Vault of Evil has started a special thread on that site with an ongoing summary and critique of my collection, The Lurkers in the Abyss.
"With a novel and umpteen collections on the go, swore I'd resist even
the tiniest peek at this for time being, but, you know, Mr. Sutton's
typically informative introduction only runs to four pages, what harm
can it do, etc. It was the fatal reference to the theme of Writer's Cramp cracked my resolve ....
Cheery anthropologist Elliot Wilderman arrives in the decrepit hamlet
of Heron to room at the solitary inn. His generosity at the bar soon
wins over the taciturn locals, and in no time he has accumulated much
valuable data pertaining to local tradition and legend. But still one
mystery remains. Why do the populace hide themselves away behind stout
locks at nightfall, and, stranger still, what's with the plates of raw
meat they leave outside their doors? His landlady, Mrs. Jowitt, cautions
him to do as they do, stay indoors nights and avoid the mouldering huts
on the edge of town, but Mr. Wilderman is of nosey disposition. A fog
descends on Heron. What harm can it do to lean out of his window and
watch for those who come to claim their meal?
The title story is perhaps better known, but for this reader, After Nightfall
is Mr. Riley's 'seventies masterpiece. The author likely had the
typical Lovecraft New England setting in mind for his location, but, for
me, Heron anticipates Chetwynd-Hayes' Loughville.
Writer's Cramp: With a deadline impending and the new issue still eight pages shy of completion, Cartwright-Hughes, slimy literary editor of Digest of Horror
magazine, plagiarises the plot of a submission from unknown author A.
J. Dymchurch of Oswaldtwistle, Lancs. Rubbish writer he may be, but
Dymchurch is an accomplished Black Magician, and, unless he receives a
very public apology, Cartwright-Hughes is for the chop.
Out of Corruption:
Set in 1934, very Lovecraftian in feel but - mercifully - minus any
Cthulhu Mythos overkill. Our narrator, Raymond Gregory pays a visit to
his friend John Poole who has recently moved to the grim and depressing
Elm Tree House in Fenley Wood. Poole, an occult dabbler, gives Gregory
the guided tour and the more his guest sees of the place, the less he
likes it. The house gives off terrible vibes, most notably the pentagram
of slime in the cellar. Neither is he over-keen on the tramp-like
fellow who has taken to prowling nightly in the garden.
learns from local librarian Desmond Foster that Elm Tree House was built
on the site of a 13th Century Abbey torn down when the locals
discovered the Holy Fathers were worshippers of Satan. The Monks were
the lucky ones - they were merely slaughtered on the spot. The Abbot was
half-hung, disembowelled and quartered alive. His last sneered
utterance - "The dead rise and come to me" - suggests he didn't mind
such treatment in the slightest. His gibbeted remains mysteriously
disappeared that same night.
With Poole reduced to a gibbering
imbecile, it's obvious to Foster and Gregory that their friend's foolish
meddling in the dark arts has revived the Abbot and his rotting
accomplices. The worst news is, the Abbot firmly believes in taking his
revenge in kind ...
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