A Cenobite’s approval and a new review of Creakers

Barbie-Cenobite-Whitstable

How about this for a celebrity endorsement? This is our good friend Barbie Wilde, who should be known to all horror aficionados as the actress who played the Female Cenobite in Hellbound: Hellraiser II and is also an author in her own right (we thoroughly recommend her novel The Venus Complex), and here she is encouraging you all to go out and buy a copy of Stephen Volk’s Whitstable, if you haven’t done so already. She bought it, and the first thing we knew about it was when she posted a status on Facebook to say how much she loved it. Now, you really don’t want the Female Cenobite to haunt your nightmares, do you? We suggest you follow her lead and buy a copy today.

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CREAKERS by Paul Kane

Creakers front cover by Neil Williams

The latest issue of the FREE Morpheus Tales Review Supplement (#21) is now available for download (get it here), and it carries a review by Stanley Riiks of Spectral chapbook #9, Paul Kane’s Creakers. Here are a couple of choice quotes from the it:

“I didn’t think a short story could touch me, make me feel, creep me out… Kane manages to literally send shivers down your spine in this tense and disturbing tale….”

“One of the best chapbooks so far, and that’s from a truly epic collection. Stunningly good, this is Kane at his very best.”

Thanks to Stanley for such a brilliant review – please note, however, that this chapbook is now SOLD OUT!

In the same issue, you can also read the latest installment of my Ramblings of a Tattooed Head column.

More reviews soon!

A Smorgasbord of reviews – 28:05:2013

Whitstable cover image

While we were away doing the book launch thing for Whitstable in the seaside town of Whitstable itself, more than a few reviews of Stephen Volk’s novella winged their way into our email inbox. So, this Tuesday morning, please indulge us while we tell you about, and provide links to, them all.

First off is This Is Horror‘s assessment, written by Michael Wilson – you can find that one right here.

Next up we have a review from Sarah Watkins, posted to her And Then I Read A Book blog – that one is here.

Thirdly, Des Lewis has completed his real-time review of Whitstable and you can read his thoughts about it here.

DVD Choices has a very short, but nevertheless sweet, review written by Barry Forshaw here .

Here’s one from Mark Gordon Palmer over on the Seat at the Back Cinema Magazine – go here for that one.

Keith B. Walters also took a look at the book, and this is what he thought of it.

And, finally for Whitstable for now, this is the full SFX Magazine review as written by Ian Berriman, uploaded to their website. You’ll find that one here.

Creakers front cover by Neil Williams

Paul Kane’s Creakers also received a new review – this one is from Dread Central and is from the pen of Pestilence. That one is here.

More soon!

Creakers: a new review

Creakers front cover by Neil Williams

The latest review of Paul Kane’s Spectral chapbook has just arrived – it’s from Sanatarium magazine, written by Casey Chaplin, and I reproduce it in full here, with the kind permission of the editor:

Creakers: They called them that in this trade, or at least he did, is the very sentence that opens this short story by Paul Kane. It’s a line that says a lot about what’s to follow, without giving too much away. It’s a simple phrase that allows the read to draw a small conclusion and have an expectation or two, only for that expectation to be nixed on the very same page – but in a good way. If you’re at all like me, you probably instantly thought that this was going to be a story about a ghost hunter, or some kind of spiritual cleansing; it’s not, not entirely anyway. 

Ray Johnson is a house flipper. He buys properties, fixes them up and resells them – if you’ve ever spent five minutes watching a home improvement television channel, you know what a house flipper is all about. Nevertheless, the house Ray is working on is particularly special to him for it’s his childhood home. Most memories that stem from a childhood home are sweet and filled with many firsts, parties, and celebrations; but not Ray’s.

Growing up under the strict sternness of his mother, and only his mother, Ray never dreamt of returning to the house he grew up in. Not a friendly or cherished memory could be recalled to the forefront, but he also couldn’t let anybody else flip this house after his mother died. He had to man up, something that this story centers a lot on, and get through this. 

Along the way, Ray meets his mother’s neighbor, where he finds out a lot of interesting, and new information regarding his mother and the relationship she had with her one and only son. Shortly after events within the house become stranger and stranger, and eventually lead to a pretty satisfying ending.

Kane’s style of writing is intriguing, and not one I’m accustom to seeing. He seems rushed and frantic, but I feel it adds to the story. There’s not a lot of unneeded fluff added to lend length to the story, which is something a lot of writers do in order to hit a specific word count, but not Paul Kane. Everything that he needs said is indeed said, and he’s still able to tell a compelling narrative. 

The story itself isn’t anything ground breaking or earth shattering in anyway; it’s a simple tale of one man who’s troubled childhood comes back to him. But it doesn’t have to be more than that. We learn enough about Ray to want him to beat his adversary. We know enough about the house that we want to know how the next chapter in its life will begin. There’s a lot going on in this finely crafted short story, and I would be hard pressed to find something this enjoyable in such a small package any time soon.

Using great language and description to create a spooky atmosphere, Paul Kane’s Creakers is a must read for anybody, not just fans of horror.

VERDICT: 92%”

The Sanatarium website can be found here. More reviews soon!

New reviews – 21:05:2013

We haven’t posted any reviews for a while now, so let’s rectify that by telling you about two of them that have landed on Spectral’s virtual desk within the last week or so. They’re both from Black Static #34 and, as usual, have both been written by Peter Tennant. In order to read the full reviews then may we suggest getting hold of a copy of this superb magazine! You certainly won’t regret it…

Whitstable cover image

The first one is of Stephen Volk’s Whitstable, and Peter concludes his write-up by saying:

“At the heart of this novella is a subtle and beautifully realised portrayal of the power of fiction in our lives, for better or worse, and in Cushing himself we see a man who embodies that principle in all its pleasurable ambiguity. With the possible exception of his wonderful story ‘After the Ape’, Whitstable is Stephen Volk’s best work to date, and I loved it.”

Creakers front cover by Neil Williams

Next is his views on Paul Kane’s Creakers, of which he says:

“This is well done, with some nice spectral effects to disturb the reader, such as the invasion of insects and the phantom lovemaking in Ray’s mother’s bedroom. The characters are competently drawn, with Ray’s troubled past put over effectively by suggestion, and his burgeoning romance with amiable neighbour Pam convincingly rendered. “

There are still some reviews to come in, so more soon!

New reviews – 30:04:2013

A bumper selection of review to browse through today, so let’s get down to it straightaway with the first one:

Whitstable cover image

This one is the latest for Stephen Volk’s Whitstable, courtesy of The Zone – thanks to Tom Johnstone for the write-up! You’ll find it right here.

PLEASE NOTE: there are now just THREE copies of the limited signed and numbered hardback left – those wanting a copy should get to the Spectral Shop NOW to secure their copy before they all go. The book will NOT be reprinted in this format again!

****

Paul Feeney has been a regular supporter of Spectral Press since its launch nearly 2 1/2 years ago, and he posts mini-reviews on Facebook after reading each publication. The reviews below are of the latest three chapbooks:

What Gets Left Behind cover image

“OK, number 7 in the Spectral Press chapbook series.

Mike returns to the town he grew up in through the 70’s and 80’s, hoping to lay some personal ghosts to rest, and finally say goodbye to his childhood friend Geoff.

It’s a well written story, with some nice touches and clear descriptions and dialogue. The structure is essentially the tale from the past, bookended with passages form the present. Whilst it’s pretty clear what is probably going to happen, more so towards the end, and thus slightly robs the story of some of the surprise, the telling is fine. There are also a few nice creepy moments in the finale, that really get the hairs standing up.

However…

There was something I just didn’t engage with in the story and it took me two reads to figure it out. It doesn’t feel long enough. This is an entirely personal thing for me, because I love the sense of nostalgia this sort of story can conjure, especially when it’s well done and I felt this was where the story most came alive.It just should have been more. For me, it needed more immersion in the past, in order to resonate more with the present. But that’s my perception, not a failing of the writing.

As always, the book itself is lovingly created, and is a nice addition to the Spectral line up. I look forward to more from Mark.”

The Way of the Leaves cover image

“And on to Spectral chapbook number 8.

Two lonely youngsters, who have become drawn to each other through their similar natures, spend their time exploring the woods around their village. They come upon a barrow (old burial mound) and what happens there sets in chain events that will affect them forever.

Great atmospheric story. It’s extremely well written and the narrative flowed very well. Tallerman has the enviable ability to draw a full canvas from only a few words, to create powerful images with minimal description. I found the setting very evocative and there was something ancient and timeless about it (not just because of the subject).

There’s a strong sense of foreboding throughout, a feeling of sad and tragic inevitability. although it’s not really about scares as such, there is room for a couple of nice little creepy moments, such as when the kids are crawling into the entrance to the barrow, at night, in near dark… However, it’s all about the overall atmosphere, which is maintained throughout the tale.

Another solid entry in the Spectral line-up.”

Creakers front cover by Neil Williams

And finally:

“Number 9 in the Spectral chapbook series (yay, I’m now up to date! :-D).

Ray’s mother has passed away and it’s his ‘happy’ task to clean up her home to sell on. However, while he’s staying there, odd sounds and strange visions assault him…the ominous ‘creaking’ sound.
OK, I may be picking this up wrong, but I found this to be quite an amusing tale, despite the dark undertones that pop up as it progresses. When the first round of ‘creaks’ start to sound, I was chuckling away to myself and the prose was light and amusing. Or so it seemed to me. Maybe I was picking it up wrong. I hope not. Of course, this light tone doesn’t last and soon there are hints of darker goings on.I found the story moved easily between these different tones and in fact, the lighter moments helped to define more clearly the darker turns. I really hope this was deliberate.There’s some very solid writing on display here and each reveal is handled deftly and with subtle ease.

A great story and a name I’ll have to look out for in the future. I only hope the parts I found humorous were intentional…”

Many thanks to Paul for taking the time to write these!
More reviews soon!

New reviews – 24:04:2013

Two more reviews have reached us, one each for Stephen Volk’s Whitstable and Paul Kane’s Creakers.

Whitstable cover image

Taking the Whitstable one first, this one is from Literary Mayhem and has been written by Peter Schwotzer – you can find that one here. Also, you can now purchase the paperback edition of the book from the Spectral Shop (first option on the above menu bar).

EDIT: this review has also just been posted to the Famous Monsters of Filmland website: http://famousmonsters.com/

Creakers front cover by Neil Williams

And secondly, here’s the review of Creakers  – from Gef Fox this time on his Wag the Fox blog site. Just click here.

More reviews soon!

Reviews and news – 22:04:2103

Creakers front cover by Neil Williams

To start the week off, here’s a new, short review of Paul Kane’s Spectral chapbook Creakers – this one is from Theresa Derwin and has been posted to her Terror Tree blog. You can read what Theresa thought of it here.

NEWS

WHITSFTIMEScover

This month’s issue of Fortean Times (#301 – cover above), the magazine that brings to light all the weirdness this world has to offer, has extensive coverage of Peter Cushing’s centenary, including a long article by Stephen Volk on the actor and his reasons for writing Whitstable. There are also quotes from various luminaries of the horror world about Cushing’s influence on them in their formative years and also why he’s so important to the genre. Also featured is a two page extract from the novella to whet your appetite – the issue will be available soon from your favourite newsstand.

As you know, the book is being launched next month at the Whitstable Museum on the evening of 25th May between 5pm-6:30pm. Stephen Volk will be joined on stage by Wayne Kinsey for a spirited Q&A session, who will also be launching his own book, The PC Scrapbook, the same weekend. Tickets are extremely limited, so secure your place to this event NOW! Tickets can be bought from here.

New reviews – 18:04:2013

The Way of the Leaves cover image

Here we are again with news of a couple of reviews of two of the most recent Spectral chapbooks – David Tallerman’s The Way of the Leaves and Paul Kane’s CreakersConveniently they’ve been written by the same person, Matthew Fryer, and have been posted to his Welcome to the Hellforge blog – the write-ups can be read by going here.

Creakers front cover by Neil Williams

More soon – onwards and upwards!

New review – 17:04:2013

Creakers front cover by Neil Williams

Today is something of a quiet day here in Spectral Towers, and so here’s a quick link to a new review of Paul Kane’s Creakers – this one’s by Mark West and has been posted to Goodreads. As some of you may remember, Mark is the man responsible for the video book trailers for Spectral. Anyway, enjoy what he has to say about the latest in the chapbook line – you can access it here!

There are still copies left of this, but in very limited supply (fewer than 12 copies) – you can buy them individually at  £4UK/£7.00EU/$16US/$16RoW OR, even better, take out a subscription to the quarterly chapbooks, which will cost you £16UK/£23.50EU /$45US/ $45US RoW  for a year’s worth of issues (4 chapbooks). Visit the Spectral Shop for ordering details!

More reviews soon!

New reviews – 05:04:2013

So, here we are again with links to more reviews of  forthcoming and current Spectral publications:

Whitstable cover image

First, here’s another write-up of Stephen Volk’s Whitstable – this one’s been posted to Geek Syndicate by Phil Ambler and is nicely in-depth. You can find it by clicking here. It is advisable to order your copy today – stocks are steadily going down and this is sure to be a much sought-after item. Click on the Spectral Shop option on the menu bar above to get the ordering details.

Spectral Press is talking to Whitstable Museum about a possible launch there over the weekend of 25th to 27th May – more details on that when we have them.

Creakers front cover by Neil Williams

Next up is a review of Paul Kane’s Spectral chapbook Creakers, copies of which will be sent out to subscribers this weekend. This short review has been brought to you by Jim McLeod via his Ginger Nuts of Horror review blog, and that one can be directly accessed from here. Individual copies still available, but in extremely limited numbers – fewer than 15 copies in fact – or, better yet, why not get yourself a year’s subscription (4 issues) to the chapbook line? Details of ordering can be found in the Spectral Shop.

More reviews soon!