Novel - The Return

If you are interested in reading more it's available both as a paperback and an ebook on Amazon:

Reviewers (whether for magazines, websites or blogs) can get a mobi copy for their kindles, computers, etc., or, if they prefer, a copy of the paperback by emailing me on

Published by Blood Bound Books 2013.

There are now links to buy copies of this book on and

Kindle versions of my novel are available for £1.99 at and for $3.19 at

The cover is by the brilliant Croatian artist Andrej Bartulovic.

The Return is set in Edgebottom, which contains the district of Grudge End, both of which have featured in a number of my stories over the past few years, including Lock-In, The Fragile Mask on His Face, The Worst of all Possible Places, The True Spirit, Old Grudge Ender, and Scrap (out soon in Dark Visions 1 from Grey Matter Press). In his review of my collection, His Own Mad Demons, Jim Mcleod (Gingernuts of Horror) wrote: "Robert Rankin has his Brighton, Terry Pratchett has his Discworld, and so David A. Riley has his Edgebottom, and I for one know which of these worlds I would like to take a return trip to."


Phantamagoria Magazine

To paraphrase Shakespeare, there is something rotten in the Northern English town of Edgebottom, especially within the district of the appropriately named Grudge End. The ground there is sour, cursed for centuries perhaps. The powerful Malleson family have owned the now derelict mill at the epicentre of the area for decades, a family with some twisted secrets of their own. Over the years, countless horrors have occurred in Grudge End; brutal ritualistic murders, whole families massacred with their heads removed, and many others driven to insanity and suicide by the catalogue of ghastly events there.
Gary Morgan is a man with a rather shady past, to say the least. He grew up in Grudge End and when he was a teenager his drunken brute of a father was viciously butchered in what was believed by many locals to be an occult-related murder. Although having moved away from the area for quite some time, Gary’s own life has been shrouded with criminal connections and several failed marriages. He decides to return to his home town for one last time before the streets and mills where he spent his youth are pulled down for good. And to escape the clutches of some quite nasty London-based gangsters as well.
On his return, Gary bumps into an old school friend of his, Kevin Cross, whose increasingly manic paranoia surrounding ‘something’ in town is just the tip of the very dark iceberg of what is to follow. When Kevin has his arm savagely hacked off by a mysterious assailant, a series of events begin to unravel, all connected to Gary, the vile Malleson family, and the deep, ancient secrets of Edgebottom. As the bodies begin to mount up and the baffled police close in, something very Old is awakening from a long slumber…
Bloody hell, it really is grim up north! And down south in London too, it appears. Author David A. Riley presents us with an extremely violent, bleak, fantastically weaved tale that could perhaps best be described as H.P. Lovecraft meets the Kray twins via the kitchen sink British realism films of the late 1950s/early ‘60s. It is gloriously dark in Edgebottom, literally and figuratively, from the highly sinister occult goings on, to the East End gangsters out for their pound of flesh. Even the weather here is persistently miserable, with its torrential rain, bitter coldness and overcast skies.
Riley’s story is expertly created throughout, with the narrative point-of-view seamlessly switching between the main protagonist, the investigating police detectives, the gangsters, and so on. The building tension and mystery surrounding the town is both gripping and morbidly fascinating. When the real horror kicks in around the second half of the book, the appearance of the satyr-esque being is indeed a sight to behold. A truly terrifying, seemingly unstoppable creation of pure unadulterated evil.
There are the aforementioned homages to Lovecraft, more so towards the end, however these slide in perfectly to the rest of Riley’s tale, one that would still stand strong on its own even without the Lovecraftian influences.
A definite recommendation for fans of grim horror and HPL alike.

In December 2014 there was a great write-up about The Return on the Weird Tales facebook.
Hellnotes review:

Reviewed by David T. Wilbanks
Gary Morgan is a tough-as-nails London gangster as well as the lead character in David A. Riley’s novel The Return. After participating in a gangland shooting, with plans to hide out in his long-neglected hometown of Edgebottom, Gary soon discovers that the mill town’s bad reputation hasn’t improved at all over the years; in fact, strange occurrences are on the rise and he finds himself caught in a situation that gets more bizarre the longer he hangs around. So, with full intentions of leaving town and lying low somewhere less threatening, he instead finds himself slipping further and further toward the dreary town’s evil heart.
The creepy artwork by Andrej Bartulovic on the book’s cover broadcasts where this one is heading. Anyone with a craving for bleak crime fiction crossed with the Lovecraftian/occult should enjoy this well-crafted work of looming darkness. Compellingly, the novel follows Gary and the local police as they experience what turns out to be otherworldly mayhem. Pure malevolence, revealed slowly with hair-raising detail, will keep horror fans riveted as they turn pages toward the chilling and merciless conclusion. Celebrated British author David A. Riley has been in the business of writing horror, fantasy and science fiction for several decades now and this storytelling experience is reflected in his work.  The Return is a grim, bloody book set firmly in the UK horror tradition, and will make a fine addition to any collection.

A great review of my horror novel The Return on the Vault of Evil by site administrator Demonik (Kevin Demont):

"Reminds me of photos I saw in a book. Jack the Ripper's last victim. Mary Kelly... At least they were only black and white." Inspector Ray Parks meets what is left of the luckless author of Hell's Cesspit: The Story Of Grudge End.

Meanwhile, back with those fun loving, demon raising Grudge Enders, the return of a prodigal son sparks a new wave of ultra violence.

Correctly nailed for the murder of a South London gangster, Gary Morgan, hit man, high tails it up the motorway, back to his despised childhood neighbourhood Grudge End with the fearsome Broadman mob on his trail. Morgan arrives just in time to witness the demolition of the family home during the slum clearance of Randall Street. He's not sad to see it go. The place holds hideous memories of a dreadful childhood. His father, a brutal drunk, was murdered in 1968 by persons unknown. Who or whatever was responsible broke every bone in his hateful body. His old school-friend Kevin Cross never escaped Grudge End. He's spent the past few decades researching the violent and diabolical history of the area and his findings have left him a paranoid wreck - with good reason. There is evil abroad, always has been, and it can be traced back to the bowels of a disused factory owned by the obscenely wealthy and depraved Malleson family, once the main job providers for the local population.

Pitched somewhere between Get Carter and The Call Of Cthulhu - although, mercifully, the author never allows the story to get bogged down in mythos gibberish - The Return is a fast paced horror thriller with several nasty moments, including some seriously brutal scythe action involving the cover star. Long time Riley readers will appreciate the references to his back catalogue (toward the close, there is even a walk on for Dag and the teen cultists from The Lurkers In The Abyss[/i After what amounts to a post-Beyond decade in the wilderness, what with His His Own Mad Demons, the aforementioned Lurkers ,,,,, and now this debut novel, Mr. R. is on a roll.

The Return is included in Robert Essig's Killer Reads in 2013.

"There's always a lot of interest in the Lovecraft mythos. Maybe too much, but, as with zombies and vampires, I will dip my toes into that type of horror tale from time to time, particularly when I know how good the author is. The Return by David A. Riley is a dark, depressing tale of Lovecraftian mystery and plenty of horror. If you haven't read David A. Riley then you need to pick up one of his 2013 releases and rectify that. He's been publishing short stories professionally for decades and I'm glad he has finally given us such a fantastic novel."

Killer Reads in 2013

There's a great 5-star review for The Return on

"The genres of crime and horror have always skipped hand in hand like a deranged Jack and Jill (see "Falling Angel" and "The Damnation Game") and with "The Return" David A Riley continues this tradition. If you like your cosmic horror to be tinged with the darkness of the human condition that can be seen in noir-ish crime then this is the book for you.
Riley evokes a wonderful sense of place in the rundown Grudge End, a place that is dying but the creatures that dwell within will tear the world apart as they try to enact their own return just as our protagonist does returning to the place where he is from now that he has nothing left.
I would recommend this book to both fans of Lovecraftian fiction and those who like their horror tales to be fused with the gritty reality of the old ones - a kind of "Cthulhu tries to Get Carter""

The Heavenmakers blogsite: (Craig Herberston)

Horror writer Craig Herbertson has provided the first review of my Lovecraftian horror novel The Return on his Heavemakers blog.

"Mr. Fosset, making a brief appearance in this work by David A. Riley says “Dark, bleak, nihilistic stuff. Not the kind of thing to take to bed for a good night’s sleep.” Admirably summarizing this new work by a veteran author who many horror aficionados will have encountered in the legendary Pan Horror series and subsequent ‘best of’ collections. There is a reason why I mention’ best of’. Riley has produced some fine short stories and I was curious as to how his undoubted skill as a short story author would translate on the wider screen
The answer is very well. Fans of Grudge End, a horrible place full of horrible places, will lap this up. “Even in bright daylight the five-storey building looked dark, forbidding, and sordidly utilitarian.” – a good description of Riley’s bleak uncompromising prose – sparse, economical and clinically scary.
Riley has produced one of his marvelous anti-heroes in Gary Morgan. I won’t go too much into plot because a large part of this work is dependant on a slow build up of dark energies contained in the utterly mundane. Gary is not what he seems and the reader will be surprised that at the conclusion of this story you’ll find yourself drawn to a real sympathy with the character.
A thoroughly enjoyable read and I would ignore Mr. Fossett and start it late at night.. You’ll finish before dawn…I hope."

 A nice 5-star review on Amazon from Vulpine:

"If you like your eldritch horrors with a English accent, this is the book for you. A nice slow burn of creepy development, with some surprises and a general all around 'do not want to put this book down' feel. The monsters show up fairly early, but the details are vague and misty to start. My only 'complaint' is a desire for more backstory, but there are more stories set in the general area around Grudge End, so I'll go find those and see if they explain things. But that's not a real complaint, just a personal thing when it comes to Lovecraftian stories, I want to know the secrets."

A great review from Douglas Draa of Weird Tales.

"The Long Good Friday" meets "the Mythos",

December 23, 2014
This review is from: The Return (Kindle Edition)
Folks, if you are only going to buy one book right now then this is it!
You don't even have to be a "Mythos" fan to receive maximum enjoyment!

David A. Riley's "The Return" is an amazing read. Do you like gritty noir? Brit Horror? Masculine (but not macho) protagonists? Eldritch Horror in bleak industrial slums? "The Long Good Friday" meets "the Mythos"? The writing is dense and sleek. Never boring enthralling page turners. Do you like to read just a few more pages even though you need to sleep? Then this is THE BOOK!

I read this in record time. What is amazing is that you get over 270 pages of story. There's no fluff or padding. Every single word is dedicated to moving the plot along. Mr. Riley doesn't waste one single word.
And what a plot it is.
Gary Morgan, a mob enforcer on the run, returns to his hometown of Edgebottom to visit the neighborhood he grew up in. The now abondoned mill quarter of "Grudge End". "Grudge End" was a nest of dispair, pain, deprivity,violence, and eldritch horror.

I won't give anything away, but once Gary returns homes, things go from being bad, but managable, to becoming a waking nightmare as forces from beyond both the law and reality as we know it set their sights on Gary.