Today’s Abolisher of Roses review…

… is from Geoff Nelder’s science42fiction blog and is yet another positive one, further consolidating Spectral Press as an imprint to watch…. don’t miss out on this brilliant tale, available from May 9th, but which can be pre-ordered for £3.50UK/£4.50EU/$8US/$12RoW… go here to order via Paypal or contact Simon Marshall-Jones at spectralpress[at]gmail[dot]com.

Some more reviews just in…

The reviews for the forthcoming Spectral Volume II (available May 9th), Gary Fry’s Abolisher of Roses, are now starting to come in, and these are the latest two to land on my virtual desk.

First up is Paul D. Brazill’s review on his You Would Say That, Wouldn’t You site, where the perspicacious Mr. Brazill calls Spectral Press the “… hip indie horror [imprint]…” – read the review here.

Next is Paperback Horror‘s review, which describes Gary’s tale as “… an intense, emotional, and psychologically-challenging read…” and calls Spectral “… as a press to watch, […] delivering yet another incredible piece of short fiction…” You can read the rest of the in-depth review here.

Spectral definitely feels like it’s going places – there are new developments in the works as well, which will be revealed in about a month or two, so keep checking back regularly. Until then, enjoy the reviews!

Spectral I & II reviews….

Today, there’s a pair of reviews posted on Jim McCleod’s Ginger Nuts of Horror site, and feature positive notices of both Gary McMahon’s What They Hear in the Dark and Gary Fry’s forthcoming contribution to Spectral, Abolisher of Roses, which will be published in early May. Jim starts off with…

“… I’m going to say right away that both these chapbooks were stunning pieces of writing, that rise above being mere genre pieces.  These are both top quality writing, by two  talented and gifted writers.  If the other writers that Spectral Press have on their books are even half as good, then they are on to a winner….” – as positive a thumbs up as any I’ve read!

To see what Jim says about the chapbooks, then pop along to the site, which can be accessed here. The rise of Spectral is gaining pace….


Black Static review…

Gary McMahon’s What They Hear in the Dark (otherwise known as Spectral Volume I) has been reviewed by Peter Tennant in the Casenotes section of the latest issue (#22) of TTA Press’ Black Static magazine. In it, Peter calls it “…an impressive debut…” for Spectral and the tale itself is “… a strange and moving story…” and praises “… McMahon’s skill at bending past and present, capturing the stress lines of fractured relationships and damaged people…”… BUT you’ll have to purchase the magazine itself to see what else he says about it. It’s available from here.

Also in issue 22 are stories from future Spectral contributors Alison J. Littlewood (Black Feathers) and Simon Kurt Unsworth (Child), as well as Stephen Volk’s regular Coffinmaker’s Blues column – which makes it WELL worth getting your mitts on!! Do it now!

Two new reviews…

As a good start to my week, I have received two new positive reviews of What They Hear in the Dark, Spectral’s inaugural chapbook publication. The first one is from Stephen Theaker, posted in Theaker’s Quarterly


Becky and Rob have moved into a creepy new home following a family tragedy, one gradually revealed to the reader. The space between them, of things that can’t be said, is mirrored by the space beneath their stairs, a place where nothing can be said. There, Becky feels the presence of someone they both love and miss; Rob feels something more malicious.

This is the first in a series of chapbooks from Spectral Press, sold on a subscription basis, and given that Gary McMahon seems to be an author with a bright future – a bright future of spreading misery and darkness! – this is a very collectable little item.

The story for me suffered a little from the climax being anticipated by a premonitory dream; second time around is in theory more frightening because Rob notices something new, though I was distracted by wondering why he realised it then and not the first time. Logic aside (and where does logic enter into what you notice in a dream anyway?), what he notices at the end is truly shocking, and the story as a whole is moving and quite terrifying. As with “In the Skin” (in Different Skins), McMahon isn’t afraid to write about bad things happening to children, and that gives him the opportunity to hit us where it really hurts.

A handful of minor editing and formatting glitches demonstrate why a series of chapbooks is such a practical, sensible way for a small press to get started. The format echoes – copies, you might even say – that of the successful Nightjar chapbooks: similar cover stylings, lower case titles, and even a title that reminds of Michael Marshall Smith’s successful What Happens When You Wake Up In the Night. You might wonder if there is room in the market for two such similar offerings, but if Spectral continue to produce chapbooks as interesting as this one I’m sure there will be.


The second review is from Morpheus Tales and can be found in their Review Supplement (no. 12),which can be found here (and it can be downloaded for free, too!). This is what Stanley Riiks had to say about it:


Following the murder of their son, Eddie, Rob and Becky decide to renovate a house, to try to take their mind off things, and to give them some time to heal and a project to work on together. But there is a room in the house that is completely empty of noise. The quiet room.

And the parents of the dead child are haunted, and in the quiet room the ghosts come in silence…

McMahon does this kind of story so well it’s quite sickening. How he manages to tug at the heart-strings and draw you in so deeply in the space of a few pages (in this case just twenty two), is nothing short of remarkable.

This is quiet horror in every sense, the theme echoing the contents of the story. Subtlety reins as we watch the characters attempting to deal with their loss, haunted (literally and metaphorically).

This is another haunting story from McMahon that sticks with you long after reading it. One that plays on your mind and touches a sadness inside all of us who have ever lost anyone.

Spectral Press have launched with this stellar title by McMahon, and with only one hundred copies available, I should imagine they will disappear fast. I’d like to see a printed version to see the quality of the finished product (one of the difficulties of reviewing an ebook version), but obviously one of the problems with limited editions prints is availability.

An evocative and compelling story that really gets you in the gut. Powerful and touching, McMahon delves into the true darkness of our hearts.