Archive for spectral press

SOUL MASQUE By Terry Grimwood – Reviewed

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2013 by stanleyriiks

Printed with the kind permissions of Morpheus Tales Publishing.

Confused. Having read this it’s clear this is an ambitious story, but I learnt almost as much about what was happening from the back cover description as I did from the contents of this limited-edition chapbook. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it; Grimwood writes in a way that makes you want to read more, he makes you want to know more, about the characters and the strange world he creates. But I think he needs more space to work, a story double the length may have made a lot more sense.

Soul Masque is about the battle of good against evil, that age- old tale, but looked at through a brief period in the lives of four flawed and failing characters, when things all come to a head: a woman with cancer held in check by her allegiance to religion, a preacher addicted to drugs, a dominatrix with an angel as a client, a man who must kill to survive…

The more I think about the story the more layers I think I find. The struggle for faith, the struggle to live, dealing with death in its many forms, the very concept of good and evil; there’s a hell of a lot going on here in these 30 pages.

This is a very different book from the Spectral Chapbooks published before this, and yet it sits right at home within them as well. It’s challenging, intelligent, and wholly original. Although it’s not as creepy as Gary McMahon’s effort, or as gory and bloodthirsty as Paul Finch’s, this is horror at its most morally ambiguous.

It is a sad tale of brutality, of abuse, of disease, slaughter, madness, and faith. It is as frustrating as it is enjoyable, leaving the readers with a slightly bitter taste in their mouths like they’ve just had arsenic. A lingering sense of unease and discomfort remains after putting the story down. Grimwood achieves his desired effect of making us think far beyond the story he’s put down on paper. This is a very very clever little book.

Spectral Press again shows why they are at the top of the UK’s small presses.

spectralpress.wordpress.com

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WHAT GETS LEFT BEHIND By Mark West – Reviewed

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2012 by stanleyriiks

With the kind permission of Morpheus Tales Publishing.

I’ve heard the name Mark West, but never read any of his work nor felt the need to pick up either of his novels. After reading this short story from Spectral Press though, I will be seeking out his work. West now has an ardent fan.

This is the story of Mike Bergen, who after thirty years, has gone back home to visit the warehouse where his best friend died in an accident.

The 1981 section of his story is what really drew me in; it’s not only nostalgic and warm, but also helps to set the stage for the present which immediately turns dark and brooding and nasty. The tension ramps up quickly as Mike revisits the warehouse, and West continues to drive forward, pouring on the tension and then pouring on some more.

Great characters, excellent atmosphere, stunning pacing for a short story – this is what I want. This is what I want to read and this is what I want to write. 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.

Best short story of the year, without a doubt.

http://spectralpress.wordpress.com/

Morpheus Tales 18 Supplement OUT NOW! FREE MAGAZINE!

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2012 by stanleyriiks

80 pages of hard work! Blood, sweat and tears! I can’t even tell you how hard I worked on this issue! Ok, yes, I can. It was immense, it almost killed me, but now it’s released! Onto you, the unsuspecting public! Do you know what you’re in for? Horror, SF and Fantasy; reviews, interviews, columns, and articles! Film, book and comic reviews! There’s so much in here, but we even added a massive exclusive preview of the stunning The Function Room: The Kollection by Matt Leyshon, which include the whole of the short story that set it all off, the original “The Function Room”.

How much are we charging for a marvelous 80 pages of entertainment?

Nothing, zilch, nada! It’s free. FREE I tell you. FREEEEEEEEEE!!!

http://issuu.com/morpheustales/docs/18reviews
Or download it in pdf format from the Morpheus Tales website: www.morpheustales.com/reviews.htm

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:

http://issuu.com/morpheustales

MT #14 Supplement out now! FREE Magazine!

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2011 by stanleyriiks

It’s finally arrived. After months of blood, sweat and tears it’s here. Like a new-born baby it seemed like a little bit of fun and then a lot of hard work. But after months of preparation the MT #14 Supplement is now out, ready to be read and downloaded completely free of charge! That’s right, all that hard work and we’re giving it away! The biggest, baddest and bestest issue so far, weighing in at a hefty forty-one pages, it’s filled with interviews, loads of reviews, some great columns, and more. Check it out right now.

The issue version of the MT 14 Supplement is available here:

http://issuu.com/morpheustales/docs/mt14supplement

You can also download a pdf copy here:

http://www.morpheustales.com/mt14supplement.pdf

Now that’s out of the way, work begins on the MT#15 Supplement! I’m currently reading Redlaw by James Lovegrove in preparation. No rest for the wicked! More reviews soon!

WHAT THEY HEAR IN THE DARK By Gary McMahon – Reviewed

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2011 by stanleyriiks

This review is published with the kind permission of Morpheus Tales, where it will appear in the FREE Morpheus Tales Supplement.

Following the murder of their son, Eddie, Rob and Becky decide to renovate a house, to try to take their mind off things, and to give them some time to heal and a project to work on together. But there is a room in the house that is completely empty of noise. The quiet room.

And the parents of the dead child are haunted, and in the quiet room the ghosts come in silence…

McMahon does this kind of story so well it’s quite sickening. How he manages to tug at the heart-strings and draw you in so deeply in the space of a few pages (in this case just twenty two), is nothing short of remarkable.

This is quiet horror in every sense, the theme echoing the contents of the story. Subtlety reins as we watch the characters attempting to deal with their loss, haunted (literally and metaphorically).

This is another haunting story from McMahon that sticks with you long after reading it. One that plays on your mind and touches a sadness inside all of us who have ever lost anyone.

Spectral Press have launched with this stellar title by McMahon, and with only one hundred copies available, I should imagine they will disappear fast. I’d like to see a printed version to see the quality of the finished product (one of the difficulties of reviewing an ebook version), but obviously one of the problems with limited editions prints is availability.

An evocative and compelling story that really gets you in the gut. Powerful and touching, McMahon delves into the true darkness of our hearts.

For more information on Spectral Press or to order a copy of the book visit their website:

http://spectralpress.wordpress.com/