What Gets Left Behind: first thoughts

What Gets Left Behind cover image

What Gets Left Behind by Mark West, the latest chapbook from Spectral Press, gets its first review, and it also continues the tradition of Jim McLeod being amongst the first to air his reviews on Spectral output. Mark’s tale is very much grounded in the everyday reality of a specific time and place, yet the concerns of the main protagonist Mike are very universal and will be familiar to all. To read what Jim thought about What Gets Left Behind please go here.

The Respectable Face of Tyranny cover image

We also have another review for you to read, but this time the focus is Gary Fry’s Spectral Visions novella The Respectable Face of Tyranny, which (with the kind permission of Graeme Reynolds, who wrote it and uploaded it to GoodReads) we reproduce in full below:

“Spectral Press are fast becoming major players in the world of horror fiction. Their limited edition chapbooks are beautifully presented collectors editions, containing stories that disturb and challenge the readers perceptions in equal measure. It was with a fair amount of excitement that I started reading their first novella length work – The Respectable Face of Tyranny by Gary Fry.

Josh is struggling to cope with his life. The economic downturn led to him losing his high paying job, his expensive home and his wife. To try and get himself back on his feet he moves into a caravan near Whitby with his teenage daughter, where he spends his time caring for his ailing mother and walking through the surrounding countryside, to try and make some sense of where his life went wrong. Before long he starts to see apparitions above the bay at night, and comes across strange carvings on the beach. Is he catching a glimpse of something ancient and terrifying, or have his recent troubles brought on the same dementia that claimed his invalid mother?

This is a very introspective piece of work. Gary Fry is quite obviously very familiar with Whitby and the surrounding area, and describes not only the town and its surroundings, but the people that live there in a level of detail that was quite astonishing. I’m not sure if I can remember reading anything recently that evoked such clear mental images for me. Similarly, the characters of Josh and Sally, his daughter, are beautifully drawn, to the extent that they were very real to me right from the start. Against this vivid backdrop, the insidious cosmic horrors that Josh has to contend with also become very real.

The Respectable Face of Tyranny is a slow paced and measured novella, that takes its time in painting a vivid picture and building the terror of both the creatures that Josh encounters and his own fear of losing his mind.

Very highly recommended for those that want something a little deeper and disturbing than the average horror story.

4 out of 5 stars.”

More reviews soon!

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine: a view from the Ginger Nut himself

The Nine Deaths of Dr, Valentine cover image

The wonder that is modern electronic communication has meant that the very latest review of John L. Probert’s Spectral Visions novella, The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine, has just landed on our virtual desk here at Spectral Towers, so that we can tell you all about it the same morning it was uploaded. It’s from the Scottish wonderboy Jim McLeod of Ginger Nuts of Horror fame and, if you want to know what he thought about John’s novella, then all you have to do is click here.

More reviews soon!

A little news…

Well, yesterday was something of a heady day for Spectral, as the imprint made it into a couple of year-end lists:

First off, Jim Mcleod of The Ginger Nuts of Horror blog put Spectral at #5 in his Top Reads of 2011 post, as well as placing the editor/publisher Simon Marshall-Jones in his Stalwarts of the Genre 2011 list. And, following on from that, pablocheesecake at The Eloquent Page gave an honorary mention to Spectral Press in the Publisher of the Year category in his 2011 – Year in Review piece.

This is just the icing on the cake for us here at Spectral Towers – a recognition that we are creating something worthwhile which people are responding positively to. It’s always a nerve-wracking time when you send something out into the world, unsure of what kind of reception it’s going to get. In the event, that reception was infinitely better than I could have hoped for, even in those wilder moments when my imagination took fevered flight.

BUT, this is just the start – we here at Spectral are intending to go even higher next year.  Novellas, a series of audio-CDs of music and Lovecraft tales (along with Lovecraftian stories from modern masters), the first in an annual series of Christmas Ghost Story anthologies and, of course, the chapbooks – it’s going to be a great year!! =D