Archive for gary mcmahon

MEAT By Joseph D’Lacey – Reviewed

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2013 by stanleyriiks

I originally read MEAT in 2008, it was the first novel by an unknown (to me) writer named D’Lacey. I was actually shocked, shocked, by one scene. I’d never been shocked before, and having read horror for twenty-odd years I didn’t expect to be shocked. I was surprised to be shocked (of course since then I’d read Gary McMahon and Andy Remic!).

I enjoyed MEAT immensely, and have been a fan of D’Lacey ever since, he is a story teller with an agenda, but he never lets that get in the way of a good story. MEAT is being re-released by Oak Tree Press and it’s about damn time. If you want to read a scary book then you need to read this one, it’s sheer brutality is a joy to behold. It’s shocking in a way that very few books can ever be. This is D’Lacey at his brutal best, the original review and I stand by it. Read this book people, read it now!

It’s very difficult to review a book without giving away the basic premise, but I’m going to have to try because it’s such a good surprise that I really don’t want to spoil it for you.

But you should read this book, and you should find out what the surprise is for yourself.

I devoured it in three days, and had to chuck my girlfriend out of the flat so that she would not distract me. And she’s a pretty nice distraction!

Richard Shanti works at Magnus Meat Processing, a huge slaughterhouse that provides all the meat, and through methane processing, the power for the town of Abryne. He’s known as The Ice Pick and he’s MMP’s top stunner, the man who puts the bolt into the brain of the cattle. But Richard starts to think that something is wrong at MMP, something very wrong.

There are various other strands to the plot, including a mad, half-starved prophet intent on ruining MMP whatever the costs, someone trying to find out the truth about the Ice Pick, Magnus himself protecting his monopoly at any cost.

This is so much more than a horror novel, although it contains one of the most horrifying scenes I’ve ever read, and I’m a veteran of the splatterpunk era and video nasties. It’s at once, a horror, science fiction, and morality tale.

Brutal and tender at the same time, MEAT is a highly accomplished first novel from an author who shows a lot of promise.

13: Tales of Dark Fiction – 15% Discount on 13th of May

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2013 by stanleyriiks

Morpheus Tales Publishing is so proud to print a story of mine in their first original anthology (alongside such heroes of mine as Joseph D’Lacey, Gary McMahon, Eric S. Brown, Shaun Jeffrey, Tommy B. Smith, Alan Spencer, Matt Leyshon, and a handful of other great writers [Andrew Hook, William R. D. Wood, Gary Fry, and Fred Venturini] I was less familiar with but equally pleased to be published alongside) , that on the 13th are every month they offer the book at a 15% discount!

Go and get your copy now and read one of my favourite stories, inspired by using the women’s toilets at work when the men was out of action. Post-apocalyptic dystopian misery…

The ebook is also available on amazon for kindle, and through smashwords in multiple formats.

The Function Room: The Kollection By Matt Leyshon – Reviewed

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2012 by stanleyriiks

This is horror pornography. A non-stop and diverse collection of violent and brutal filth. The pages literally drip with ruin. This is horror for horror fans. This is for those wishing to push the boundaries of taboo.

Those familiar with Morpheus Tales will know of Leyshon’s work, the first of the Function Room stories have featured within the magazine’s pages, and these are true works of genius. Uninhibited, utterly sensual in their horroristic descriptions, his stories are thick with atmosphere. Reading the Function Room stories is like watching a snuff movie, hideously depraved and yet so fascinating you can’t take your eyes off it.

But this is just part of the Kollection, although many of the stories are linked and contain familiar characters, there are a few stand-alone, or less obviously connected, stories. There is a wide range here, from the dripping filth of “The Function Room” to mysterious Lovecraftian towns, mass suicides, vampiric creatures, nasty children and loads more. A full bucket of originality, depth, characterisation and atmosphere. Leyshon does not hold back, he is unafraid of exploring the darkness of humanity in the same way Clive Barker or Gary McMahon do.

My favourite are definitely the Function room stories, where his heavily stylised world drips with filth and decay. Leyshon writes stories that are so visceral and dripping with atmosphere and filth you feel the need for a shower afterwards. These stories are written with a knowledge of depravity that makes me smile. Very few stories, and this is especially difficult with short stories, can give you such a feeling of immersion that you feel disgusted and unclean. Leyshon’s twisted vision is sheer genius.

Having read far too many single author collections and anthologies this year (I much prefer novels), there is only one collection that every horror fan should read and that is The Function Room: The Kollection. It will likely disgust some, send others whimpering to their bed, but will also put a sick and disturbed grin on some (including my own) faces.

This first collection from Leyshon promises much and deliveries in filthy, dirty, brutal blood-filled bucket loads. I cannot remember when I felt impure and entertained at the same time. Twisted genius.

Also available through amazon, on kindle and


Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2012 by stanleyriiks

Review published courtesy of Morpheus Tales Publishing.


This is the third and final chapter in McMahon’s splendidly brooding Concrete Grove trilogy.

Reading the first two parts of this story isn’t essential to your enjoyment, as the third novel, like the other two, stands on its own, but they are interlinked, and knowing what’s going on beforehand will greatly enhance your understanding of the Grove and appreciation for the events unfolding therein.

This book has several cleverly woven plot strands, including: Marc Price, visiting the Grove for a funeral and investigating the Northumberland Poltergeist, discovers a lot more than he bargained for while delving into his dead friend’s archive; Eric Best, a gangland thug and  protective ex-boyfriend to Abby, will stop at nothing to keep his ex for himself, including murder; DS Royle is separated from his pregnant wife, who can’t live with him or without him, meanwhile, the policeman is investigating the disappearance of the Gone Away Girls, a series of unsolved kidnappings, and then scarecrows start appearing with photos of the missing girls attached… post-mortem photos.

Beyond Here Lies Nothing has the same heavy, brooding atmosphere of the first two books. It is stifling and you can’t get away from it, which adds to the increasing drama, both human and supernatural. Although the human beings in McMahon’s novels are horrible enough, he doesn’t rest there, inserting some strange and spookily unreal action along the way.

Although this is an ensemble piece and lacks the depth of characterisation of the stunning second book in the series, Silent Voices, it is more ambitious in scale and plot. Both previous books lead in to this catastrophic finale.

Although not as brutal and nasty as some of his other novels, this isn’t quiet horror; it still hurts, and that’s what horror is all about – making the reader feel. McMahon does this by drawing us into his story, creating realistically flawed characters and brutally punishing them.

McMahon has his finger firmly on the carotid artery of modern horror.  No horror fan should be without the entire Concrete Grove trilogy and the Thomas Usher novels.

October Morpheus Tales Supplement out this weekend!

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2012 by stanleyriiks

The huge Morpheus Tales Supplement will be out this weekend! I promise! Working hard right now to fit everything in, unfortunately late reviews of Gary McMahon’s Beyond Here Lies Nothing, the final novel in the Concrete Grove trilogy made it in too late to be included, as did the review of Mark West’s What Gets Left Behind from Spectral Press. Both are excellent, and reviews will be appearing here soon.

You want sneaky peaks of the reviews? (Be warned these are unproofed!)

Beyond Here Lies Nothing By Gary McMahon

“This is the third and final chapter in McMahon’s splendidly brooding Concrete Grove trilogy.”

“Although the human beings in McMahon’s novels are horrible enough, he doesn’t rest there, inserting some strange and spookily unreal action along the way.”

“McMahon has his finger firmly on the pulse (the carotid artery) of modern horror.  No horror fan should be without the entire Concrete Grove trilogy and the Thomas Usher novels.”

What Gets Left Behind By Mark West

“I’ve heard the name Mark West, but never read any of his work and not felt the need to pick up either of his novels. After reading this short story from Spectral Press though, West now has an ardent fan, I will be seeking out his work.”

“I can’t remember when I’ve read a short story this good. West has done a grand job and the usually excellent quality of the Spectral Press chapbooks is nudged up to stunning with this.”

The October issue of the MT Supplement will be around 80 pages, and include a massive preview of Matt Leyshon’s The Function Room: The Kollection, which launches on 31st of October. I’ll be reviewing the book around launch time, but from what I’ve seen so far (some of the stories have featured in Morpheus Tales Magazine) it’s going to be amazing!

In the meantime check out the past issues  of the MT Supplement and other free magazines and previews from Morpheus Tales here:

HELL TO PAY By Shaun Hutson – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2012 by stanleyriiks

This book from 2004, follows a similar pattern to Hutson’s other “horror’ thrillers of the time such as White Ghost.  Around this time, Huston seems to leave the supernatural horror of his previous books behind and head into this new “thriller” territory. Normally there would still be plenty of violence and disturbing gruesome descriptions (that Hutson’s known for) to up the ante on the usual thrillers out there.

Hell to Pay follows the same principles, including the various plot-lines intersecting towards the end for a climactic showdown.

Nikki Reed is in trouble, big trouble. Her and her husband owe the local gangster twenty thousand pounds, most of it spent down the bookies and gambled away, the rest spent on Playstation 2s and similar unrequired accessories. They have until the end of the week to find the money, or they’re likely to be killed by the loan shark, who is already threatening them with violence.

Roma Todd is having an affair. Her husband is virtually estranged, spending all of his time at work and providing little in the way of parental support for their ill daughter Kirsten.

Detective Inspector Fielding is called to another murder. A young boy found washed up by a lake. The third child to be killed. Is it a serial killer they are looking for or a paedophile? Or both? With few clues to follow the police are searching for any lead they can get.

So these three plot lines will eventually intersect, but the climatic action denouement that you would expect ultimately fails to be realised. There is a slight twist, but not enough to satisfy.

One of the great things about Hutson’s novels is the pop-culture references, but reading a book that’s eight years old mean searching through the annals of history. That’s not Hutson’s fault obviously, the fact the book has been lying on my shelf for eight years though is down to the dissatisfied feeling I had after reading White Ghost. That is Hutson’s fault.

Ultimately Hutson is a decent writer who has moved away from what he was good at, writing horror novels, to have a go at the more lucrative thriller market where he does not excel. Nowadays Gary McMahon does urban horror with a much better grasp of the intricacies of modern youth culture, and a better handle on violence and atmosphere.

To write off Hutson as a has-been based on a book written eight years ago is far too harsh. Some of his novels, those that I grew up with such as Nemesis, Death Day, and Relics, are classic British horror. I need to read a more recent Hutson novel to make a more informed decision, and because of his former skill he can’t be written off after a couple of decent, if not impressive, horror thrillers. Decision pending…

Morpheus Tales July Supplement – Coming Soon!

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2012 by stanleyriiks

Right now I’m working hard on the July issue of the FREE MT Supplement! It’s gonna be another big one at around 40 pages! We’ve got the usual excellent reviews and columns, also a slew of new comic reviews, and loads more. The MT Supplement can be downloaded or read on the website:

Here’s a preview of the almost finish table of contents:

DARK NORTH By Paul Finch
A JAR OF WASPS By Luis Villazon
Horror’s New Chopping Block By Alan Spencer
SINFUL By Yolanda Sfetsos
TOXICITY By Andy Remic
How to Write a Book at Gunpoint By Luis Villazon
Ramblings of a Tattooed Head By Simon Marshall-Jones
GHOST WRITER (Kindle edition) By Tom C. Underhill
RAILSEA By China Mieville
DARK ECLIPSE #9 (the Dark Moon e-zine)
vN By Madeline Ashby
SUSTENANCE By Nate D. Burleigh
From the Catacombs: Graphic Lovecraft By Jim Lesniak
HUNTER’S MOON By Charlotte Bond
Matt Leyshon Interview
EVA – A GHOST STORY By Mike Emmett
Shaun Jeffrey Interview

See, I told you! Loads of stuff!This might not be the final order, but everything listed above will be appearing in the July issue.

Might even be able to squeeze in a mini scream queen interview. That should probably read scream queen mini interview, not mini scream queen!


SILENT VOICES By Gary McMahon – Reviewed

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2012 by stanleyriiks

This review is published with the permission of Morpheus Tales.

Wow! It’s very rare for me to be this impressed by a book. McMahon has produced a fantastic novel, a book of friendship, loss, heartache, and sacrifice.  If you have not read McMahon before, then this is the perfect book to start with.

The second book in the Concrete Grove Trilogy (but a stand-alone novel that works just as well if you haven’t read the first book in the set, although I would recommend it as the first book really sets the changes and starts things off with a bang), sees the reuniting of a group of childhood friends, who twenty years ago went into the abandoned tower block known as the Needle and lost a weekend, only to be found abused and bloodied with no memory of what happened. Finally back together, they head back to where their lives changed, the Needle, to fight whatever demons are there and try to remember what happened that fateful weekend.

The Grove is a hellish place, and if you grew up on a council estate it may ring a little too true, and feel a little too close to home. The unease McMahon creates with his setting is perfectly and sadly authentic.

McMahon’s novel is so well put together, the sense of foreboding, the creeping unease, and the disturbed atmosphere McMahon gradually builds, grow through the novel towards a heart-wrenching climax that leaves you torn and wounded. The characters here are real, you know them.

This is not just a horror novel, this is an intelligent and insightful social commentary; a literary, character-driven novel that delves deeper into our hopes and fears, our shame, guilt and pain, than many other writers dare look.

I always come to a McMahon book with high hopes; his Pretty Little Dead Things is a brutal and twisted vision of genius that is in my top ten books of all time. But that means expectations are high, and that can be a double-edged sword. I look for failures and weaknesses in everything, and usually have no problem finding many, but Silent Voices is good. Really good. Bloody good.  McMahon has done it again; he’s impressed the hell out of me. He’s written an extremely accomplished, intelligent and insightful novel that goes far beyond the genre boundaries.

All horror writers should read McMahon; he shows them how it’s really done. Silent Voices is a disturbing tale of friendship and sacrifice, and McMahon is a master craftsman.

Free April MT Supplement – Coming Soon!

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2012 by stanleyriiks

The April issue of the MT Supplement is well under way! Although less underway than we normally are with only a few days till the 1st of launch month! Due to circumstances beyond our control (or me being a lazy slacker) the issue is not ready yet, there’s still plenty of work to do, but it will definitely be ready by Easter weekend!

Here’s a preview of the contents. This is going to be the biggest ever issue of the MT Supplement as it will include a massive preview of 13: Tales of Dark Fiction preview and review section, plus the usual host of reviews, articles, interviews and columns. I can guarantee this is not the final order of contents, I need to do a lot more work before this weekend.

It will be out in early April, although possibly not the first.

Go check out the website for past issues if you can’t wait:

VIVISEPLTURE Edited By Andy Remic and Wayne Simmons
THE FACELESS By Simon Bestwick
The Involuntary Spasm of Writing By Alan Spencer
ROUGH MUSIC By Simon Kurt Unsworth
GIANT THIEF By David Tallerman
THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BODY HORROR Edited By Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan
Ramblings of a Tattooed Head By Simon Marshall-Jones
THE NOCTUARY By Greg Chapman
DESOLATE (Kindle edition) By Robert Brumm Jr.
MILE 81 (Kindle edition) By Stephen King
DEADFALL HOTEL By Steve Rasnic Tem
THE SEA OF FLESH AND ASH By Jeffrey Thomas and Scott Thomas
13:  Tales of Dark Fiction
Introduction to 13: Tales of Dark Fiction
Civil Beasts By Eric S Brown
Dirty Story By Gary McMahon
If You Lay Here Quiet Next to Me By Alan Spencer
Desperate Measures By Stanley Riiks
The Tax Collector By Tommy B. Smith
Organ Grinder By William R.D. Wood
The Machine By Fred Venturini
To Hear a New World By Matt Leyshon
Whatever it takes By Joseph D’Lacey
Wounder By Andrew Hook
Mongrel Days By Andy Remic
103 By Shaun Jeffrey
The Watchers at Work By Gary Fry
13: TALES OF DARK FICTION Edited By Adam Bradley
13: TALES OF DARK FICTION Edited by Adam Bradley
13: TALES OF DARK FICTION Edited by Adam Bradley


13: Tales of Dark Fiction

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2011 by stanleyriiks

13: Tales of Dark Fiction is without a doubt the most important book of the year. Not only does it feature my story “Desperate Measures”, a solid little post-apocalyptic tale, although I do say so myself, it also features my story alongside some of my heroes.

13: Tales of Dark Fiction is a marvellous book, and I’ll tell you why…

It starts off with a Bigfoot story set during the American Civil War by Zombie/Bigfoot master Eric S. Brown. Bigfoot plus war equals great fun, the story packs a punch and a half.

The second story, entitled “Dirty Story”, is by Gary McMahon. Do I need say more? McMahon is a genius. His stories are brutally honest, heart-wrenching, and hurt like no one else’s. His stories are darker, more disturbing, more menacing than anyone’s except may be Stephen King on his best day, and deeply wounding to the reader. McMahon is my hero, and always will be for the masterpiece of horror fiction that Pretty Little Dead Things.

Alan Spencer has been a regular contributor to Morpheus Tales since the beginning and he always produces good solid fiction. With his story in 13 he has outdone himself. “If You Lay Here Quiet Next to Me” is a masterly tale, subtle and spooky, with an underlying menace that lingers long after you finish reading.

Next comes my story. I can’t say much, just read it for yourselves.

“The Tax Collector” by Tommy B. Smith reminds me of Jonah Hex and Joe R. Lansdale’s stories, which is high praise indeed. This ghostly western is tense and atmospheric. Tommy edited both the Dark Sorcery Special and the Urban Horror Special (in which he published my story “Shoot Out”) and like Alan has been published in Morpheus Tales magazine several times.

William R.D. Wood’s “Organ Grinder” is a fun tale of death and brutality. There’s a level of intelligent nastiness here which is creepy. You’ve gotta love it! I will never see to the circus/fun fair in the same light again.

I was massively impressed with Fred Venturini’s novel The Samaritan. It is an incredible story which tugs at the heart-strings, and makes you read on to find out what disturbing and twisted thing is going to happen next. His story “The Machine” returns to a classic theme of dangerous science. Clever ideas and a good amount of tension make this story difficult to put-down.

Matt Leyshon is working on a collection for Morpheus Tales. His stories are thick with atmosphere, and his writing is heavily stylised, his world drips with filth and decay. “To Hear a New World” wraps you up in the music, twists and spins you into insanity.

“Whatever It Takes” By Joseph D’Lacey is a story every writer can understand. The author of MEAT and The Garbage Man offers a unique and insightful perspective on the horrors of writing, and what writers are prepared to do to get where they want to be. Another tales that lingers.

I first became aware of Andrew Hook from his exceptional small-press imprint Elastic Press, which published some great collections, including the amazingly memorable Gareth L. Powell’s The Last Reef. Sadly Andrew closed down Elastic Press, fortunately it was to concentrate on his writing. “Wounder” is a very smooth and subtle addition to the book, a twisted urban fantasy that creeps under your skin.

“Mongrel Days” by the powerhouse that is Andy Remic is a twisted SF story. As you would expect, there is full-on (FULL-ON!!!) action and adventure, with a dark underlying menace just beneath the surface. Remic is a demented genius, seemingly at home writing thrillers, horror, SF or fantasy. It is for his fantasy trilogy the Clockwork Vampire Chronicles, and particularly Kell The Legend, that I will always love him (in a manly non-sexual way!), for making me feel as excited as a four year old again.

Shaun Jeffrey’s novel The Kult is a cracking crime/thriller/horror novel. For his contribution to 13 he provides a nasty story of greed and revenge.

The final story that makes up 13 is Gary Fry’s “The Watchers at Work”. I first read Fry’s Spectral Press chapbook Abolisher of Roses, a subtle and engaging story. “The Watchers at Work” is the longest story in the book, but Fry knows how to make every word count. He builds the tension and atmosphere like a conductor with an orchestra. Expertly written, it makes you feel exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. A great story to end an impressive collection.

13 has been a labour of love for its editor, and the passion shines through. 13: Tales of Dark Fiction is a remarkable anthology, and I am ever so grateful to be a part of it alongside some great names and amazing stories.

 13: Tales of Dark Fiction

Available from and all good booksellers

 Available as an ebooks in many formats: