New reviews 27:01:2014

Did you know that we talk about new reviews here on Mondays more than any other day of the week? And today, being a Monday, is no exception. We have two reviews for you this morning:

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.

First, writer James Everington reviews Soul Masque by Terry Grimwood (alongside Chalk by Pat Cadigan) on his blog Scattershot Writing – the review is HERE.

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

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

Secondly, here’s a review of Paul Kane’s Ghosts collection at Terror-Tree.

More reviews soon!

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.

Some new reviews

A bleary, blustery Monday, so what better way to cheer ourselves up than to read about some new reviews?

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

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

The first one is for Tim Lebbon’s latest novella, Still Life, which appears at tor.com and has been written by Niall Alexander. You can find out what he says by going here.

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.

Next up is Simon Bestwick’s assessment of Terry Grimwood’s Soul Masque over at This Is Horror – read that one right here. (*Disclaimer: Spectral will be publishing a chapbook by Simon in December)

Both books are available from Spectral (note: Soul Masque is in limited supply) – contact us at spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com for more details.

More reviews soon!

New Reviews – 13:09:2013

We haven’t uploaded any reviews for a while, so we shall rectify that by letting you know about quite a few that came our way earlier in the week:

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine cover image

First, here’s an Italian review (in Italian) at Nero Cafe of John Llewellyn Probert’s The Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine, by Mauro Saracino – read that one here.

Whitstable cover image

Then, here’s a review in French of Stephen Volk’s novella Whitstable, by Adam Joffrain on his new review blog Par dela les Montagnes Hallucinantes (Beyond the Incredible Mountains) – that one can be found right here.

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.

And next we have a couple of reviews of the latest chapbook, Soul Masque by Terry Grimwood, the first of which can be found on Stanley Riik’s blog here. And finally, here’s one from Matthew Fryer posted to his Welcome to the Hellforge blog – that one’s here.

More soon!

New review 19:08:2013

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.

It’s been fairly quiet around these parts lately, so let’s change that by bringing you the latest review of Terry Grimwood’s chapbook story, Soul Masque. This one is from subscriber Paul Feeney, and was posted to his Facebook timeline:

“The world is on the brink, demons are rife and those that purport to do God’s (yes, God, with the capital…) work seem as corrupt as those they fight. Within this dark, grimy war revolves the separate yet tangled lives of Sian, a facilitator and handler of sorts and dispenser of mingled pain and pleasure; Jon, the wielder of the Glory and slave to chemical dependence; Meg, Jon’s lover and companion; Rennie, who loves Meg but carries his own dark secrets; and The Singer, an angel whose appearance and motivations somehow seem less than holy…

Twenty three pages of short story and there’s enough here for an entire novel. I don’t just mean the idea, I mean the thing itself reads like a novel. It’s mind boggling to think how much Terry Grimwood has managed to squeeze into this small chapbook. It’s a testament to the writing which is spare and fractured, yet incredibly detailed. In fact, the whole structure is disjointed, adding to the fragile, brittle world the characters inhabit – and also themselves. In a few scant words, Grimwood gives full flesh to his people, covers the bones of his story in rich detail with light strokes of his writing. It’s an incredible feat, only slightly marred for me by the use of present tense in places. At least at first. It made it difficult for me to break into the story at first, which is already dense and layered. I feel, and this is purely a personal thing, that it would have been better to start with past tense and introduce the present later, because, as the story races towards its end, it really doesn’t distract at that point.

Still, a minor quibble. The story is epic, beautiful, tragic and very dark, with little hope of redemption for any of its protagonists. There’s enough here to sustain a whole series of novels and I’d love to see more. The scene with Sian and The Singer in her room…well, it sent shivers up and down my spine.

Gorgeous, brutal stuff. Look forward to more.”

Many thanks, Paul – more soon!

26:07:2013 – first Soul Masque review

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.

So, here it is folks, the first review of Terry Grimwood’s Soul Masque, written by Geoff Nelder – we reproduce it here in full:

“Ali Smith, on giving advice to the competitors in the Bridport Prize a while ago said, “I like to see a beginning, middle and end, but not necessarily in that order.” I’m reminded of that sage advice with Soul Masque opening with an epilogue! Like an inside-out matryoshka doll more of the story is told backwards. Normally, I hate back-story tales but it works here with macabre relish.

The end at the beginning is cunningly crafted such that the reader begs for the real start to see how the bizarre finale is reached. And that beginning is no disappointment. In true Terry Grimwood style, we are lured rapidly by an account of how a sane individual becomes snared in the drug-toting underbelly of society.

‘They took (the morphine) away once his broken bones were healed. You can confiscate the cure, but you can’t take away the Need…’ so it continues – the hurt that obliges the reader to be drawn into the abyss of another Grimwood noir tale.

White spindly creatures the stuff of nightmares. ‘Ichor streaks the windscreen.’ Nasty, compelling. Read on, Nelder. Grim yet a smile with the anagram – ‘Satan’s little helpers’.

Unexpectedly among the terror we are grounded by London’s Congestion Charge – ha, and yet not so ha. London isn’t the same any more, especially warehouses. Unnaturally, supernaturally, the ending is a prologue and it makes sense, if you’d not already worked it out.

A novella of S&M –the 1980s kind with traditional bondage but with an extra element you won’t find anywhere else. You have to take pleasure from this story, or they will come for you, too.”

Many thanks to Geoff for this! More soon!

Soul Masque: the blurb…

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.

“Soul Masque…
A high class dominatrix who counts an Angel among her clientele
A preacher who has swapped prayer for a needle and a spoon
A woman whose terminal illness is held in stasis by allegiance to a holy cause
A loser with a price on his head whose only hope of survival lies in the shedding of blood, but who cannot abandon mercy.

Soul Masque…
Four disparate, desperate souls, thrown together in a lethal waltz 
Their dance master terrible in his purity
Their music the eternal war between Heaven and Hell
Their stage, the darkest corners of our world where the unthinkable hides”

Just to entice you in anticipation of the new chapbook release later this month, what’s written above is the back cover blurb of Terry Grimwood’s Soul Masque, number ten in the acclaimed series. As a further enticement, we’ve provided a link to purchasing individual copies of the book – hurry though, there aren’t that many left and once they’re gone, they’re gone. Alternatively, you can purchase a yearly subscription (4 quarterly issues), which will absolutely guarantee that you will receive every issue right to your door – the Paypal buttons are on the right on this blog. If you wish to pay by cheque, email us on spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com and we will send you the relevant details.

Individual chapbooks (all prices include p+p)

£4 United Kingdom

£7 EU

$16 US & RoW

Look forward to hearing from you!

Soul Masque: cover concept reveal

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.

After taking a small break from working, we’re now back on track and ready to forge ahead. To celebrate, we’ve decided to go ahead and reveal Neil Williams’ beautiful cover concept (note: this is still a work in progress) for number 10 in the Spectral chapbook series, Terry Grimwood’s Soul Masque, which will be available next month (July 2013).

More details soon – keep your eyes peeled!

New titles added

Some of the sharper-eyed readers of this website may have noticed, in the top right-hand corner of the front page here, that I have added two more titles to the chapbook line.They will be published (tentatively) in the first half of 2013 (but these things are always subject to change). The titles are:

Spectral Volume IX – Cold Havens by Simon Bestwick

Spectral Volume X – Soul Masque by Terry Grimwood

Terry’s will follow the normal single short story format, but Simon’s will offer a first for Spectral – it’ll contain TWO shorter stories, Comfort Your Dead and The Climb, but they’re no less chilling for all that. Further information will become available as time goes on, so please keep checking back.

Yes, I know that their release dates are 18 months away, but it won’t be all that long before Spectral is celebrating its first birthday. Cate Gardner’s Nowhere Hall is in the process of being prepared for publication (due to be printed early next month), and then a month after that I’ll be starting work on Paul Finch’s chapbook, which will round off the first year of Spectral’s career. And that’s just the start of even greater things for the imprint.

Indeed, Spectral’s first year is speeding by very quickly, and it has brought with it not just the imprint, but other things that have arrived in the wake of its unexpected (but very gratefully received) success. I would like to mark that first anniversary in some way, perhaps a competition of some kind, so I’ll put my thinking head on and see what I can come up with. However, please feel free to suggest something yourselves – either leave a comment here or send an email to me at spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Whatever transpires, I think it’s always worth celebrating a minor success!! =)

More soon!