Dead Bad Things is a fierce and primal supernatural novel. Brutalist horror writer Gary McMahon has succeeded not only in gestating further the furtive world he seeded in its prequel, Pretty Little Dead Things, but has also excelled in exuding a sense of menace and threat rarely seen in paranormal fiction.
But be under no illusion, this is bleak stuff. Black stuff. Chose a metaphor: chiselled from onyx, painted on pitch canvas, cut from darkest cloth; any are suitable. I don’t normally care for my horror to be so perpetually gnashing, unless it really is doing something special. Books from the dread literature canon that have awed others with their decadent flourish, such as Exquisite Corpse or The Seven Days of Peter Crumb, left me fairly ambivalent as I felt they over-played their more traumatic aspects to their detriment. Click here to read more.. »
Thomas Usher sees dead people; for the more cynical out there this could mean any number of things. It could mean an author scraping the barrel of ideas, it could mean a clich├ęd ghost book that brings nothing new to the game, or it could be a writer daring to engage an oft-used and familiar genre topic in a unique and involved manner.
Luckily for the reader, Gary McMahon’s Pretty Little Dead Things is an exercise in tackling what might be well-covered territory, in both screen and paper-based fiction, but it’s one that’s pulled off with some accomplishment. The result is a chilling, sometimes thrilling, but often reflective and rewarding delve into the arena of supernatural horror fiction. Click here to read more.. »
Only the awarding of a Blue Peter badge can normally get me as excited as I am right now. You see, the shortlist for the BFS Fantasy Awards 2011 was released a short while ago, and it’s a giddy time for our beloved genre. Whilst it’s great indeed to see strong books, authors and tales being deservedly nominated, it’s still more than compelling to see who will walk away a winner in the various categories. So, down to business.
The five nominations for best novel, for the August Derleth fantasy award, are: Adam Nevill’s Apartment 16, Sam Stone’s Demon Dance, Tom Fletcher’s The Leaping, Gary McMahon’s Pretty Little Dead Things and Graham Joyce’s The Silent Land. I’ve not yet read Demon Dance, so I can’t pass comment, but a review of Pretty Little Dead things will be forthcoming later this week. I am scared to say which I prefer to win for fear of jinxing it, but I wish all nominees the best of luck. Click here to read more.. »
I love Brutalist architecture. Whilst many find the style cold, hard, and aggressive, I’ve always found it comfortingly progressive, exciting and daring to be different from the norm. Encompassing buildings such as the Trellick Tower and Royal Festival Hall, whether or not it’s your cup of tea, you can’t say the Brutalist movement has an inappropriate name.
Gary McMahon’s The Concrete Grove is a Brutalist horror novel. I’m not just referring to Le Corbusier’s terminology for the ‘concrete’ often used in this building style, that forms part of the book’s title. This book is hard, and at times given its subject matter it’s also veering toward the ugly, but it stands out strongly from the pack and grabs your attention. Click here to read more.. »