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!

News and reviews 14:01:2014

It’s a beautifully sunny but frosty morning here in the grounds of Château Spectrale, and we will celebrate by telling you of some recent reviews which have come our way:

"Ghosts" © Paul Kane/Spectral Press 2013. Artwork © Edward Miller 2007 - 2013.

“Ghosts” © Paul Kane/Spectral Press 2013. Artwork © Edward Miller 2007 – 2013.

First, we have a write-up of our two latest books, Tim Lebbon’s Still Life novella and Paul Kane’s Ghosts collection – this one appears on Anthony Watson’s Dark Musings blog, and clicking here will take you right to it.

Whitstable cover image

Whitstable by Stephen Volk continues to make waves, and to underline that here’s another review of this fantastic book – this one is from Peter Tennant, the reviewer over at extremely well-respected genre magazine Black Static, which was originally published in issue 34 and now appears on Peter’s personal blog. You can read that one by going here.


It has been decided that Simon Bestwick’s chapbook, The Judgement Call, will be published this December. This is mainly due to the fact that it’s a Christmas tale, so this year, Christmas Ghost Story lovers are going to be spoiled: you’ll be getting Simon’s chapbook, Paul Finch’s Sparrowhawk special edition hardback, Ray Cluley’s Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow novellette and, of course, the 2014 edition of The 13 Ghosts of Christmas. Lots to look forward to.

Also, all those who have recently purchased books from us: apologies for the delay in sending them out! We’re still in the process of unpacking all the boxes after our recent relocation – we promise to dispatch them as soon as we are able to. Thanks for your patience!

Black Static gets all soulful

Soul Masque by Terry Grimwood. © 2013 Terry Grimwood. Cover concept ©  2013 Neil Williams/Spectral Press. All rights reserved.

Soul Masque by Terry Grimwood. © 2013 Terry Grimwood. Cover concept © 2013 Neil Williams/Spectral Press. All rights reserved.

One of the go-to genre magazines in the UK is Black Static, from the people who brought you Interzone , one of the longest-established science fiction magazines in the world. Black Static is definitely set to follow in its hallowed footsteps, and one of the first sections many go to is the reviews, headed by Peter Tennant.

In the latest issue (#37), he reviews Terry Grimwood’s Soul Masque chapbook from Spectral Press and, in part, this is what he thought of it:

“What is interesting here, challenging even, is that the author gives us a picture of people fighting in a heavenly cause, but at the behest of an agency that adopts methods most of us will find dubious. People into drugs and kinky sex, career criminals, are all coerced into fighting the good fight, angels with more than dirty faces. Each character has the potential for good, but that ability has been warped, replaced with a pain that can only be relieved through action, and the Singer exploits their weakness. The writer appears to be implying not only that conflict corrupts, however noble the cause, but also that the ‘corrupt’ and malleably weak can be the most effective when it comes to waging war, though hand in glove with this he cleverly introduces a note of ambiguity as to who the real monsters are in this scenario.”

He concludes by saying:

“Add to this the novel method of telling, the terse but lyrical language, the scenes of mayhem that punctuate the narrative, and it may well be the author’s best story yet. I loved it.”

Check out the latest Black Static for the full review – available from TTA Press.

New reviews – 22:07:2013

Whitstable cover image

Here we are on a Monday morning yet again and yes, we have more reviews to tell you about. Stephen Volk’s Whitstable is still attracting great notices, and we have two to tell you about today:

The first one is from The Horror Hothouse and Simon Ball is the man responsible for the review – you can read that one by clicking here.

The second write-up is from author S. P. Miskowski on her Shock Room blog and her thoughts on the novella can be found here.







The 13 Ghosts of Christmas cover image


So what, you may rightly wonder, are we doing talking about this anthology in July? Well, Peter Tennant of Black Static has just published a great review of the book in that magazine’s Casenotes review section, which ends with these immortal words:

“Let’s hope this festive fiction bonanza becomes a regular seasonal stocking filler, as I’m getting really tired of those navy blue socks sent to me every year by friends with good intentions but lousy taste.”

We think that says it all!

(By the way, we still have plenty of paperback copies of this book – why not get in early and buy yourself (or a friend/relative)  a copy to prepare yourself for this year’s tome of festive frights? Purchasing details and links can be found in the Spectral Shop, which can be found as the last item on the menu bar above!)

New reviews – 21:05:2013

We haven’t posted any reviews for a while now, so let’s rectify that by telling you about two of them that have landed on Spectral’s virtual desk within the last week or so. They’re both from Black Static #34 and, as usual, have both been written by Peter Tennant. In order to read the full reviews then may we suggest getting hold of a copy of this superb magazine! You certainly won’t regret it…

Whitstable cover image

The first one is of Stephen Volk’s Whitstable, and Peter concludes his write-up by saying:

“At the heart of this novella is a subtle and beautifully realised portrayal of the power of fiction in our lives, for better or worse, and in Cushing himself we see a man who embodies that principle in all its pleasurable ambiguity. With the possible exception of his wonderful story ‘After the Ape’, Whitstable is Stephen Volk’s best work to date, and I loved it.”

Creakers front cover by Neil Williams

Next is his views on Paul Kane’s Creakers, of which he says:

“This is well done, with some nice spectral effects to disturb the reader, such as the invasion of insects and the phantom lovemaking in Ray’s mother’s bedroom. The characters are competently drawn, with Ray’s troubled past put over effectively by suggestion, and his burgeoning romance with amiable neighbour Pam convincingly rendered. “

There are still some reviews to come in, so more soon!

A Spectral Miscellany

The Respectable Face of Tyranny cover image

For the first post of the week, we bring you a selection of this, that and the other, including the latest quote, some reviews and a bit of news. Let’s start with that quote, concerning the very first Spectral Visions novella:

“Like a jam session between Billy Bragg and H P Lovecraft or a mash-up of Rage Against the Machine and Algernon Blackwood, Gary Fry’s The Respectable Face of Tyranny is a radical — and remarkably successful — marriage of socio-economic outrage and Cosmic Horror.” — Peter Atkins (Screenwriter, Hellraiser II, III, & IV, Wishmaster and author of MorningstarBig Thunder Moontown)

We couldn’t have asked for a better quote from such an eminent fellow!

Staying with The Respectable Face of Tyranny, there’s a review of the novella in the new issue (#29) of Black Static magazine. Peter Tennant, the reviewer says of it:

“This is the finest work I’ve seen from Gary Fry, a story in which he blends numerous concerns about the plight of our world and dresses them all up in reinvented horror tropes, with the world’s financial systems personified as Cthulhuesque entities, a splendidly effective and apt metaphor.”

There are still paperback copies of this book available from us here at Spectral Towers, but in limited quantities – contact us at for more details and how to order.

Peter Tennant also reviewed Simon Kurt Unsworth’s Rough Music and Alison Littlewood’s The Eyes of Water in the same issue. Of Rough Music he opined:

“With echoes of The Wicker Man in the masked revellers who appear nightly on The Green, this is a subtle and effective story about the workings of guilt, one that perhaps has more in common with Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ as [the] poor [protagonist] is tormented past any point of return.”

And this is part of what he said about Alison’s tale:

“[The Eyes of Water] is a beautifully realised story, with Littlewood bringing the Mexican setting to vivid life, a world of jungles and underwater caves, and also a place where the old rituals are deeply rooted, only hidden by a veneer of Christianity and civilisation.”

If you wish to read the reviews in their entirety, then please pick up a copy of the latest issue, available from TTA Press.

Finally, a snippet of news:  John Llewllyn Probert’s magnificent and gruesomely outrageous homage to the cinematic legacy of the late Vincent Price, The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine, will be up for pre-order tomorrow. There will be two price points: one for those attending FantasyCon 2012 (where it’s being officially launched so people can pick their copies up in person) and the other for those who aren’t (book price + p&p). This is the best way of securing a copy plus for those attending this event and no doubt John can be persuaded to personalise your copy while there. There will also be a free poster of the front cover image for those attending the launch, as well as free wine. Plus, there will almost certainly be an impromptu performance of select passages from the book in addition…. that’s definitely something to look forward to!

Anyway, that’s all for now, so onwards and upwards!

Black Static visits Nowhere Hall: a review

Yes, Cate Gardner’s Nowhere Hall has been out for a while now, but the fine reviewer at Black Static magazine, Peter Tennant, has been saving a few things by this excellent writer so he could review them all at once. And so, in the latest issue of the magazine (#27), Peter reviews not just Cate’s chapbook, but also two of her recent novellas, Barbed Wire Hearts (Delirium) and Theatre of Curious Acts (Hadley Rille Books), both of which are eminently worth getting hold of.  As he writes so eloquently of Cate, she is indeed in a “genre of one”.

Getting to the main point here, however, Peter says of Nowhere Hall:

“It’s almost a stream of consciousness ghost story, if there can be such a thing, with events bleeding into each other and surreal imagery (e.g. Death as a man with an umbrella), not a word wasted and imagery laden with meaning, so that you almost instantly want to read the work again and pick up on all the things you missed first time around, and then again after that, with the assurance that there will always be something new waiting to be discovered.”

Further, Peter also says:

“It is a tale that is as unique as it is eminently readable, the ghost story as something strangely beautiful and beautifully strange.”

However, if you want to read what else Peter says about Nowhere Hall, as well as Barbed Wire Hearts  and Theatre of Curious Acts, then you’ll just have to hunt down a copy of Black Static #27, which is published by TTA Press.

More reviews soon!!

Awards news: What They Hear in the Dark receives accolade

A great day for Spectral or, more specifically, Gary McMahon, as his Spectral chapbook, What They Hear in the Dark, was awarded the Chapbook of the Year accolade in the inaugural This Is Horror Awards. Also, another (future) Spectral chapbook author, Simon Bestwick, was runner-up in the same category with Angels of the Silences (Pendragon Press). Congratulations to both Gary and Simon!! Here’s the link to the announcement.

Additionally, Peter Tennant of Black Static Magazine gave an Honourable Mention to Gary’s chapbook in his year-end review, aka Pete’s Picks of 2011. You can find out what else he recommended by going here. Once again, kudos to Gary!!

King Death by Paul Finch: the first reviews

Yes, the new Spectral chapbook, King Death by Paul Finch (which isn’t due out until December), has already received its first couple of write-ups. The first of those is from Mark West (who, I will declare, is responsible for the Spectral Press video book trailers and the author of What Gets Left Behind [Spectral Volume VII]) gave the Paul’s tale a little write-up at Goodreads – read what he had to say about it here.

Peter Tennant, in the latest issue of Black Static (#25), also gives the chapbook a general thumbs-up, calling it a “… well-told tale…”. If you want to see what else Peter has to say about it, then you’ll have to go out and track down a copy. It’s always well worth getting hold of this magazine, as it always has a brilliant selection of fiction, articles, interviews and columns in every issue. The website is here.

NOTE: Official review PDFs will be available for media distribution next month sometime – subscriber and individual copies will be sent out soon after that….

COMING SOON: SPECTRAL PRESS BOOKMARKERS!! If you would like one (they’re free) please let me know either by commenting on this blog, on the Spectral FB page or via email on spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com. They will be available within the next month or two.

Black Static 23….

… has a review of Abolisher of Roses within the Casenotes section, written and compiled by Peter Tennant. You’ll have to buy a copy of the magazine to get the full review, but Peter says, in conclusion, that ‘…[Abolisher of Roses] is both disturbing and compelling, a story that is a complex, character-driven piece and at the same time directly addresses philosophical concerns as to the usefulness of art.’

Chalk up yet another positive review for Gary Fry’s chapbook and, by extension, the Spectral Press imprint. Get your copy of Black Static #23 now, available from here.