Nick Shadow (Shaun Hutson) - The Midnight Library 1: Voices (Hodder, October 2005)
Voices A Perfect Fit An Apple A Day
Blurb: Welcome to the terrifying world of The Midnight Library.
I, Nick Shadow, have spent many years searching for the most spine-chilling stories in existence. Now, at last, I have chosen to share with you the best of my collection.
Read on ... if you dare!
Kate knows that something is wrong when she starts hearing voices in her head. But she doesn't know what the voices mean, or what terror they will lead her to ..
As his reverential handling of the Revenge Of Frankenstein novelization ably demonstrates, he does know the meaning of restraint, but even so, dare we trust creepy Uncle Shaun to read the little ones a bedtime story? We wouldn't want him to fill impressionable minds with life's worth living/ happy endings happen/ people always have your best interests at heart/ or any of that preposterous garbage. Rest assured, on the evidence of the story sampled, Mr. Slugs can safely be relied upon to traumatise the tiny ones.
A Perfect Fit: A week before SportCity is burned to the ground in a suspected arson attack, Justin Vafadari is awarded a flash pair of trainers on becoming their ten thousandth customer. The fancy footwear greatly improves his footballing skills ("Twelve goals in one game. That's got to be some kind of record."), but there is a downside. They are possessed by the soul of the disgruntled SportCity employee who died setting the inferno.
The boots trample mum's flowerbed, vandalise old grouch-bag Mr. Wilson's fence, and thieve a fiver from Justin's pal, but that's merely them getting acclimatised. When, during a burglary, a man is kicked into intensive care, the boy resolves to destroy his prized possession.
Justin sets off along the busy high-street - lots of lovely heavy traffic! - toward the town dump.....
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.