Brighton Redemption - Reggie Oliver The Between - Paul Kane His Pale Blue Eyes - David A. Riley The Unquiet Bones - Marie O’ Regan The Rookery - Johnny Mains The Carbon Heart - Conrad Williams[/color]
BITE SIZED HORROR is part of The Obverse Quarterly - a new venture in current small press publishing. Taking our cue from the New English Library paperbacks of the 1970s, Obverse Books are delighted to present a set of four paperback short story collections, available both by annual subscription and as single volumes, each covering an area of interest to the genre fiction fan. From horror to fantasy, science fiction to detective stories, and with brand new stories from the likes of Michael Moorcock, Conrad Williams and Paul Magrs. The Obverse Quarterly has something fresh and unexpected for everyone!
Death Rattles got it's business all done and finished with in under 150 pages, and here's an even snappier six-story volume, coming in at a super-slimline 90 pages all in. The slightly minuscule type may represent a challenge to those whose eyesight was murdered by early entries in the Ghosts & Scholars series, but perseverance pays off from the moment Reggie Oliver dips into the journal of an innocent young curate's experiences in sleaze-ridden Victorian Brighton.
Reggie Oliver – Brighton Redemption : 1885. The Rev. Cyprian Bourne-Webb, youthful new curate at St. Simeon's, is roped into a campaign to reform fallen women by his egocentric superior, the ludicrous Father Devereaux. The Father's current obsession is Alice Southern, Hurst prison's most notorious inmate, convicted of throttling then mutilating her baby step-brother and sister and only spared the rope on account of her tender years. Miss Southern, reaching the end of her minimum twenty-five stretch, has been hard at work on a mosaic for the sacristy floor, and finally makes a full confession of her crime to Devereaux whose glory seeking is sufficiently placated for him to petition for her release. The slightly sinister mosaic is laid, the Free Alice campaign gains influential support despite public outrage, and a spectral figure is witnessed gliding in and around St. Simeon's. Devereaux is in no doubt that God is rewarding his church with its very own miracle - the phantom is the double of Alice Southern - but Rev. Bourne-Webb isn't so sure. Meanwhile the serving girls are leaving the rectory almost as soon as they arrived and the young curate is visited in his nightmares by strangled cherubs ...
Paul Kane – The Between: The day begins dreadfully for Joe Hardwick, trounced by his wife Rachel's dynamic young lawyer, Diane Christie, in the bitter custody wrangle over access to their seven year old son, Louie. It gets a whole lot worse at close of the meeting when, still arguing, Joe and Miss Christie are joined in the elevator by security guard Len, a young couple and their daughter, and a whiskey-reeking tramp. The lift breaks down between floors - except there are no longer any floors, just a black expanse of nothingness where the world outside ought to be and a huge, hungry something determined to feast on Joe, Miss Christie, and their fellow passengers.
David A. Riley - His Pale Blue Eyes: Reads like a companion piece to Romero's Children in 7th Black Book Of Horror which is no bad thing. It's been over twenty-four hours now and ten-year-old Allison's parents still haven't returned from the supermarket. Armed with a rifle, she sets off to the rescue, doing her best to keep out of the clutches of the zombies. During the course of her terrifying journey she saves the lives of van driver Greg and his two sons who she persuades to search for her mum and dad. They eventually spot them on the mini-mart roof, hurling slabs down at a forty-strong mob of hungry corpses, whereupon Alice makes a snap decision which may not be in the best interests of Greg and his kids ....
Not quite sure how "New English Library" came to be dragged into the blurb, but that is three neat, properly horrible supernatural stories on the spin and you can't ask for better than that!
To be continued ...
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.