Latest Spectral review…

The review below, this one another positive one, was posted on the Innsmouth Free Press website and written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – also, be sure to look out for an interview with your erstwhile publisher in the virtual pages of the very same Free Press, to be published very soon!

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It’s funny how life works out. I was thinking of requesting a review copy of this title and the publisher e-mailed to see if I wanted it. Are my nascent telepathic abilities increasing?

What They Hear in the Dark is a limited-edition, signed chapbook published by Spectral Press. This strikes me as smart. With people complaining that e-books are going to eat print books alive, creating collectible chapbooks seems like an effective strategy for continuing to offer print products. Add to that the fact that it is a chapbook – which means us modern, hard-pressed-for-time folks can sample it without giving up days of our lives – and you’ve got a very good concept.

Anyway, the chapbook in question is a modern Gothic story, with a grieving couple busy remodeling a house and discovering a mysterious room that seems to muffle all sounds. And the husband feels there is something terrible living inside The Quiet Room.

I was incredibly excited to read this tale after looking at the blurb, but I think my excitement might have damped the final enjoyment. I thought it could have been a tad longer. I also kept thinking about “Don’t Look Now” and its parents trying to survive after the death of a child, and encountering the supernatural, basically the same central concept as this chapbook. This may not be the writer’s fault as much as my own, as I read the Du Maurier story not so long ago.

This minor nitpicking aside, it’s a good story. I enjoyed the sympathetic protagonists. What? A horror tale with people you like? Nooooo. This, after reading an anthology with a bunch of awful, irritating characters, came as a blessing. The prose is nice and the house, with its very special room, is creepy, so overall, it gets a thumbs-up. I’ll leave it at that, as I don’t want to give away the ending, or any more details.

I read a lot of short fiction and anthologies because I don’t want to spend much time or effort on novels (especially series, ugh). Chapbooks like this are perfect for me and I hope Spectral Press will continue its line with similar offerings.

New review…

Another great review, this time from author Dave Jeffery:

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When a young boy is murdered, his devastated parents attempt to rebuild their shattered lives by ploughing their efforts into a renovation project. The process is meant to be cathartic, a process of healing the wound left in their lives. Yet as they work they find a room. They call it the Quiet Room, a façade hidden behind aged paper, a place where time seems to stop and space seems to have no meaning. But even this strange and ethereal place reflects the disparate nature of their relationship. Both Becky and Rob feel different when they are held in the room’s dark embrace. A mother senses her lost child. A father senses only hate and malevolence. Insidiously the place that is meant to bring them together only drives them further apart.

What they Hear in the Dark is the first publication from Spectral Press. In McMahon Spectral has found an author who knows his craft and has the wherewithal to weave a story that creates horror in visceral and cerebral layers. But it is more than this, whilst the story certainly contains content that will leave any parent either counting their blessings or recoiling in horror, it is also delicate, a tale of loss and despair that is both beautiful and deft.

A wonderful introduction to Spectral Press and a privilege to read;What They Hear in the Dark comes highly recommended. (My emphasis)