News and Reviews 08:01:2014

Spectral Press logoNEWS

First off, Happy New Year to everyone out there! Hope 2014 will be a great year for all of you!

Secondly, Spectral moved domiciles over the last weekend – so we kindly ask you to bear with us while we get things organised at this end. We are still surrounded by stacks of boxes which are gradually being unpacked, but it’ll take a little time (about a week or so) to return to normality.

Many thanks for your patience!

REVIEWS AND READER’S FAVOURITES

Whitstable cover image

First, we have two ‘Year’s Best Picks’ lists in which Stephen Volk’s Whitstable novella makes an appearance – to see the illustrious company in which Stephen is mixing then click here to see Ross Warren’s picks and here to see Matthew Fryer’s list.

Now on to the reviews, and once again they’re for Whitstable: the first one is by Anthony Cowin and has been posted to the Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog (that one can be found here) and the second is from the Hypnobobs podcast, courtesy of Jim Moon, which can be accessed here – the review starts around the 45 minute mark.

Please visit the Spectral Shop to buy copies of the paperback edition of Whitstable – it’s also available as a eBook from Amazon US and UK.

That’s all for now, but there will be more soon!

Monday Morning Reviews

Beginning of another week, and so we bring you notice of some more reviews, three to be precise, of two favourites from the Spectral roster:

Whitstable cover image

First up, Whiststable by Stephen Volk – far and away our biggest selling title ever. James Everington was kind enough to make it a recommendation of his here, and following that, here’s David T. Wilbanks’ take on the novella.

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine cover image

And now, here’s a review from Warpcore SF of the award-winning novella The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine by John Llewellyn Probert – read that one here.

More soon!

Whitstable: a new review

Whitstable cover image

Only time for a quick post this bleary Monday morning here at Spectral Towers, so we’d like to let you know about the latest review of an old favourite, Whitstable by Stephen Volk, to reach our virtual desk- this one’s from David T. Wilbanks’ A Blog of Mars. You can find it right here.

More (and longer posts) 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 – 26:08:2013

Whitstable cover image

Over here in the UK it’s a Bank Holiday Monday, but at Spectral Towers (due to be dismantled in readiness for rebuilding at the new headquarters within the next few months) we never stop working to bring you the best in ghostly and supernatural fiction. This morning we bring a new review of Stephen Volk’s Whitstable from Morpheus Tales, due to be published in their October Review Supplement (and reproduced with kind permission of the Editor of that fine magazine, Adam Bradley), written by J. S. Watts:

Whitstable is a novella from the classy stable of Spectral Press. It is not a horror or ghost story by the speculative fiction definition of the same, but it is a haunting elegy of loss: lost love, lost innocence, a lost time, and a lost place.

Set in Whitstable in Kent in 1971, it lyrically blends fact and fiction by setting at its core the actor Peter Cushing, a hero to all Hammer horror devotees. Devastated by the recent death of his beloved wife Helen, Cushing is facing the agony of unchecked grief. Whilst failing to deal with his own inner demons, he is approached on Whitstable Beach by a young boy who takes him for the character he so often played in his films, Doctor Van Helsing. The boy is desperate for his help because he believes his stepfather is a vampire. This is real life, though, not the fantastical horror of the movies or blood-chilling gothic tales and, in the boy’s troubled words, Cushing thinks he detects indications of child abuse and a tale of night-time deeds where the monster is all too human. Cushing is not a hero with a crucifix or crossbow, but a grief-wracked widower who is not sure he wants to go on living, an ordinary and weakened man, but one with a strong sense of right and wrong and who cannot ignore the pleas of an innocent child. Cushing has to confront his own demons before he can respond to the mundane, but destructive evil lurking in the small seaside town.

Whitstable is a beautifully written and delicate exploration of grief. The character of Cushing is skilfully drawn, mixing the sort of facts known to Hammer horror aficionados with precisely imagined and emotionally telling detail. Likewise, the fading town of Whitstable on the Kent coast is sketched with attention to crucial detail and a real sense of affection. An important and tense scene set in the “faded gentrification” of Whitstable’s Oxford Cinema, which has clearly seen better days and is on route to becoming a bingo hall, is striking for its sense of drama and an evocation of both period and place. This is achieved whilst intertwining the novella’s story line with the on-screen, scene-by-scene, plot development of Peter Cushing’s 1970 film The Vampire Lovers.

It is a poignant tale, lyrically told, but if horror is what you are about, there is enough detail of the films Cushing starred in, woven into the story line, to fascinate Hammer horror fans and lovers of Peter Cushing’s oeuvre.

One note of caution, though. Reiterating the beginning of this review, if you pick this novella up expecting speculative fiction style horror, you are going to be sorely disappointed, but if you pick this up expecting a small, literary gem you will find exactly what you are hoping for.”

Thank you both to Morpheus Tales and to J. S. Watts for this!

PAPERBACK

AMAZON UK

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More soon!

An Eloquent Review – 08:08:2013

Whitstable cover image

The reviews of Stephen Volk’s Whitstable keep coming in and the latest one is from The Eloquent Page, run by pablocheesecake AKA Paul Holmes (by the way, his wife Nadine makes fabulous cakes, confectioneries and other stuff – just go here to see what I mean) – you can read what he said here and you can go on to buy the book on the links below:

PAPERBACK

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

KINDLE

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

New Whitstable review – 29:07:2013

Whitstable cover image

Monday morning again, which means a new review of Whitstable – this one’s from Geek Planet Online and has been written by Jim Moon. You can find the review here.

(NOTE:  Stephen Volk did NOT write Apparitions – he did write Afterlife, though)

PAPERBACK

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

KINDLE

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

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.

PAPERBACK

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

KINDLE

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

The 13 Ghosts of Christmas cover image

13 GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS

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 review – 16:07:2013

Whitstable cover image

There’s a new review of Stephen Volk’s Whitstable in the latest issue of Fortean Times (#304) written by David Sutton, the esteemed editor of that magazine. To see the full review, we suggest you hightail it to your nearest newsagent and buy yourself a copy, but we can tell you that the write-up ends with this:

“Horror aficionados will enjoy the film references and the vintage local colour will please Whitstable residents past and present, but it’s the warmth and humanity at the heart of this dark tale that really count. Highly recommended.”

PAPERBACK

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

KINDLE

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

Also, while you’re over on Amazon, why not check out all the fabulous reviews left by customers – there are 20 on the UK site alone, nineteen 5* and one 4*…. more soon!

Fantastiq – the Festival of Fantasy, Sci-Fi & Horror

Fantastiq banner ident NEW

It is with great pleasure that Spectral can announce that we will be at Fantastiq – the Festival of Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Horror, held on Friday 9th August – Sunday 11th August 2013 at the Derby Quad, Derby, UK. We will be sponsoring an evening with Stephen Volk on the Friday from about 5pm onwards. There will be a Q&A on Stephen’s contribution to and career in genre television and cinema, including his involvement in the infamous Ghostwatch drama, as well as his other films and series, and, of course, he will also be talking about his latest novella Whitstable (from which Stephen will be performing a short reading). Simon Marshall-Jones will be taking part for at least a small part of the Q&A as well, to talk about the novella from the publisher’s perspective.

Following the Q&A there will be a signing session, where Whitstable will receive its second official launch, and there will be copies of the paperback for sale on the night. After the signing, Spectral is proud to present a showing of the 1958 Dracula, starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, a scene from which features in the novella itself.
Hope to see you there!
For more details of the event, please go here.