What They Hear In The Dark
by Gary McMahon
Abolisher of Roses
by Gary Fry
Published by Spectral Press, 2011
Spectral Press’s new range of chapbooks is really something special. With a promised line-up that includes many of the best horror authors around, high production values and limited/signed print runs these books are destined to become collectors items. Of course, none of that would matter if the stories were not of high quality, thankfully with these first two in the series that is not a problem.
Gary McMahon’s tale is a typically dark journey into the lives of a couple who’s young son has recently been brutally murdered. They are attempting to refurbish an old property but the house seems to add to their problems, especially the “quiet room”.
This is typical McMahon, bleak, dark and emotionally tough he always manages to engage the reader in his worlds of despair. His horrors are not cartoon monsters or gory ghosts but instead the pummeling realities of everyday life and its bitter rewards. Regular readers will know how highly I rate McMahon’s work and this is yet another addition to an increasingly perfect portfolio.
Gary Fry’s superbly written story takes us into the lives of a married couple. An overbearing husband condescendingly agrees to attend an art exhibition where his wife is displaying her work. He soon finds out that the tables have been turned and the rewards for his years of bullying and abuse lie in waiting. It’s an excellent revenge tale and although it lacks the brutal reality of McMahon’s tale offers a subtle, dark lesson in marital guidance.
Only two chapbooks in and this series is already proving to be unmissable. Required reading for all lovers of dark horror fiction. With more work to come from the likes of Cate Gardner, Paul Finch, Simon Kurt Unsworth and Alison J. Littlewood this collection promises to be a definitive representation of the genre and at only £13.50 for a yearly subscription, an unmissable bargain