News and reviews 07:11:2014

"Still Life" © Tim Lebbon/Spectral Press 2013. Artwork © Jim Burns 2013

“Still Life” © Tim Lebbon/Spectral Press 2013. Artwork © Jim Burns 2013

First, there will be a review of Tim Lebbon’s superb novella Still Life in Black Static #43, out very soon. Among other things, Peter Tennant, the reviewer says of it:

“Lebbon has produced a strange and compelling story, beautifully written and with a prevailing mood of hope underlying the surface despair, a tale in which what is not said is almost as important as what is, with so much more suggested than is laid out on the page

The novella is still available in both limited hardback and limited paperback, so secure your copy today!

Jenni’s husband was part of the Road of Souls––his flesh swarmed by ants and pecked by rooks, bones crushed to powder by wheels of dread––and yet she still saw him in the pool.

            The incursion has been and gone, the war is over, and the enemy is in the land, remote and ambiguous.  The village outskirts are guarded by vicious beasts, making escape impossible.  The village itself is controlled by the Finks, human servants to the enemy––brutal, callous, almost untouchable. 

            Everything is less than it was before… time seems to move slower, the population is much denuded, and life itself seems to hold little purpose.  This is not living, it’s existing.

            But in a subjugated population, there is always resistance. 

            For Jenni, the happiest part of this new life is visiting the pool in the woods, seeing her dead husband within, and sharing memories of happier times.  It calms her and makes her feel alive.

            But the resistance comes to her for help. 

            And when her dead husband tells her it is time to fight, Jenni’s life is destined for a shattering change.  

“Tim Lebbon conjures up the horror of a world distorted by fear, distrust, and something unspeakable. With respectful nods to H.P Lovecraft Still Life rubs reality up against nightmares in this compact, engrossing treat.” Muriel Gray





Albio Fay ©2014 Mark Morris/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Ben Baldwin

Albio Fay ©2014 Mark Morris/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Ben Baldwin

Mark Morris’ novella Albion Fay will feature an introduction by none other than the UK’s best horror writer, Adam Nevill. The book itself will be out in April-May next year, and pre-orders will be available soon. In the meantime, you can you drool over that gorgeous Ben Baldwin cover (above).

"Leytonstone" ©Stephen Volk/Spectral Press 2014. Artwork ©Ben Baldwin 2014

“Leytonstone” ©Stephen Volk/Spectral Press 2014. Artwork ©Ben Baldwin 2014

Similarly, Stephen Volk’s Leytonstone novella, which also features a cover by Ben Baldwin and will be out in March 2015, will have an Afterword by novelist, screenwriter and director Stephen Gallagher. If you loved Stephen’s Whitstable then you will absolutely blown away this one, a fictional rendering (based on a true event told by the man himself) of the point which shaped the very young Alfred Hitchcock into the future director we remember and revere. The limited hardback of this one IS on preorder right now- see Paypal buttons below:


£21 UK

£24 EU

$50 US & RoW

Looking forward to hearing from you!

A gallery of future covers….

Today, we thought we’d do something different – present a gallery of covers from future publications…. and so:

The Dancers in the Pines ©2014 Simon Bestwick/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Neil Williams

The Dancers in the Pines ©2014 Simon Bestwick/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Neil Williams

Black Mountain 11: The Dancers in the Pines is the final installment in Simon Bestwick’s monthly serial – the cover has been created by Neil Williams once more, and it’ll be available from Amazon later this week.

"The Hammer of Dr. Valentine" ©2014 John Llewellyn Probert/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Nick Gucker. Layout ©2014 Neil Williams.

“The Hammer of Dr. Valentine” ©2014 John Llewellyn Probert/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Nick Gucker. Layout ©2014 Neil Williams.

Of course, Dr. Valentine will be in the area very soon, and his rather fetching portrait (and those of his victims) features on John Llewellyn Probert’s second expose of his nefarious exploits, The Hammer of Dr. Valentine. Nick Gucker managed to get this one down on paper before narrowly escaping with his life…

The Hammer of Dr. Valentine: limited signed hardback (100 only). 

UK £21

EU £24

USA & Everywhere Else $45

"Leytonstone" ©Stephen Volk/Spectral Press 2014. Artwork ©Ben Baldwin 2014

“Leytonstone” ©Stephen Volk/Spectral Press 2014. Artwork ©Ben Baldwin 2014

And then, Stephen Volk gives us his follow up to the critically-acclaimed Whitstable – Leytonstone, which delves into the incident in Alfred Hitchcock’s childhood which shaped the director he was to become in later life. And it’s being graced by another fantastic Ben Baldwin masterpiece (PLEASE NOTE: TYPOGRAPHICAL LAYOUT WILL BE DIFFERENT IN THE FINAL VERSION).


£21 UK

£24 EU

$50 US & RoW

Then, a paperback edition of the Johnny Mains-edited Back from the Dead will be issued with this fabulous Les Edwards cover:

Terror by Night - cover for Johnny Main's "Back From the Dead". Artwork © 1974/2013 Les Edwards.

Terror by Night – cover for Johnny Main’s “Back From the Dead”. Artwork © 1974/2013 Les Edwards.

And now… for a preview of a book which will be published later in 2015 with another Ben Baldwin cover – Mark Morris’ Albion Fay… feast thy eyes upon this magnificence!

Albio Fay ©2014 Mark Morris/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Ben Baldwin

Albio Fay ©2014 Mark Morris/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Ben Baldwin

Leytonstone: Press release 24:10:2014








"Leytonstone" ©Stephen Volk/Spectral Press 2014. Artwork ©Ben Baldwin 2014

“Leytonstone” ©Stephen Volk/Spectral Press 2014. Artwork ©Ben Baldwin 2014


One evening in 1906 a chubby little boy of seven, son of a London greengrocer, is taken by his father to visit the local police station.

There he suddenly finds himself, inexplicably, locked up for a crime he hasn’t committed – or has he? Blinking into sunlight, traumatized by his overnight stay, he is told by his father the next morning: “Now you know what happens to naughty little boys!” But the incident is the catalyst for a series of events that will scar, and create, the world’s leading Master of Terror in the century to come…


The boy is Alfred Hitchcock.

The story is the gripping and evocative new novella by Stephen Volk, writer of the highly-acclaimed novella Whitstable – which featured Peter Cushing as its central character and was published in 2013 (also by Spectral Press) to coincide with the centenary of the great actor’s death.

Leytonstone – like Whitstable – elevates fact (in this case an anecdote the famous director told repeatedly throughout his life) into resonant and poignant fiction, lifting the veil on not only the innocent and troubled young “Fred” but his emotionally needy mother and a father constantly struggling to do the right thing. But what none of them knows is that, after that fateful night and its consequences, their lives will be changed forever…


As a screenwriter used to creating fear and terror for such directors as William Friedkin and Ken Russell, Stephen Volk has long been fascinated by both Hitchcock’s films and Hitchcock the man. “I wanted to explore what makes a person want to frighten others for a living,” he says. “But I’m all too aware that Hitch was a mass of contradictions, and any absolute ‘truth’ is an elusive beast, as notable recent films have proven. This is my Hitchcock – a scared little boy.”

Whitstable and Leytonstone are parts one and two of Volk’s putative series of thematically related but separate fictions, to be called The Dark Masters Trilogy.


“One of the most provocative and unsettling of contemporary writers” Andy Hedgecock (Asst Fiction Editor,  Interzone)

“A master craftsman” Dark Musings


“A chilling cat-and-mouse tale… Whitstable is a triumph… as fitting a tribute to the man as could be imagined”  Starburst

“Not only a gripping story but a vivid vignette about one of Britain’s best loved actors”  Hellnotes

“I loved Whitstable! It’s a beautiful love letter to a man, a genre, and an era that means so much to those of us of a certain age” – Mick Garris, producer, Masters of Horror

STEPHEN VOLK is best known as the writer of BBC TV’s notorious Halloween “hoax” Ghostwatch, starring Michael Parkinson, which caused outraged viewers to jam the switchboards, and even raised questions in Parliament. He also created the award-winning drama series Afterlife and the recent supernatural mystery film The Awakening starring Rebecca Hall and Dominic West.  His play, The Chapel of Unrest, was presented exclusively for one night only at London’s Bush Theatre starring Jim Broadbent and Reece Shearsmith. His short stories have earned selection in Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Best British Mysteries, and Best British Horror, and he has been a Bram Stoker, British Fantasy and Shirley Jackson Award finalist. He is the author of two short story collections: Dark Corners and Monsters in the Heart – the latter of which won a British Fantasy Award for “Best Collection” in 2014. He has also won a BAFTA.


Cover image by Ben Baldwin

Publication date: March 2015

Available in limited signed and numbered hardback (125 copies), unlimited paperback, and eBook.

Retail: £21UK/£24EU/$50US & RoW


Available from the publishers: Spectral Press, 13 Montgomery Crescent, Bolbeck Park, Milton Keynes, MK15 8PP


£21 UK

£24 EU

$50 US & RoW


(Note: Advance PDF copies for review purposes only available on request, and will be available in a few months)




News 14:07:2014

Spectral Press logoFirst up, notice of a series of interviews with contributors to The Spectral Book of Horror Stories being conducted by award-winning writer and naturally fabulous Australian Angela Slatter, and posted to her blog. The first one, of course, hones in on Mark Morris, the editor of this esteemed volume and is essential reading (as will all the interviews) – you can read it here plus you can pre-order the book on the Paypal buttons below:

£12.50 UK


FCon 2014 Special £10

£15 EU

$30 US & RoW

LEYTONSTONE by Stephen Volk

We have just seen the cover artwork by amazing artist Ben Baldwin for this ‘sequel-but-not-sequel’ to Mr. Volk’s Whitstable from last year… and we shall be teasing the whole thing out over the course of the coming months (we’re good like that). It is scheduled for publication in March/April 2015.

THE HAMMER OF DR. VALENTINE by John Llewellyn Probert

Some of you may be wondering what’s happening to this previously announced novella – well, we have decided to shift publication to Hallowe’en, which we think is far more appropriate for the good doctor’s next appearance than in the middle of summer. John and his lovely wife Kate are in the process of creating a video promo for it, and the cover is being produced by Nick Gucker. Look out for more details soon!

BIG NEWS – 09/05/2014

British Fantasy Awards nomineeIt’s a warm sunny day here at Chateau Spectrale and, to make it even sunnier, it gives us immense pleasure to be able to announce some really BIG news:

Whitstable cover image

Stephen Volk’s highly-acclaimed novella Whitstable, released to coincide with the centenary of Peter Cushing’s birthday last year on 26th May, has been nominated for a British Fantasy Award in the Best Novella category. We here at Spectral are exceptionally thrilled at this – it’s an exceptional piece of work, one which has won praise from all quarters for its emotional depth and sensitivity, and also acclaimed for its brilliant portrayal of the great man himself. We still have copies available in the Spectral Shop (see menu bar at the top of the home page), so why not buy a copy today and see for yourself why this has become one of Spectral’s bestselling titles.

Spectral Press logoWe are ALSO thrilled and excited to announce that, for the third year running, Spectral Press itself has received a nomination in the Best Small Press category of the same Awards. We couldn’t be more pleased with this nomination – once again, it shows that all the hard work we put in here has been more than worthwhile. We are slowly conquering the universe one step at a time.

Another Spectral connection, which I was reminded about, is that the cover artist of Whitstable, Ben Baldwin, has also been nominated in the Best Artist category. Would be great to have a triple whammy! =)


Talking of Stephen Volk, it was announced last week that there was to be a ‘follow-up’ novella from him, Leytonstone, the second volume in the Dark Masters trilogy, all of which will be published by Spectral. We are greatly pleased that Ben Baldwin, creator of the cover artwork for Whitstable, will be bringing his skills to the cover image for the new work. He will also be doing the same for Mark Morris’ Albion Fay novella.

Both novellas will be available next year.

Stephen Volk’s Whitstable: cover revealed!

We here at Spectral Towers have been excited about this particular book for a  long time now, ever Stephen Volk sent us the manuscript earlier this year – it truly is one of the best books we’ve read in a very long time. Imagine, then, how much MORE excited we became when Ben Baldwin, whose artwork has graced many a story in the award-winning Black Static magazine (published by TTA Press), agreed to provide the cover image – and did he ever come through with the goods! So, without further ado, we are immensely proud to present to you the amazing front cover image that will grace Spectral Visions III:

Whitstable cover image

“Whitstable” by Stephen Volk © 2012 Stephen Volk/SpectralPress. Artwork © 2012 Ben Baldwin.

“Peter Cushing was my first hero, and in my opinion Stephen Volk has done something heroic by putting the man who fought onscreen monsters at the heart of a very human drama. Sad, tinged with a palpable sense of loss, beautifully written, and blessed with an unerring eye for crucial detail, Whitstable is a story to savour. If I may be so bold, I’m convinced that Peter Cushing would have approved.” – Gary McMahon

“This will engross and enthrall all Hammer fans and those who adore and revere Cushing. it brings his screen persona vividly to life in a modern context when the monsters are all too real – Tony Earnshaw, author of Beating The Devil: The Making of Night of the Demon and An Actor and a Rare One: Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes

Praise for Stephen Volk:
“One of the most provocative and unsettling of contemporary writers” – Andy Hedgecock (Interzone)
More soon!

Another review of The Eyes of Water surfaces

The Eyes of Water cover image

Another Monday morning, but at least we can start the week off with a review of Alison Littlewood’s Spectral chapbook story, The Eyes of Water. This one is featured in the very latest Morpheus Tales Review Supplement (#18), which is available now.  The review has been written by Stanley Riiks, and can be found on page 6 of said supplement – you can download the issue from here, and best of all it’s FREE! Even better than that, it also contains the latest Ramblings of a Tattooed Head column from Spectral Press captain, Simon Marshall-Jones.

In a small piece of news, we’ve been informed that Alison’s story has also been recommended for a Stoker Award – which we believe is fully deserved. Good luck Alison!


The next Spectral Visions novella will be Stephen Volk’s Whitstable, which will be published around the time of the centenary of the late great actor Peter Cushing’s birth next year (May). It will feature a specially-written Afterword by Mark Morris, and we are also very excited to announce that it will feature a cover by Ben Baldwin.

More details soon!