New reviews – 02:04:2013

Here, in the environs of Spectral Towers at least, spring has deigned to show its sunny, if somewhat chilly, face at last. And, just to add to the feelgood factor, here we have two new reviews to let you know about.

Whitstable cover image

First is Geoff Nelder’s assessment of Stephen Volk’s Whitstable novella, posted to various sites including his own Science42Fiction website – the write-up can be found right here.

(Copies are still available of the limited signed and numbered hardback – just pop over to the Spectral shop to order your copy today, but hurry though, they;re going fast and there aren’t that many left.)

Creakers front cover by Neil Williams

Secondly, we have a review of Paul Kane’s Creakers, the latest in Spectral Press’ quarterly series of chapbooks. This one’s courtesy of the ever-reliable Walt Hicks, and can be seen on his Hellbound Times genre review blog – go here to read what the man said.

(Copies are available of this too – but, just like Whitstable, there aren’t many left, fewer than fifteen in fact.)

More news and reviews soon!

New Whitstable review – 28:03:2013

Whitstable cover image

And still they keep coming in: here’s the latest review of Stephen Volk’s masterful study of character and modern menace Whitstable. This one is courtesy of Walt Hicks, and it appears on his Hellbound Times genre media review blog. You can access the write-up by clicking right here.

More reviews soon!

10:12:2012 – Two new reviews

The Way of the Leaves cover  image

Another beautifully crisp and sunny morning here at Spectral Towers, and we have two new reviews to bring you, including the first review of David Tallerman’s The Way of the Leaves, the winner of the Spectral Press/This Is Horror short story competition held earlier this year. This one’s from The Hellbound Times‘ Walt Hicks, and can be read by going here.

The 13 Ghosts of Christmas cover image

The second review is, as you can probably guess, a write-up of The 13 Ghosts of Christmas, Spectral’s first Christmas Ghost Story Annual and their first ever anthology. This one’s by Theresa Derwin and posted to her Terror Tree  blog – to get the lowdown in what Theresa thought of it, just click here.

There are still copies of this collection available, but not very many. It’s officially being published this Friday (14th December) but it’s currently still available for pre-order from here.

Look out for more reviews soon!

13 Ghosts of Christmas: the first review

The 13 Ghosts of Christmas cover image

Well, this is what we’ve nervously been waiting for – the very first review of the first Spectral Press Christmas Ghosts Story Annual, also known as The 13 Ghosts of Christmas. The honour of posting that first write-up is Walt Hicks of The Hellbound Times, someone who always ties with Jim Mcleod of The Ginger Nuts of Horror to get the first reviews of Spectral Press titles posted. Anyway, please direct your cursor this way and click here to read what Mr. Hicks has to say about the anthology.

There are fewer that 30 copies of the book left at present – for more details on pre-ordering the hardback edition, please refer to the previous post. Paperback orders should start from next week!

Going back to The Ginger Nuts of Horror, Jim Mcleod will be running a series of short interviews on the blog with each of the contributors to 13 Ghosts, starting tomorrow (1st December) with your friendly neighbourhoood publisher, Simon Marshall-Jones. The author interviews will run in the order in which they appear in the book, and each one will be accompanied by a review of their story. The web address to the blog is here.

More reviews and news soon!!

What Gets Left Behind review at Hellbound Times

What Gets Left Behind cover image

For the second review of Mark West’s What Gets Left Behind, the latest volume in the Spectral Press chapbook series, we have to thank Walt Hicks of Hellbound Times. To read Walt’s thoughts on the story, please go here.


We are currently reading through all the submissions that were sent – due to the high number of these, plus having to prepare for FantasyCon 2012 at the end of this week, notifications will be sent out to all in early October. We here at Spectral Towers would like to apologise to all those writers who have submitted material for the annual for the unavoidable delay and any inconvenience caused. Will be back on track very soon!

Onwards and upwards!

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine: the first reviews

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine cover image

It’s that time again, when we send out review texts of another new Spectral publication and suffer sleepless nights* waiting anxiously for the write-ups to return. As you all know, the latest one is the new John Llewellyn Probert Spectral Visions novella, The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine, and we have been busy sending out e-versions of the text to various bloggers and magazines to see what they thought. Anyway, two reviews have already come home to roost and we’re very pleased to be able to tell you all about them.

The first one is from This is Horror,  the online horror resource (declaration: I am the fiction and reviews editor of the magazine but I did not edit this one), and was written by Dan Howarth. You can read what he he had to say here.

The second review is from the estimable Walt Hicks of Hellbound Times, who has a habit of getting reviews out almost as soon as the books are sent to him. Indeed, just a day or two after sending him the text, he sent us this review, which you can read here.

The paperback edition will be available very soon, look for news of it shortly on these pages. Spectral will be in attendance at this year’s FantasyCon, where the book will be launched, and we will be bringing paperbacks with us as well as the hardbacks.

More reviews soon!

* Slight exaggeration perhaps….

The Eyes of Water: first review and some news…

Eyes of Water Front Cover

It is with great delight that we present to you the first review of bestselling author Alison Littlewood’s chapbook, The Eyes of Water. This one is by Walt Hicks and has been posted on his Hellbound Times book blog – the review can be accessed here.


It is our great pleasure to announce that Mr. Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraisers II, III & IV and the author of Morningstar, Big Thunder and Moontown, will be writing a chapbook for Spectral. No date has been set yet, so please look for further announcements as time goes on.

For Spectral, this really is fantastic news. Those first four instalments in the franchise are among our favourites here at Spectral Towers and the literary output of Clive Barker, author of The Hellbound Heart upon which the first film was based, line our shelves in pride of place. Peter made an appearance as the Barbie Cenobite in the third film Hellbound: Hell on Earth, and it’s slightly crazy to think that decades later, the man is now going to write for our small-press. Small world, eh?

Onwards and upwards!

The Respectable Face of Tyranny: the first review

The Respectable Face of Tyranny by Gary Fry

It is with great pleasure that we here at Spectral Towers (the palatial high-rise extension of Marshall-Jones Mansions) present the very first review of Gary Fry’s Spectral Visions novella, The Respectable Face of Tyranny. This one is courtesy of Walt Hicks at Hellbound Times – so what did the man think of the debut publication in Spectral Press’ new line of longer works? To find out, all you have to do is click here.

The hardback edition of this little tome is sadly sold out, but you can still order copies of the paperback version direct from Spectral – details, along with convenient Paypal buttons, can be found here.

More reviews soon!

Two new reviews and an update

So, first up this bright Tuesday morning is a new review of Simon Kurt Unsworth’s Rough Music – this one was written by Walt Hicks and can be found on his Hellbound Times blog. Walt has been a consistent supporter of Spectral Press ever since it opened its doors – so what did he think of the first issue in the imprint’s second year? Find out here.

(Psst – Happy Birthday to Mr. Unsworth, too!!)

Secondly, here’s a review of Paul Finch’s King Death, which appeared in Issue Eight (Winter 2011) of Strange Aeons magazine. I reproduce it here in full with the permission of the magazine:

In the early 1300’s, rumors of a terrible plague began to spread throughout Europe. Entire regions of China and India had fallen, and it seemed death itself was drifting westward. Rumor became reality in 1307 when a Genoese ship pulled into the port of Messina with a dead and dying crew. The Black Plague had arrived, and by 1350 an estimated 50-70% of England’s population had perished.

In Spectral Press’ fourth offering, Paul Finch transports us back to this slightly exaggerated time where the mortality rate more closely resembles that of Captain Tripps than the actual Plague. It is a world no longer in the thralls of death, but a world which has gasped its last pitiful breath, and lies rotting under an unremorseful sun.

Rodric, a former member of the free-companies, has seen his fair share of destruction. Clad in a suit of black mail with a skull emblazoned upon his helmet and shield, he rides through the silent, fetid countryside (on a pale horse no less) ridding corpses of their riches and the few survivors he encounters of their lives. He is a man without honor or remorse. Hardened by war and having grown increasingly numb to the horrors that surround him, he sets out upon his diabolical crusade with little sympathy.

One day, while Rodric reflects upon his incongruous kingdom, he spies a well-bedecked page-boy, half alive and stumbling through the valley below him. Greed spurs him into action, and after his alter-ego cows the boy into a terrified silence, he presents himself as Death, King Death, and demands to be taken to the wealthy lordship he abandoned. In return, he agrees to grant the boy’s final wish, to join his family in death. But once they arrive, Rodric learns that there is a precipitous price to be paid for masquerading as Death, and realizes, albeit a bit too late, that it’s not always good to be King.

While not my favorite offering from Spectral, Finch certainly has a way with words. Though he paints a dour portrait, his brushstrokes are eloquent and unequaled in their execution. Whether describing a wild land reclaimed by nature, or a procession of the decomposing dead, there is beauty to be found. And it’s because of that beauty, that torrid love affair with morose prose, that this chapbook deserves to sit upon your shelf. A worthy addition to Spectral’s ever-growing library, but limited to their standard 100 signed and numbered editions, finding your own copy might be as hard as finding a lone survivor in a time of plague. But don’t let that stop you from jumping on the unearthly bandwagon. Future releases will sell out quickly, so make sure to stop by their website and subscribe, because the terrors you miss today, will surely turn into tomorrow’s spectral regrets.

More reviews coming soon!


This is just to let those interested in purchasing copies of the series of Lovecraft audio-CDs that Temple of Azathoth Records are producing in collaboration with Spectral that the project has been delayed by two months due to a personal bereavement. The first in the series, featuring two stories from the master of cosmic terror himself (The Music of Erich Zann and Nyarlathotep) and a tale from the modern wielder of Lovecraft’s strange legacy, Joe Pulver (The Delirium of a Worm-Wizard), will now be available from May 2012 instead. More information will be brought to you here as the time approaches for release – but rest assured it WILL be unleashed upon an unsuspecting world…

New: two King Death reviews

And so they’re beginning to trickle in, the write-ups on the latest Spectral chapbook, King Death, brought to you by the incomparable Paul Finch. The first one is from Walt Hicks, who has written reviews of previous issues for the Page Horrific webzine, and has posted this one to his new blog Hellbound Times. You can read what he had to say about the exploits of Rodric, the main protagonist in the story, here.

The second review is from Geoff Nelder, who runs the science42fiction blog, but, with his permission, I can quote this one directly:

“Rodric cannot believe his luck during the medieval black plague. He was immune, unlike virtually everyone in the area he wandered – between Cannock Chase and the Welsh border. So he looted with impunity though he theatrically dressed in black armour just in case he met resistance. Of course England wouldn’t be the green and pleasant land in the song, and award-winning author, Paul Finch, steeps us in the stench of rotting bodies, and plays with the retaking of the environment by Nature. To keep us engrossed in the medieval experience we are treated to a wonderful lexicon of the ages: Jongleur, rambraces, rerebraces, miniver, bascinet, seneschal, sokemen, and my favourite – ouches of gold. To save you reaching for there is a glossary bringing up the rear though the context is usually enough to keep you going. Rodric meets a young unnamed lad with the result of more potential riches and yet an undoing. The former servant takes Rodric to his castle and its subjugation from the terrifying plague is described with splendid detail.

Readers might consider some of the tale as overdescriptive and the style could be tightened but it is excused by the beauty of the narrative: ‘The implacable silence was haunting. It was a listening silence, Rodric fancied, an eavesdropping silence…’

There is a wonderful peak in the story’s suspense and it is right at the end. Whether the boy or Rodric is the true king death is up to you.”

Thanks to both Walt and Geoff for sending me the reviews! Onwards and upwards!