Changeling: smart and spooky

I owe the author, Matt Wesolowski, an apology. He probably put months of effort into Six Stories: Changeling, and I devoured it in a single day. It disappeared as rapidly as a double-pepperoni stuffed-crust deep-pan pizza. I simply wolfed it down, propelled through the pages by its oh-so clever construction, Wesolowski’s storytelling technique, the convincing…

What Lurks Below: science meets supernatural

This is the first episode in an ‘intelligent adventure’ series (‘Hell Holes’), which mixes the heft of heavyweight geology and climate science with the demons of the underworld unbound, in all their slavering ferocity. It’s a genre-bending bonanza of science, speculative fiction and supernatural action, a nifty idea which would make a perfect movie pitch.…

The Woman In The Woods: a darkening descent

Many readers typically discuss the darker, arcane side of John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series but – as the 16th book brilliantly demonstrates – there’s a solid private detective story at the core of this convoluted story. So while a dark cabal plots the end of everything and the rise of apocalyptic gods, social issues and…

Supernatural Sherlocks: glimpses of gothic oddness

This is a wonderfully nostalgic collection of 15 short stories which instantly transport you back to the age of empire, where men with handlebar moustaches and frock coats investigate uncanny happenings which have gels in crinolines swooning into their soup. They aren’t simply written in the style of the great Victorian and Edwardian detective novels…

Criminal Halloween Reading

Werewolves howl. Phantoms prowl. Halloween’s upon us now! So let’s settle down with something on the spooky side of crime fiction. Here’s the first of this week’s special selection of chilling thrillers, exploring the mysterious hinterland between hardboiled noir and the beasts which prowl in the far beyond… Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg Let’s kick…

Souls Disturbed: supernatural stirrings in the suburbs

Although the cover art for this collection of three novellas appears quite creepy, the stand-alone stories themselves are far from horrific. Instead they’re set in the ‘soft edges’ of ordinary, everyday English life, where the boundaries between ‘unremarkable’ and ‘unexplained’ can become blurred. Author Kath Middleton uses familiar situations from normal life to explore some…

The Ice Lands: literary weirdness

  Any attempt to categorise The Ice Lands is pretty much doomed. It’s a skilfully written exercise in edgy ambiguity, tantalisingly open to interpretation. It’s not ‘horror’ of the stereotypical rip / rend / spatter style, yet there’s plenty of blood spilled using most unpleasant methods. It draws on the melancholic mystery and the stark…