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Book reviews Books Fiction

Only the Broken Remain by Dan Coxon review – ‘weird horror to chill, unnerve and, occasionally, raise a wry smile’

In recent times, fans of literary horror have been treated to a remarkable spate of short story collections that explore the fuzzy boundaries between genres and between worlds. The writers of these books might be considered heirs to the “strange stories” of Robert Aickman or the “dark tales” of Shirley Jackson. The latest addition to this pleasing trend: Dan Coxon’s debut Only the Broken Remain.

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Book reviews Books Non-fiction

BFI Film Classics: Night of the Living Dead review – “No Shelter Will Save Us”

It is perhaps fortuitous that Ben Hervey’s BFI Film Classics: Night of the Living Dead monograph has been republished in 2020. Not only was this the year when we most needed stories about the failure of systems we have trusted implicitly, but it was also the year that The Living Dead, a novel by George A. Romero and Daniel Kraus, was published by Tor Books.

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Book reviews Books Fiction

The Boatman’s Daughter by Andy Davidson review – a southern gothic tale adorned with folklore and witchcraft

The Boatman’s Daughter begins with an epigraph, taken from line two hundred and forty-three of The Tempest. If what’s past is truly prologue, then Shakespeare’s play undoubtedly proves to be the genesis of Andy Davidson’s second novel. But displaced to the bayous of the Deep South, with a gloss of supernatural horror, this tale of power and betrayal undergoes its own transformation, a mutation that seems less the work of charms and baseless visions than of some rough, unhallowed magic. 

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Book reviews Books Fiction

The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor review – ‘frightening apparitions and ever-mounting tension’

“In Chapel Croft, You don’t have to play with fire to get burned…” and so goes the blurb on this thriller laced with supernatural elements, mystery, and horror. The story gets off to a cracking start with a short prologue which the reader later learns to be a flashback.

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Book reviews Books Fiction

Red Hands by Christopher Golden review – ‘Golden clearly has the magic touch’

A family on a day out to celebrate July 4th experiences the unthinkable. 

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Book reviews Books Non-fiction

Masks in Horror Cinema: Eyes Without Faces by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas review

One thing I’m perpetually fascinated by is the concept that we can never truly know other people, even those we might feel close to. All we can ever know is our own experience of their behaviours. We may even be able to predict those behaviours to a reliable, comfortable degree but when those predictions fail – when someone confounds our expectations, acts out of character – then we find this deeply disturbing.

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Book reviews Books Fiction

Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories series gets a superb new addition in Deity

In 2016, Orenda Books published Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories, a mystery shot through with elements of horror. It was one of the first novels to use the conceit of a true crime podcast to inform its structure: the story is told through episode transcripts, with the show’s host, Scott King, acting as narrator.

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Horror Film Horror Film Reviews

The Glass Man review – ‘that’s where the beauty of it lies – the viewer is constantly having to reassess the truth’

Aren’t we all the heroes of our own narratives?

The Glass Man, at last released to the wider public after having been made in 2011, is, thankfully, as box-fresh as it was then – a relevant, eternal and enduring character study delving into the stories we humans can’t help but make up, to make sense of the world. 

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Book reviews Books Fiction

The Unforgetting by Rose Black review – gothic drama delights with its richly-evoked period setting

Rose Black’s debut novel The Unforgetting starts with Lily Bell waking in an unfamiliar room, hearing the sea outside and smelling burnt toast; her dreams of becoming an actress on the Victorian stage are about to come true – or are they?

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Book reviews Books Fiction

Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of the Stapletons by James Lovegrove review – a sequel that struggles to live up to the classic novella

Perhaps the most widely beloved Sherlock Holmes novella, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) holds a unique position in literary history. Its marriage of the gothic and detective fiction makes for a superbly enticing and atmospheric tale, despite even Holmes’s substantive absence for a significant portion. The eponymous hound’s glowing eyes and midnight yowling continue to haunt us. It is, in short, a difficult novel to follow up. In James Lovegrove’s latest pastiche Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of the Stapletons, he attempts precisely this.