Friday, 4 September 2015


BOOK REC': For those, like me, who read Islington Crocodiles many years ago and have been waiting for Paul Meloy's first novel, well, the wait is almost over as The Night Clock is published in about eight weeks. I've been lucky enough to read the manuscript and thought . . .

"To write in such detail about life’s potential for awfulness, and some of the awful people in it - all of the frustration, pettiness, unfairness, injustice, wretchedness, and tragedy - while constantly b...ringing the reader close to a mad, ecstatic, life affirming laugh, is a rare skill. So how do you entwine humour and tragedy without one detracting from the other? Ask Paul Meloy, because he’s done it in The Night Clock.

There is so much to admire about The Night Clock – the poetry that seems to map the subconscious, the ideas, the forensic insight into everything from our foibles to the outright tragedy of being human. I love the way Paul Meloy sees the world and writes about it."


Monday, 24 August 2015


Recently my life tried to become an M R James story, but I was saved by a morass of nettles and blackberry vines.
Part One (the true bit): I was in the Torquay Museum a while back with my little one, and as I checked out the prehistoric Torbay section, I came across a cabinet displaying human bones from a 5000 year old passage grave. The location of the grave is specified as being situated a few hundred metres from our house, and 300 metres behind Broadsands Beach (on an ar...ea of farmland arranged around a wooded hill, with Brunel's viaducts on either side). I did a double take at the display, then asked a member of staff if the grave was still there. A book was produced from a back room, and I felt like I'd waited my whole life for that moment: consulting with a museum curator on ancient ruins.
The grave was not listed in the book. But, a few days later, I was assured by a lifeguard on the nearby beach that it was still there. And though it was getting late, during my evening walk, I decided to beat a path up the hill to find the grave site ...

Part Two (still true): I climbed over a fence behind the beach huts and slowly made my way through 20 feet of brambles and reeds, then climbed the steep hill, scattering pheasants from the edge of the wheat field. I spent over an hour exploring seven fields divided by old, half-collapsed stone walls. The fields surrounded an eerie copse of trees on the summit, which reminded me of the M R James Wailing Well story; there was a large drinking trough for cattle set inside in a c...urious circle of trees. The stillness and silence up there was remarkable, as were the views of the bay below. Besides the antlike figures of the keep fit class, I saw nothing moving below the hill the whole time I was up there.

I eventually found the site of the grave, but the stones were entirely covered in nettles and vines ... Anti clmax, but I'll go back in the winter when the foliage recedes to get a decent picture. And yet, allow me to continue the story, but in my imagination ...

Part Three (speculative): But here's what began running through my imagination while I was up on that hill, entirely alone as the sun lowered in the sky. It might also be the conclusion to the story that you all wished for (and I don't blame you). But I imagined the final part of this tale appearing in some kind of report:

"The sole eye witness was a man taking part in an exercise class on the beach, some 300 metres away from the incident, but facing the hill. After hearing ...a short, shrill cry from the top of hill behind the beach, the witness looked up. With the setting sun in his eyes, he couldn't be certain of what then occurred on the south-facing slope, but was sure that he saw a man break from the copse of trees on the summit and run down the hill, towards the viaduct. The running man was then followed by a second figure, that also emerged from the treeline upon the summit. This second figure was described as being of a dark colour, small, and bone-thin, while also giving the appearance of being unclothed.
At the very moment when the second, smaller figure seemed to catch up with the running man, the witness lost sight of the two figures within the wheat. There followed one more cry from the hill, though it was muted as if the mouth that issued the cry had been covered or blocked.
The remains of the local man, reported missing since last Wednesday evening, were found within the semi-collapsed, megalithic, chambered tomb, on the far side of the hill."

I feel a longer story coming on (not my pics below, but those taken by local historians many years ago).


Thursday, 13 August 2015


If any genre fiction bloggers and genre websites (inc' science fiction and thriller review sites) would like a review copy of my forthcoming novel LOST GIRL, can you email me at and I'll compile a list for the publicist at Pan Macmillan. Proven review sites only, I'm afraid.

There is a stipulation that reviews only appear around the week of October 19th. Hard copies will emerge closer to the publication date, but this advance copy is a downloadable eBook. And that's ready to go out now.

Thursday, 6 August 2015


FILM REC' - ACROSS THE RIVER. Micro-budget Italian film, but my favourite amongst the recent horrors I've watched, including IT FOLLOWS & BABADOOK (both of which I enjoyed). This film had an interesting set-up (ecologist alone in the woods) and deployed an inventive use of found footage/recording tech'. There are evocative locations, and the supernormal aspects never felt forced for the best part; they just seemed to appear as a natural consequence of the situation, which I really admired.

To my taste, a couple of scenes pushed the envelope harder than was necessary towards the end (less is more) but that strangeness of a place abandoned in the midst of its past life created a very strange quality. Also a good depiction of isolation, which always rings my bell. Comparisons to BLAIR WITCH' are inevitable. Also reminded me of REC & DARK WATER (original) in tone and some imagery. So, if you dug "the feel" of those you may dig this.
Now, the cover of the DVD, in my opinion, is a spoiler/soiler. So if you check this out, don't look at the cover ... be creative! For this reason, I am posting stills from the main set ...
Good spot by Paul M. Feeney, who reviews films for Gingernuts of Horror - thanks for the rec', Paul! Best three quid I've spent in a while.

Thursday, 30 July 2015


From the JJLA press release:

Wayne Brookes, Publishing Director of Pan Macmillan in London, has concluded a World Rights deal for the next supernatural thriller by British author Adam Nevill with agent John Jarrold.  The book, presently untitled, will be delivered in November and published in hardback early in 2017.
Adam Nevill’s novels APARTMENT 16, THE RITUAL and LAST DAYS (which both won the August Derleth Award for Best Novel),  HOUSE OF SMALL SHADOWS and NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE  have been published very successfully by Pan Macmillan, with LOST GIRL already delivered for publication in October 2015.
Wayne Brookes said: ‘I couldn’t be happier to take the helm and preside over Adam Nevill’s brand new chiller at Pan Macmillan. I’ve known this wonderful author for a long time and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. It takes a special type of writer to send shivers down a reader’s spine and Adam does this and more. A remarkable talent.’


"Nevill writes with a convincing contemporary verisimilitude, and a sense of care for his characters that is sadly all too often lacking in contemporary horror, and that makes you feel their every shudder, grieve their every loss, and strive for their every triumph.

In the small careful nuances of his story, Nevill makes you believe, and believe utterly what is happening to his characters — both in their inner lives, and the extreme conditions they are suffering.

The story begins when a group of old friends take a wrong turn in a deep, dark Scandinavian forest. Not so bad at first, but it’s rainy, foggy, dank, and hard. The bonds that tie them together are gradually fraying as the physical conditions harden and lock around them, and they have few options to get out of the forest safe and sound."


Tuesday, 28 July 2015


Not entirely sure how House of Leaves or The Lottery are underrated, or how the list is compiled, or who it's aimed at, but I'm delighted to see a well-thumbed copy of The Ritual appear here. The book seems to have a viral quality online and has appeared in half a dozen of these lists over the last few years. So long may it slither through the undergrowth, with only the tips of its horns visible. If these nominations continue, one day it may even stand tall on its hind legs, red-eyed and snorting, its muzzle drenched in gore ...