A Small Thing for Yolanda reviewed

“This is a superb novella and Jan Edwards packs a multitude of delights into its eighty-six pages. The sense of place is brilliantly done, evoking both the glamour and the intrigue of the Parisian entre-deux-guerres epoch, while still retaining a wry contemporary sensibility. Letitia/Yolanda is an appealing and fascinating creation and her double life nicely sets the tone for a tale where most of the other characters have alter egos and/or hidden agendas. The shift from the world of espionage, political unrest and the emerging struggle between fascists and communists, towards a hidden conflict between occult forces and creatures is tensely and subtly done and while the experienced horror reader may predict a certain direction when Yolanda finds a box of silver bullets, Edwards is too well versed in the supernatural to confine her tale to lycanthropy alone, although, fittingly for a tale set in France, the legend of the Loup-garou does indeed feature.”

Reviewed by Con Connolly in Phantasmagoria 15. Check out the full review on the books page, here.

 

Horrors 2 reviewed

Reviewed on the Runalong the Shelves website

Horror like any genre has some extremes. It could a gentle scare to full-on bloodbath. Sometimes reading helps you work out where your boundaries are or how far into the deep waters I’m prepared to go before turning back. The second Alchemy Press Book of Horrors managed to do just that as many of the stories were brilliantly done but blimey there were often chilling.

So if you’re feeling ready for rich darkness here are a few of the tales in the collection I got struck by ‘Beneath Nambian Sands’ by Pauline E Dungate. This is a atmospheric tale of someone trying a rescue mission in the desert. Its clear something weird has happened but Dungate winds up tension to the last possible moment. And then bloodily unleashed.

‘Promises’ by Nancy Kilpatrick. This story in the collection that tells of love, loss and Whitstable. Horror movie fans may recall it’s famous resident. Melancholy and strange with a haunting ending.

‘The Secret Place’ by Samantha Lee. A mother and her daughter move to a old house or a writing retreat. The daughter left to her own devices make a new friend but tragedy is coming, This story is dark and unfair and chilling all at once. You’ll feel a shiver in the end.

‘Lirpaloof Island’ by Garry Kilworth. This story is dark comedy tale of an office prank that goes awry with deadly consequences. It mixes the absorb and the horror skilfully.

‘The Hate Whisperer’ by Thana Niveau. A really cold story where a young woman investigates how certain people when photographed experienced a massive and deadly change in their personalities. Nasty events spiral and the end is shocking and bloody.

‘We Do Like To Be Beside’ by Peter Sutton. A summer horror holiday that covers a nasty nightmare and that plays with the desire to be free of our families in a very unpleasant way. Great sense of building horror for the incident child experiencing events.

‘Footprints in the Snow’ by Eyglo Karlsdottir. This tale mixes a weird world event with family grief. The dead can return when it snows and now snow can happen at any time. A mother finds her dearest wish can be deadly. Unsettling and bittersweet.

A collection with many strands of horror in there and I think gives a variety of experiences but when it wants to get its teeth into you it does. A set of tales I think seasoned horror fans will enjoy a lot.

For more info on this anthology check out the Horrors 2 page. The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors 2 is available in eBook and print formats from the usual suspects.

Talking to Strangers reviewed

TALKING TO STRANGERS AND OTHER WARNINGS by Tina Rath has been reviewed by John Gilbert in Phantasmagoria magazine issue 15.

When people try to ridicule the horror and fantasy genres as lightweight and frothy or gory and gratuitous puff, I just point them in the direction of authors such as Tina Rath. Dr Rath is truly a renaissance woman; an academic with a fascination for supernatural literature and folklore, an actress, Queen Victoria impersonator, poet, and librarian; she has a formidable intellect and ferocious wit. Oh, and according to Gail Nina-Anderson’s ‘Introduction’ to Talking to Strangers, Tina’s latest short story collection, she is a part-time vampire.

The twenty-nine supernatural tales in her brand new ‘best of’ collection range from the dark and forbidding to the gently humorous, many of them distilling a sense of unease from everyday items in contemporary settings with a hefty sting in the tale. The best stories in the collection demonstrate Dr. Rath’s deep knowledge of classic and contemporary supernatural fiction. Alien encounters is the theme of ‘Talking to Strangers in Finsbury Park’; ‘A Visit to Blastings Manor’ is a superb Christmas ghost story; in ‘This is How It Happened’, a classic fairy tale is given a modern setting. A young cleaner gives a hospital ward an unusually deep clean in ‘Ilona’ and in ‘A Beautiful Boy’, a handsome young man appears to bring out the best and youthfulness renewed in an old folks’ home.

A newcomer at St Walburga’s school shows herself as no geek and no pushover for the bullies in ‘Scruffy The Vampire Slayer’ and a lodger proves more difficult to get rid of than originally anticipated in ‘Sitting Tenant’. ‘Diversion’ takes bus passengers on anything but a magical mystery tour whilst ‘A Trick of The Dark’ poses the fateful question, “What kind of job finishes just at sun-set?”. ‘“It’s White and It Follows Me”’ is a ghostly lament; ‘The Fetch’ in a tale of a ghostly guest first published last year in a collection to commemorate the life of R. Chetwynd-Hayes; in ‘The Bus’, Mrs Fortescue waits for eternity and in the ‘Fifth Sense’ the author engages in some clever lycanthropic olfaction (the lengths to which I go in order to hide spoilers).

Packed full of supernatural fun and surprises, Talking to Strangers… demonstrates the great breadth and depth of Tina Rath’s talent as a writer of supernatural fiction, collecting together the very best of her output during thirty-seven very productive years and four stories which were specially written for this book. Entertaining, dark, perplexing and humorous, the stories will keep horror fans enthralled during many a day in lockdown and beyond.

Talking to Strangers is published by The Alchemy Press and is available from Amazon and other online dealers.

* * * * * *

While we’re here, I thoroughly recommend Phantasmagoria magazine, published by Trevor Kennedy several times a year. Available from Amazon in print and Kindle formats.

 

 

Horrors 2 reviewed

THE ALCHEMY PRESS BOOK OF HORRORS 2: STRANGE STORIES & WEIRD TALES Edited by Peter Coleborn and Jan Edwards

The short fiction market continues to be a tough sell. Few of the magazines that took submissions in the golden ages of genre fiction now exist and those that do are inundated by new authors who believe that writing a short story is easy and quicker than penning a novel. In fact, the short story is no easier to write than a novel or poem and writing a good one demands talent as well as perseverance.

Fortunately, the market for genre short fiction still thrives in the professional publishing arena with publishers such as Jo Fletcher Books, Titan and PS Publishing holding the torch aloft, but it is often in the independent/small press field through which the very life blood of the horror and fantasy genres flows. The writers who appear in small press collections may not have the PR power of Stephen King but their fiction is no less honed and polished for eager readers.

The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors 2 continues this tradition…

Read the full review here.

Best Horror of the Year

Every year sees a new volume in the Ellen Datlow-edited Best Horror of the Year series. The 2019 edition (volume 11), with a terrific cover by Audrey Benjaminsen, features work first published in 2018.

There are over 20 stories in this volume including “Masks” by Peter Sutton, from the pages of The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors. In her introduction, this is what Ellen says of Horrors:

In addition, Ellen lists the full recommended reading list on her blog (it’s in four parts). It includes nine stories from Horrors!

 

Compromising the Truth reviewed

Sam Smith has reviewed Compromising the Truth by Bryn Fortey. He says: “The sign of a good writer: Bryn had me both laughing and in tears, and a couple of times grimacing as I compulsively read on…”

Read Sam’s full review on his blog. Or here.

 

 

Horrors 1 reviewed on Goodreads

This review seemed to have passed us by — it appeared earlier this year on Goodreads. Pamela Scott says: “This collection (The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors) contains some of the best horror fiction I’ve read in ages … It’s great to read an anthology where you love every story in it. There tends to be a mixture of brilliant stores, good stories, okay ones and a couple that aren’t so good. I loved every story in this collection. The stories all fit into the ‘horror’ category, more or less. I loved how diverse and different the stories are. There are no two alike. I especially enjoyed Down Along The Backroads by Jenny Barber, Guising by Gary McMahon, Masks by Peter Sutton and The Trade-Up by James Brogden.”

 

Horrors 1 reviewed by the BFS

The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors gets a lovely review on the British Fantasy Society’s website. The reviewer, H T Scott, says:

The thing about anthologies is that you get a plethora of diversity, which in my humble opinion is no bad thing. The Alchemy Press book of horrors doesn’t disappoint, with contributions from well-known names such as Ramsey Campbell, Samantha Lee, Mike Chinn, and Peter Sutton, there are also a few authors there that I have never read before. Anthologies are a good way to dip your toes in the shallows of someone’s writing, giving the reader, us, an idea of what to expect.should we want to read more of their work One thing is for sure, Peter Coleborn and Jan Edwards have brought together some very talented people and every story in the book 100% deserves to be included.  Unthemed this collection takes the reader to some very dark places.

The full review can be found on the BFS website.

For more information on this book, click here.

 

Horrors Reviewed

There’s a rather wonderful review of The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors in the latest issue (number 9) of Phantasmagoria Magazine:

…It is definitely one of the best anthologies I have come across for quite some time and I would highly recommend it… If the stories weren’t enough, the book is also illustrated throughout with finely drawn headers for each of the stories by the talented Jim Pitts, adding that extra touch of quality to this book…

Read the full review here (scroll down the page to read it).

 

 

Mentioned in Dispatches

In his annual roundup of the year’s best horror books, that fine writer Tom Johnstone mentions The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors. He says:

 …this is a very strong example of that rare thing these days: a non-themed horror anthology, though the accent is very much on the weird and the strange rather than pure horror, but that’s no bad thing. There are some gems here…

Read Tom’s full round up on his blog, here.