Jack Nightingale’s paranormally-soaked adventures subsequent to his debut in Nightfall have been charted already here on Spooky Reads. In both Midnight and Nightmare, the sequels (in order) to Nightfall, the supernaturally-inclined sleuth pounds the streets of London (and other climes) in order to resolve a variety of horrific conundrums. In all books he makes an unwittingly unique and powerful impact on the world in which he inhabits via the manner of an investigative technique that results in a trail of death and destruction.
In this book Nightingale’s back story is set out, and foundations laid for the demonic chaos which is to become all readily intertwined with his future existence. We learn of Jack’s initial position as a CO19 negotiator with the Metropolitan Police, a career dashed in a fit of rage as the suicide of a young child leads him to killing the child’s father, who, it transpires, was responsible for years of abuse of said child.
Exeunt the police force and with two years passed, Nightingale finds himself with night terrors, haunted still by the events the led to his departure from the force. But there’s something else; Jack Nightingale is going to hell. By way, curiously, of a Surrey-based solicitor. Click here to read more.. »
Over the years I’ve found myself naturally drawn to the menacingly foggy, twilight-basked and torpor-mist soaked pages of Victorian-era supernatural literature. That’s the stuff both penned during the period, and also that set in the timeframe but written outside of it. Like a cartoon bear to a unguarded picnic basket, there’s an atavistic pull toward such fictional climes for this horror reader.
There’s good reason for this. Some of the strongest works of dread and gothic fiction came spilling out of this period; from The Beetle to Dracula, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde to Jane Eyre and beyond. And more books than I have space here to mention use the timeframe as one upon which to build a fictional world upon, often to varying degrees of success.
With Sarah Pinborough’s Mayhem, from the very start, I had the strongest sense of an author who had chosen not just this era, but a style of book construction accompanying it, that really did greatest tribute to this category genre of novel. It also empowered the book itself with a most welcome sense of uniqueness. Click here to read more.. »
Woah! Yes, that’s right. Woah! How else can one start a review of a Richard Laymon ‘Beast House’-based book, but with an exclamation. It probably should be an expletive, given Laymon’s predilection for all things excessive, but I’m feeling a little reserved at present, so a simple woah will suffice. So, where to proceed to next, expletives aside, with this review of The Beast House, sequel to the bloody, over-the-top murder and shock-fest cult pulp-horror book The Cellar?
I guess with a simple summation. This book is very different to what one might expect – in regards plot development, that is; the late great-Laymon still goes fruit-loop schlock-horror crazy with everything else. Whereas, from the title, one might expect the titular beasts of the ominous, and genuinely deadly and deranged house in Malcasa Point, California, to start leaping from the prose at earliest opportunity, that’s not precisely the case.
It’s the human characters here that are actually as lethal as the beasts; whilst many spend a great deal of the book positioning to line up meat-grinder style for the various horrifying plot devices, a couple too are responsible for despatching the aforementioned. So it’s not just the beasts, first revealed in The Cellar, which come into play killing us human folks. It’s a human, or two, also. Not in unlikely atypical splatterpunk aplomb. Click here to read more.. »
As a huge fan of James Herbert in my youth, I’ve eagerly ploughed through many of that leading British horror author’s works. From The Rats, through The Fog and The Magic Cottage, Creed and of course Haunted, the book that launched the career of paranormal sceptic investigator David Ash, I always found his works terrifically entertaining, mixing a balance of genuine scares with highly approachable prose and healthy injections of splatterpunk.
So it was with a great deal of excitement that I anticipated the arrival of Ash, the third book that features David Ash, coming just a little shy of two decades after his last outing in The Ghosts of Sleath. Given my enthusiasm for this title, I was slightly concerned when it was delayed by more than a few months, but packed away my qualms and worries and took faith that all would be okay. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Ash is not the book I had hoped to it be, and on reading it I was left quite empty and a little sad that the author allowed this work to be published.
Ash opens with our erstwhile investigator called upon to deal with a matter of utmost secrecy for his associate agency. The goings on here are more than a little cloak and dagger, and the precautions taken to keep things covert raise a few eyebrows. Whisked off by jet to the isolated and looming Comraich Castle in some far-flung corner of Scotland, Ash soon discovers why. Whilst the paranormal entities that haunt the castle are of an undetermined malevolent nature, many of the castle’s inhabitants are not, and are definitely of the uncertainly evil variety. Click here to read more.. »
There are books, and there are books. That is, there are phone directories and there are epic tomes stuffed full of exquisitely crafted text and dutiful tales. And to be clear from the off, The Stand is no phone directory, although the sheer dominance of space it occupies on the bookshelf might make you think otherwise. So what it is about Stephen King’s 1978 horror novel that makes it places it head and shoulders above so many horror books across the decades? Let’s see.
A viral outbreak decimates mankind. Sound familiar, right? In fact just writing those words there makes me think of how clichéd it sounds. How many books, both inside and outside of top 10 lists in the genre have such a summation, either upon their cover, or on press releases issues by marketing departments? Many, I’m quite sure.
But it’s King’s handling of that oh so curious of post-apocalyptic subjects that makes for some at times inspirational, at others horrifying, at others heart-warming, but always guaranteed eye-grabbing and page-turning reading. It’s a book of societal study and intrigue, from a fictional but sturdy analysis of those forces that govern and rule, of law – social and court-house-based – and of religion and spirituality. It’s about the macro and the micro (literally at times) but above all it’s about King weaving a damn fine story. Click here to read more.. »