New reviews 24:04:2014

Home and Hearth © Angela Slater/Spectral Press. Artwork © Neil Williams 2014

Home and Hearth © Angela Slater/Spectral Press. Artwork © Neil Williams 2014

Yes, we are starting to receive reviews of the latest chapbook from award-winning Australian writer Angela Slatter, entitled Home and Hearth. These have  been uploaded to Goodreads, with one from Mark West (who used to create Spectral’s promotional videos and wrote the chapbook What Gets Left Behind) and one from Ross Warren. Read what they have to say here.

CGS_Qtr cover

Following on from that, we also have a new Goodreads review of the Unsigned Hardback Edition of The Christmas Ghost Stories of Lawrence Gordon Clark, written by Gef Fox (which will also appear on Amazon and the Wagging the Fox blog at a later date). Ypu can read that one right HERE. There are still copies left of this edition as well as of the other editions (please note: there are fewer than 15 left of the Deluxe edition – get yours while you still can!). See details below:



DELUXE EDITION (50 only- 14 left(available May):

Foreword by MARK GATISS

Introduction by TONY EARNSHAW

Seven short stories by M. R. JAMESThe Stalls of Barchester CathedralThe Treasure of Abbot ThomasA Warning to the CuriousThe Ash TreeLost HeartsCasting the RunesCount Magnus, The Signalman.

Exclusive new introductions to each story by LAWRENCE GORDON CLARK

Count Magnus teleplay by BASIL COPPER

Lost Hearts short stage play by LAWRENCE GORDON CLARK



Illustrated with unseen behind the scenes photographs, chapter heading vignettes by Nick Gucker,  as well as examples of storyboards by Lawrence Gordon Clark.


£85 UK

£87 EU

$145 US

UNSIGNED HARDBACK (100 only) (available now):

Foreword by MARK GATISS

Introduction by TONY EARNSHAW

Seven short stories by M. R. JAMESThe Stalls of Barchester CathedralThe Treasure of Abbot ThomasA Warning to the CuriousThe Ash TreeLost HeartsCasting the RunesCount Magnus

Exclusive new introductions to each story by LAWRENCE GORDON CLARK


Illustrated with photographs as well as chapter heading vignettes (by Nick Gucker)


£45 UK

£47 EU

$80 US

PAPERBACK (Unlimited) (available now):

Foreword by MARK GATISS

Introduction by TONY EARNSHAW

Seven short stories by M. R. JAMESThe Stalls of Barchester CathedralThe Treasure of Abbot ThomasA Warning to the CuriousThe Ash TreeLost HeartsCasting the RunesCount Magnus

Exclusive new introductions to each story by LAWRENCE GORDON CLARK


Basic edition – text only plus chapter heading vignettes by Nick Gucker.

PAPERBACK EDITION (unlimited – available now):

£17.50 UK

£19.50 EU

$30 US

New review – 17:04:2013

Creakers front cover by Neil Williams

Today is something of a quiet day here in Spectral Towers, and so here’s a quick link to a new review of Paul Kane’s Creakers – this one’s by Mark West and has been posted to Goodreads. As some of you may remember, Mark is the man responsible for the video book trailers for Spectral. Anyway, enjoy what he has to say about the latest in the chapbook line – you can access it here!

There are still copies left of this, but in very limited supply (fewer than 12 copies) – you can buy them individually at  £4UK/£7.00EU/$16US/$16RoW OR, even better, take out a subscription to the quarterly chapbooks, which will cost you £16UK/£23.50EU /$45US/ $45US RoW  for a year’s worth of issues (4 chapbooks). Visit the Spectral Shop for ordering details!

More reviews soon!

Reviews round-up – 09:01:2013

Midweek again, and here we are with some more reviews of Spectral output:

The 13 Ghosts of Christmas cover image

First up is Gef Fox’s review of The 13 Ghosts of Christmas – this one was posted to Goodreads but will also appear on his blog Wag the Fox on 18th January. The review is here.

The Way of the Leaves cover image

Goodreads is also the place where Ross Warren chose to review the latest in the Spectral series of chapbooks, David Tallerman’s The Way of the Leaves – that one can be found right here.

Another review of the chapbook has just been posted to KM Lockwood’s The Wedding Ghost blog – to read what she thought of the eighth entry in series of short stories, just go here.


Yesterday, we posted an apologetic blog about how the paperback edition of The 13 Ghosts of Christmas wouldn’t arrive here at Spectral Towers until next week – well, late last night we were told that the books had already been printed and shipped out. We are awaiting delivery which should (theoretically) be today. As soon as they reach us they’ll be packaged up and sent out to purchasers. Thanks for everyone’s patience!

Onward and upwards!

New Year review roundup

Spectral Press logoThree days into 2013 and already there are some reviews of Spectral books to talk about, so without dilly-dallying we shall get straight into it:

The 13 Ghosts of Christmas cover image

First up is a review of The 13 Ghosts of Christmas from reader Ross Warren over at Goodreads, which you can read by clicking on the link.

What Gets Left Behind cover image

Paul Brazill, also at Goodreads, gives us his assessment of Mark West’s chapbook story, What Gets Left Behind –  you can read that one here.

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine cover image

And finally, Matthew Fryer of Welcome to the Hellforge has made John Llewellyn Probert’s The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine one of his favourite novels/novellas of 2012 – you can read what he thought of it here.

Additionally, Jim McLeod of the Ginger Nuts of Horror blog announced his Horror Discovery of the Year, and it is no less a writer than Dr. Valentine himself, John Llewellyn Probert – read his blog entry here. Jim also cites The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine as his favourite novella of the year.

So there you have it – a really great start to the New Year. But it doesn’t stop there – more reviews soon, so onward and upwards!

11:12:2012 – more reviews

And so, on this misty and crisply frosty Tuesday morning (looks like winter is here at last), we are thrilled to bring you two more reviews of recent Spectral publications:

The Way of the Leaves cover image

First, Mark West takes a look at David Tallerman’s chapbook story The Way of the Leaves and reports his findings on Goodreads. As it’s a short review, I reproduce it here in full:

“Two children – the narrator and his friend Charlotte – love reading and, ostracised by the other kids in the village, begin to escape on walks, to find somewhere quiet where they can read in peace. On one such adventure they discover the barrow, a hill upon a hill, a wondrous and mysterious place that piques their curiosity. That night, they go back to explore it but even though they have torches and supplies, Charlotte disappears and can’t be found. This is volume 8 of the Spectral Press chapbook line – for which I have a real fondness – and it’s great to see the marque not only maintaining but improving on its level of quality (both the story and its presentation). The winner of the This Is Horror/Spectral Press short story competition, this is very good indeed, creepy and atmospheric, claustrophobic and quite terrifying at times, with believable child characters and a nice sense of history repeating itself. Combine that with some excellent turns of phrase “my legs were soft as rotten peaches”, great characterisation and a good pace and this is a real winner. Highly recommended.”

The 13 Ghosts of Christmas cover image

Next up is Serendipity Reviews assessment of The 13 Ghosts of Christmas, the first in what is hoped to be a revival of an old tradition – a yearly volume of midwinter spooky ghost tales,to be read aloud to a group of celebrants on Christmas Eve (preferably in front of a roaring log fire, with a glass of port in hand and the faithful hound sleeping on a cosy rug by the grate). Anyway, if you want to know whether the thirteen stories in this collection achieved what they set out to do, then go here to read the write-up.

More reviews coming soon – onwards and upwards!

What Gets Left Behind: first thoughts

What Gets Left Behind cover image

What Gets Left Behind by Mark West, the latest chapbook from Spectral Press, gets its first review, and it also continues the tradition of Jim McLeod being amongst the first to air his reviews on Spectral output. Mark’s tale is very much grounded in the everyday reality of a specific time and place, yet the concerns of the main protagonist Mike are very universal and will be familiar to all. To read what Jim thought about What Gets Left Behind please go here.

The Respectable Face of Tyranny cover image

We also have another review for you to read, but this time the focus is Gary Fry’s Spectral Visions novella The Respectable Face of Tyranny, which (with the kind permission of Graeme Reynolds, who wrote it and uploaded it to GoodReads) we reproduce in full below:

“Spectral Press are fast becoming major players in the world of horror fiction. Their limited edition chapbooks are beautifully presented collectors editions, containing stories that disturb and challenge the readers perceptions in equal measure. It was with a fair amount of excitement that I started reading their first novella length work – The Respectable Face of Tyranny by Gary Fry.

Josh is struggling to cope with his life. The economic downturn led to him losing his high paying job, his expensive home and his wife. To try and get himself back on his feet he moves into a caravan near Whitby with his teenage daughter, where he spends his time caring for his ailing mother and walking through the surrounding countryside, to try and make some sense of where his life went wrong. Before long he starts to see apparitions above the bay at night, and comes across strange carvings on the beach. Is he catching a glimpse of something ancient and terrifying, or have his recent troubles brought on the same dementia that claimed his invalid mother?

This is a very introspective piece of work. Gary Fry is quite obviously very familiar with Whitby and the surrounding area, and describes not only the town and its surroundings, but the people that live there in a level of detail that was quite astonishing. I’m not sure if I can remember reading anything recently that evoked such clear mental images for me. Similarly, the characters of Josh and Sally, his daughter, are beautifully drawn, to the extent that they were very real to me right from the start. Against this vivid backdrop, the insidious cosmic horrors that Josh has to contend with also become very real.

The Respectable Face of Tyranny is a slow paced and measured novella, that takes its time in painting a vivid picture and building the terror of both the creatures that Josh encounters and his own fear of losing his mind.

Very highly recommended for those that want something a little deeper and disturbing than the average horror story.

4 out of 5 stars.”

More reviews soon!

A Brace of Reviews

Spectral LogoAfter the excitement of yesterday’s cover reveal for John Llewellyn Probert’s The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine, normal service is now resumed with news of a whole clutch of reviews we’ve received recently, no less than four in fact. So, without further ado, let’s get stuck into telling you about them.

First up is Alan Kelly’s review of The Respectable Face of Tyranny by Gary Fry,  published in his monthly column in the venerable Rue Morgue magazine. You can read it here, along with reviews of Joe & Me by David Moody (published by This Is Horror, for which I am the line’s Senior Editor) and Lee Thomas’ Torn (Cemetery Dance).

There ‘s another review of Gary’s Spectral Visions novella on page 25 of this quarter’s Morpheus Tales Review Supplement (#17), along with the latest instalment of my column, ‘Ramblings of a Tattooed Head’. It’s FREE to download, and you can do so from here.

Following on from that, here’s a review of Simon Kurt Unsworth’s Rough Music, Volume V in the chapbook series which came out in March this year. This one’s from Clare Allington, posted in the Clare’s Crypt section of the Snakebite Horror review blog – did she think it was a hormonious or discordant production? Find out here.

Finally, we have a reader review, posted to Goodreads, of Alison Littlewood’s The Eyes of Water. This was kindly written and uploaded by Tim James who,we should declare, is a good friend of ours from our Plymouth days. Nevertheless, we can say that he’s a very well read gentleman, and that he knows a thing or two about good books. Here’s the review he posted.

More soon!

Rough Music: Reader’s Review #2

Rough Music by Simon Kurt Unsworth

There are two things that amaze us here at Spectral Towers: first, that Spectral is truly an international imprint and, secondly, that readers appreciate what we’re trying to do and often set about reviewing the stories we publish. This Reader’s Review fits the above to a tee, as Riju Ganguly, the reader in question, is from Gujarat in India – here’s his review:

“I had received this book today, in somewhat “out-of-shape” condition. I promised to myself that I have to ‘straighten’ out the book physically, before I dive. And then, returning to an empty house after the office-hours (wife & daughter not here right now), it seemed most natural that I should pick up this slim volume and, you know, take a quick look and then change, have dinner, etc. etc. Naturally, Simon Kurt Unsworth’s compelling proce caught me by the rough of my neck, and dragged me across the pages. Shame on you SKU! You didn’t even allow me to have my customary tea, before this terrifying story of rage, love, exploitation, half-hearted attempt at redemption, and eventual retribution & loss, was over.

The story is about Cornish. He is, as we get to know, not a nice man. Every night, at around 03-00 hours, he is awakened from sleep by a group of people who create tremendous noise, while wearing masks and standing outside his house. Somehow this noise is not heard by anyone else. And then Cornish watches a curious drama being enacted by these people in front of his house, night-after-night unfolding newer acts & actions, and eventually…

Read this book. I don’t know whether Spectral Press still has any copies left or not (they publish these exquisite chapbooks in highly limited editions), but Cold Tonnage or Fantastic can be helpful. This is top-notch stuff, from the pen of one of the best story-tellers of our time. Highly recommended.”

Riju gave Simon’s chapbook 5 stars on Goodreads – here’s the link to the Goodreads review.

(Unfortunately, this chapbook is completely sold out and unavailable from anywhere else – sorry!)