Monday, 19 August 2019

Lego Lasts Forever on The NoSleep Podcast




It's with great pleasure to announce that my latest tale will be appearing on the legendary horror podcast that is The No Sleep Podcast!

You can listen to my tale, which appears first here

Happy listening!

Thursday, 8 August 2019

The Forest Is Hungry by Christopher Stanley



A sick daughter, a father’s race against time to find the one thing that might save her and a mysterious tree growing through the kitchen floor… 

Author Christopher Stanley on writing ‘The Forest Is Hungry’: “Quite often my stories come from several different places. In this one, the walk at the beginning, where the parents are separated from their child, is a walk I’ve done a number of times with my own family. My sister moved into a big new house and she told me about some of the conversations she had had with the site foreman. And we have a family friend who cuts our trees for us. All of these things happened around the same time and – bang! – there’s the story!” 


This is the third offering I've read in Demain Publishing's Short Sharp Shocks and now I'm hooked. This time I've read, The Forest is Hungry by Christopher Stanley. It's a really vicious folk horror tale of a family torn apart through separation trying to survive

The story starts with every parents worst nightmare, a child goes missing in the woods. for centuries we've been told the dark folk tales that warn about the perils of babes in the woods and this modern version is no different.

After taking his only child, Becca, to the woods, outside his home, Richard realises something is amiss. Afterwards she speaks only in strange riddles and then the trees start moving in. It's not just him and his family that is being targeted it's everyone in his street.

The Forest is hungry.

I loved this tale, it starts off with a bang and just keeps gathering pace. It's hard to say much without giving spoilers  only that its a really creepy story that won't fail to disapoint even the most hardened horror fan. 

I like to think that this story exists in the same forest as Kev Harrison's Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could See, also released by Demain Publishing.  Both stories are set around an ancient woodland that has stood for centuries and will stand for centuries after the last human has walked the earth. Maybe its the powerful forces within that keep this forest untouched.

Tales From the Shadow Booth Vol 3 edited by Dan Coxon







"Jared can feel the tower blocks looming overhead, three concrete sentinels watching as he runs. He knows he has less than a minute before his pursuers are on him, but as he rounds the corner into the alley he stops, dead. There's a strange canvas structure propped against the wall, a hand-made sign scrawled on a scrap of cardboard.Enter the Shadow Booth, it says, and you will never be the same again."


This is the third offering from The Shadow Booth. I loved the two previous volumes and was really excited to get my hands on this.

In the Shadow Booth you'll find a collection of 11 strange and twisted tales. These aren't horror or dystopian but somewhere between the two. These are those wonderfully "out there" hard to classify stories that stay with you long after you have finished reading them.

On the whole I really enjoyed most of the stories here, I have to admit there were a few that didn't quite do it for me, but that's to be expected with an anthology. I believe there's a something for everyone in here.

In my opinion the stand out tale for me was The Cherry Cactus of Corsica by Verity Holloway. This tale was a remarkable feat of imagination and execution. I just loved it. It follows the tale of Kurt who feels drawn to one of his students who shows great talent and promise but is deeply troubled. He only wants to help but is unable to resist being drawn in to a dire situation he cannot escape from.

Also up there in my favourites was Cousin Grace by Jill Hand. I've read quite a few of her stories over the years and they are always superb. I loved the opening paragraph which was both charming and sinister!

"Cousin Grace liked marzipan, standard poodles, and the actor Jean Reno. Three years ago her house ate her."

This was a really original tale and Jill Hand delivers an emotional punch. I really cared about these two girls who only had each other in life and when Cousin Grace disappears into the Dream Room only the narrator seems to care.

Meat By Judy Birkbeck was another really great tale of Fenella who moves to a new town with her daughter Saskia in search of a new life. I loved the vivid descriptions used throughout and the brooding creepy atmosphere which really felt like the calm before a storm. It definitely felt like there was something strange about this town!

Hermit Island's Hermit by Armel Dagorn was a really short but creepy tale about a young man's expedition to a remote island revered by local folklore. Will he be able to return once he sets off in his canoe?

I Have a Secret by Raquel Castro was a brutal tale of family loss told through the voice of a child, Milo . Haunting it depicts the tale of a very sick mother coming home from hospital, things will never be the same again. Milo suspects something is underfoot but no one will listen.





The Town that Feared Dusk by Calvin Demmer

Sylvia Bernstein doesn't want to end up on a dead-end path like a former journalism colleague. She begins searching the tabloid's archives for a story that can get her career back on track. A strange bridge, with an abnormally high rate of suicides, seems like the perfect place to start. She journeys to the little town, eager to investigate, but encounters a tale far more sinister than she ever expected...





Calvin Demmer's latest release is part of a new venture, Demain Publishing that have kicked off to a great start by releasing a series of short sinister fiction which cost less than a pound/dollar. I've previously read Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could See by Kev Harrison and absolutely loved it.

I've read a lot of Calvin Demmer's work over the years and  had high hopes for this. I wasn't disappointed. This is a tale long enough for you to feel really involved in, it felt more like a mini novel rather than just a short story. I easily devoured this is one go so it's perfect for reading on the train whilst commuting to work.

The tale follows a young reporter, Sylvia, eager to make something of herself and not follow in the footsteps of her predecessor who wasted his life before his untimely departure. She's a hunter looking for that big story that's going to earn her name in print and she'll do anything for her fame.

Sylvia ends up in a small town just like any other except for its exceptionally high suicide rate which seems to garner no questions or outcry from the locals. They accept it just as they accept the bridge just outside town which people can't help hurling themselves off.

Even when danger presents itself she keeps on. Nothing, not even the supernatural is going to stop her from finding answers.

This is a tale of intrigue that moves quickly with a plot that quickly progresses, it is part horror part thriller conducted on a wild goose chase.

OUT NOW!