A bumper selection of review to browse through today, so let’s get down to it straightaway with the first one:
This one is the latest for Stephen Volk’s Whitstable, courtesy of The Zone – thanks to Tom Johnstone for the write-up! You’ll find it right here.
PLEASE NOTE: there are now just THREE copies of the limited signed and numbered hardback left – those wanting a copy should get to the Spectral Shop NOW to secure their copy before they all go. The book will NOT be reprinted in this format again!
Paul Feeney has been a regular supporter of Spectral Press since its launch nearly 2 1/2 years ago, and he posts mini-reviews on Facebook after reading each publication. The reviews below are of the latest three chapbooks:
“OK, number 7 in the Spectral Press chapbook series.
Mike returns to the town he grew up in through the 70’s and 80’s, hoping to lay some personal ghosts to rest, and finally say goodbye to his childhood friend Geoff.
It’s a well written story, with some nice touches and clear descriptions and dialogue. The structure is essentially the tale from the past, bookended with passages form the present. Whilst it’s pretty clear what is probably going to happen, more so towards the end, and thus slightly robs the story of some of the surprise, the telling is fine. There are also a few nice creepy moments in the finale, that really get the hairs standing up.
There was something I just didn’t engage with in the story and it took me two reads to figure it out. It doesn’t feel long enough. This is an entirely personal thing for me, because I love the sense of nostalgia this sort of story can conjure, especially when it’s well done and I felt this was where the story most came alive.It just should have been more. For me, it needed more immersion in the past, in order to resonate more with the present. But that’s my perception, not a failing of the writing.
As always, the book itself is lovingly created, and is a nice addition to the Spectral line up. I look forward to more from Mark.”
“And on to Spectral chapbook number 8.
Two lonely youngsters, who have become drawn to each other through their similar natures, spend their time exploring the woods around their village. They come upon a barrow (old burial mound) and what happens there sets in chain events that will affect them forever.
Great atmospheric story. It’s extremely well written and the narrative flowed very well. Tallerman has the enviable ability to draw a full canvas from only a few words, to create powerful images with minimal description. I found the setting very evocative and there was something ancient and timeless about it (not just because of the subject).
There’s a strong sense of foreboding throughout, a feeling of sad and tragic inevitability. although it’s not really about scares as such, there is room for a couple of nice little creepy moments, such as when the kids are crawling into the entrance to the barrow, at night, in near dark… However, it’s all about the overall atmosphere, which is maintained throughout the tale.
Another solid entry in the Spectral line-up.”
“Number 9 in the Spectral chapbook series (yay, I’m now up to date! :-D).
Ray’s mother has passed away and it’s his ‘happy’ task to clean up her home to sell on. However, while he’s staying there, odd sounds and strange visions assault him…the ominous ‘creaking’ sound.
OK, I may be picking this up wrong, but I found this to be quite an amusing tale, despite the dark undertones that pop up as it progresses. When the first round of ‘creaks’ start to sound, I was chuckling away to myself and the prose was light and amusing. Or so it seemed to me. Maybe I was picking it up wrong. I hope not. Of course, this light tone doesn’t last and soon there are hints of darker goings on.I found the story moved easily between these different tones and in fact, the lighter moments helped to define more clearly the darker turns. I really hope this was deliberate.There’s some very solid writing on display here and each reveal is handled deftly and with subtle ease.
A great story and a name I’ll have to look out for in the future. I only hope the parts I found humorous were intentional…”
Many thanks to Paul for taking the time to write these!
More reviews soon!