather well. And, as before, each one is fitted to a month, beginning with July and a tale that brings a chill to a summer's day. 'Even Clean Hands Can Do Damage' - yet another brilliant title - was published in ST and offers a new take on an old theme. A bereaved mother meets a medium who tells her that the spirit of her dead daughter is nearby. The medium is not lying. But despite her honest intentions, she does great harm. And it all pivots on something utterly commonplace, a real world incident that we've all noticed in some context at some time. 'A Day at the Hotel Radium' could hardly be more different, at first glance. The time is September, 1939, and millions of Europeans are in motion. Many, such as the main character here, are fleeing. The innocent academic escapes by train to a microstate - not unlike Lichtenstein - where he encounters an old friend. T

FINDING YOURSELF IN THE DARK - CONTD

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We move on to April in Steve Duffy's new collection of month-by-month stories from Saro b. It's a chilly April, though, with no real harbingers of spring. 'The Villa Morozov' is set in Russia at the time of the Revolutionary War, when slaughter and disruption was widespread. In the eponymous house in the woods, it seems winter will never end. And the denizens of the villa go about the business of survival in their own distinctive way. This is a very short, chilling tale with a very effective 'monster', a being that endures despite, perhaps even because of, a general onslaught upon more orthodox traditions. Even further back in time we find 'The Clay Party', a group of pioneers setting out for California in the May of 1846. The story is told from several perspectives - the local newspaper, a search party, a loyal husband's journal, a mother's letter to her daughter. Together they make up a memorable addition to the sub-genre of Western survival ho

FINDING YOURSELF IN THE DARK - Steve Duffy

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This is not so much a running review as an appreciation of a book by a friend. A book in which, as it happens, five of the twelve stories included were previously published in Supernatural Tales, and so they're obviously first-rate. So instead I'll just muse a little on the contents, and follow the author's neat conceit - that each story is set in a different month of the year, beginning in January. The January tale is the suitably wintry 'Chambers of the Heart' (from ST 40, 2019). A sensible woman, rather an Aickmanesque character, is employed by a dodgy character to front a questionable business in the Thatcher's London. An unusual visitor requests a meeting with her employer. When this takes place, a portal to Somewhere Else seems to be opened. As the author makes clear in his notes, this is partly a homage to the long tradition of doors in various walls that lead to unlikely places. As such, it is one of the best modern examples. And it's more, thanks t

Gary Oldman - Touch of Evil

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h/t Steve Duffy

A Book Has Arrived!

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Yes, logo I say!

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  In case anyone is in any doubt as to what they're reading, this will keep them grounded.  Though by 'grounded' I mean mildly amused by a flying skull with glowing eyes.

Logo, you say?

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  Yes! A logo for Supernatural Tales. It's taken a while, but here it is - a somewhat jaunty skull with a go-ahead attitude. Courtesy of Sam Dawson, I think it combines charm with evil and madness in roughly equal proportions.

'The Haunted Organist of Hurly Burly' by Rosa Mulholland

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