Thursday 27 March 2014

Peaky Blinders

Just started to watch Peaky Blinders on DVD. What an amazing series. Somehow I missed this when it was shown on TV. I never thought a gangster series set in 1919 Birmingham would be not only interesting but atmospheric, violent and gritty.

The first episode sets the tone, with the main power struggles in a Satanic-looking Birmingham being between the well established gangster family, the Peaky Blinders (with their distinctive habit of hiding razor blades inside the peaks of their flat caps), the IRA, and the police. Other criminal outfits besides the Peaky Blinders are the Chinese and the Italians, though how big they are has yet to be shown. The new head of police has made his name in Belfast, where he wiped out the IRA presence there with ruthless means and is bringing men from over there into Birmingham to help him stamp out the Peaky Blinders and any other threat to law and order. Against him we have the Shelby family who run the Peaky Blinders, who are hard, equally ruthless and cunning. 

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Nightmare on Mad Gull Island by Adrian Cole

Copied from Pete Coleborn's excellent Piper at the Gates of Dawn website:

Coming at Easter 2014, and brand new from Spectre Press: Cthulhu 4: Nightmare on Mad Gull Island is a Nick Nightmare novella by Adrian Cole. The wraparound cover is by Jim Pitts, also making a welcome return to the genre.

Publisher Jon Harvey says: “Since restarting Spectre Press in 2012, after a 30-year hiatus, I have begun publishing again. The first was a portfolio of artwork by the likes of Stephen Fabian, David Lloyd, SMS and Dave Stewart – eleven plates in all, plus a wraparound cover and a booklet that introduced each plate. Then in 2013, I decided to resurrect an old favourite publication of mine, Cthulhu: Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. Issue 4 is the aforementioned Nightmare on Mad Gull Island. Cthulhu 5 is a new novella by Andrew Darlington. More titles to follow.”

Nightmare on Mad Gull Island is available in two formats: booklet (£5.00) and hardcover, which includes an article by Jon Harvey, “Pulp Fiction”, and an afterword by Adrian Cole in which he discusses Nick Nightmare. The signed, numbered hardcover edition costs £20.00.

Contact Jon Harvey at spectrepress01 [at] for ordering details.


I just received the latest issue of the British horror and cult cinema magazine Bedabbled!, edited by Martin Jones and limited to only 100 copies. Unfortunately, for anyone who might want to purchase a copy now, issue 4 is sold out. But it might be worth your while checking for the next issue, as this is a beautifully printed A4 size magazine, with 48 colour pages covering every aspect of the British horror and cult genres.

Some of the films covered in this issue are The Yes Girls (1971); Hammer's "A Bloody Triptych", which is The Vampire Lovers, Lust for a Vampire and Twins of Evil; Vampire (1964 - directed by Harrison Marks); then an in-depth look at Milton Subotsky and Amicus Films by Nigel Taylor: "The Mind of Mr Subotsky". "Brats of the Capital" is an article on Straight On Till Morning, "Kitchen-sink, Hammer Style" by Sarah Morgan, followed by an interview with the film's star Shane Briant. The magazine concludes with an article called "Jack Carter in Reverse", a look at sleazy 1970 crime thriller Sweet and Sexy, directed by Anthony Sloman.

The articles are thoroughly engrossing, with some fascinating insights. Apart from the few typos, it is a well produced, attractively laid out publication and very well written. Essential reading for anyone interested in some of Britain's more obscure movies as well as more well known ones from the likes of Hammer and Amicus.

For further information check out Bedabbled's blogsite

Monday 24 March 2014

Ender's Game

CGI has been both a blessing and a curse for many SF films in recent years. It's been a blessing because it has enabled them to have special effects that could only have been dreamed about years ago. But it's been a curse because too many film makers have relied on it at the expense of good scripts and intelligent storylines. Thankfully, though obviously CGI figures hugely in this film of interstellar war on a grand scale, the characters and storylines have not suffered as a consequence and this is one of the most intelligent, gripping and well told SF films I have seen for a long time.

Based on the novel by controversial SF author Orson Scott Card, the film is set in the aftermath of an abortive invasion of the Earth by an insect-like race called the Formics, who were only narrowly defeated. All of Earth's resources have been focused on preparing us for another attack, especially in recruiting youngsters whose minds are deemed best able to handle the computer-based military hardware required to fight the Formics. We follow ten-year-old Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) as he advances through all the various stages of recruitment and training to enter the vast military machine that has been created. With a ruthlessness verging on the callous, Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) thrusts Wiggin to the limits of his abilities, seeing in him one of the best hopes we have to defeat the Formics.

But this is no mere Starship Troopers. There are more complications in what is going on than meets the eye, building up to a satisfyingly stunning conclusion. With some top notch acting, especially amongst the younger cast members, and some amazing special effects, this is a thoroughly enjoyable science fiction film which never once undermines the seriousness of the tale it is telling.

Thursday 20 March 2014

A Sample Story from The Lurkers in the Abyss and Other Tales of Terror

I've posted on facebook:  

If anyone would like to sample one of the stories from my collection The Lurkers in the Abyss and Other Tales of Terror, please use this link to read His Pale Blue Eyes, which was originally published in Bite Sized Horror (Obverse Books, 2011):

Monday 17 March 2014

Film - Who Can Kill a Child?

The Spanish film, Who Can Kill a Child? (1976), directed by Narciso Ibanez Serrador, starring Prunella Ransome, Miguel Narros, Antonio Iranzo, Lewis Fiander, and  Marisa Porcel, is a strange movie, starting with a series of documentaries about the outrages of war since the 1940s and the massive numbers of children who died in them. It is so grim, based on fact, from the death camps of wartime Germany to the monumental famine in Biafra, that the film which followed would have a massive task to justify the prelude. Suddenly, from the gritty black and white footage we have been regaled with thus far, we are suddenly thrust into an over-bright world of dazzling colour as our two protagonists arrive in Spain during a festival, with the loud blasts of firework displays and crowded streets around the resort's harbour. Evelyn (Prunella Ransome) is heavily pregnant and she and her husband, Tom (Lewis Fiander), are looking forward to leaving the chaotic resort to sail to the island of Almanzora, which Tom remembers fondly as quiet, unspoiled by tourism, where they can rest and relax. Everything seems perfectly normal. They even manage to hire a boat in which Tom can sail them across the stretch of sea to the island from the local postman who regularly takes mail there. The only disturbing occurrence are a couple of bodies washed ashore in the resort - bodies which show signs of having been savagely attacked.

The crossing to the island, though, is easy. On the quayside the only inhabitants in sight is a group of children, one of whom appears to be inexplicably hostile. The small town by the harbour is typical of the region with white plastered walls which reflect the sunlight with blinding brilliance. The town is oddly quiet as Tom and Evelyn make their way through it, looking for their lodgings. On their way they enter a shop. Unable to find anyone there to serve them, though, they leave money behind for a number of provisions they help themselves to from the shelves, then head further into the village. The only people they have still seen are children, including a young girl fascinated by Evelyn's pregnancy. The tension is built up with unnerving stealth. None of the children have so far said one word, even to answer direct questions by Tom, and we know there is something seriously wrong with the island. The absence of any adults is inexplicable, the more so because a rotisserie has been left unattended so long, cooking some chicken, that they have been burned black, and an icecream cart, abandoned in the sun, contains only melted icecream. It is not till some time later that Tom and Evelyn see their first adult, an old man walking down the narrow alley outside their lodgings, who is suddenly attacked by a girl, who tugs his walking stick out of his hands and beats him to death with it before running away, giggling. From now on the true horror of what has befallen the island becomes graphically clear. With scenes chillingly reminiscent of The Village of the Damned (The Midwich Cuckoos), it is not long before Tom and Evelyn are fighting for their lives.

Though an increasingly violent film, it never trivialises what it portrays or indulges in cheap shocks. With keen insights into the horrors it portrays, it is uncomfortable, cheerless and tense, all the more so for the sharp brilliance of the light in which most of it is shot. This is a horror film in which little is seen in shadow. It is out there, shockingly clear, with nothing hidden. The finale, when you think things may finally be cleared up, has one final twist which makes what we know will follow even more horrifying than we have seen so far. 

Saturday 15 March 2014


Martyrs is a French movie starring Morjana Alaoui, Mylène Jampanoï & Catherine Bégin, directed by Pascal Laugier.

I do not like films that rely solely on scenes of torture, what have sometimes, perhaps sensationalistically, been termed torture porn. Films like Hostel and its sequel do nothing for me. And, when I first started to watch this film, I must admit I did have misgivings that this too may come under that category.

It doesn't, though it shares many of the characteristics. There is graphic violence, but for me what sets it apart is the quality of acting, the naturalism of the filming and the startling twists in a well thought out plot, all of which makes sense at the end of the film, which never fails to shock and surprise. Even the extremes of suffering which some of the protagonists are forced to undergo has a thoroughly understandable if bizarre explanation by the climax.

Well worth the effort of putting oneself through the harrowing scenes that fill so much of it. It's a film that never pulls its punches or sells itself out and leaves you thinking about it long after it's finished.

Friday 14 March 2014

Credit Card Scam

I'm normally very tardy at looking at credit card statements, basically because I don't use them much and they're paid by direct debit. Luckily today when my Barclaycard statement arrived I opened it and took a look straight away - because, though I haven't used it for a couple of years at least, there were numerous payments on it for Wuaki TV, Jersey - a company I have never used. Every day, several times a day payments of between £10.99 and £13.99 have been going out, totalling well over £100. Barclays have now put a block on the card and are investigating it for me. Needless to say I'll be keeping a close eye on my card statements in future!

From what I can gather Barclays are going to cancel the payments, which only started on the 3rd March. Fingers crossed on that.

Thursday 13 March 2014

The Quiet Ones

Here's a trailer for the next hammer Film The Quiet Ones, due out in April.

War of the Worlds: Goliath

I haven't watched much Anime recently but this new one, War of the Worlds: Goliath, does look good.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Sample Chapter from The Return

I have made a sample chapter from my horror/crime noire novel The Return available, hopefully to increase interest in it. So far it's had well over a hundred hits since the link was made available on Facebook.

Below please find the sample chapter, which is also available here.

Don was already at the station, looking careworn and tired, when Eddie arrived.
“Have trouble sleeping?” Eddie asked.
Don nodded. “I couldn’t get some of that stuff out of my head. I thought I’d managed all right. Felt fine when we went to see Malleson. I felt okay on my way home.” He rubbed his forehead. “I think it was when I saw my wife and kids. Somehow seeing them brought it back to me, those bodies, the blood, the mess. It was as if I’d been coasting along, not really seeing any of it properly, even though I thought I did.”
Eddie patted him on the shoulder. “Getting stuck into some work will get rid of that,” he said, though he knew more than one copper in Edgebottom had seen far too much of that kind of thing over the years and felt compelled to resign when they could no longer take it. The devastation to the force after the Maguire Family Murder in the late sixties was still talked about in subdued tones. How many good coppers had retired or resigned or been fired for misconduct or mental breakdowns after that?
“I was in the canteen having some coffee a short while ago and there was talk that something big’s about to happen.”
“I thought what happened yesterday was big,” Eddie said. “What do you mean?”
“It was a couple of the older coppers. They’ve been here for years. Brought up locally.” Don scratched his head, uncertain. “I don’t know what to make of it. When they saw me listening they seemed to shut up or go off the subject. Before that, though, one of them said something about there being a feeling in the air, whatever that’s supposed to mean.”
“Sounds to me like some of them are going soft in the head. Getting spooked.”
“You couldn’t blame them, Sarge. Not after what’s happened.”
“What else did they have to say? Or is that it?”
“There was more. Like I said, they clammed up when they saw me. I suppose I’m new to the area.”
“You’re probably right. It’ll take twenty years before you’re accepted as a local – probationary, of course.” But Eddie could see Don was genuinely concerned. “Anything else?” he asked.
“Some of them said they were going to take sick leave. Get out of here till it’s over. What the hell it is they’re worried about I’ve no idea, except the way they were talking it made me feel uneasy, as if they knew a lot more than they put into words.”
“A load of old women,” Eddie said, though Don’s words made him begin to worry. There was something in the air. He had begun to sense this himself as he drove into Edgebottom. The streets looked quieter than normal. What people there were about its rain swept streets looked furtive and nervous, as if they really shouldn’t be there at all or would have preferred to have been somewhere else. Even the traffic seemed sparse, subdued somehow. Of course the weather could have something to do with that. The streets were inches deep in water the sewers hadn’t been able to handle as efficiently as they should. Much of this drained into town from the surrounding moors, and some of the steeper streets were churning like rivers.
DI Parks strode over to the two officers.
“A bit of a breakthrough,” he said. He was smiling with self satisfaction. “Several bullets were fired into the side of the Punto. Though most of them were melted in the heat when it caught fire, one was retrieved further up the road. Even though it was bent out of shape, it was identifiable as a point two two.”
“So Morgan was there?” Eddie said.
“Could be. He had a score to settle with Broadman.”
“I thought it was Broadman who had a score to settle with him after his right hand man was reputedly gunned down by him.”
“None of the men we found on the moors was shot,” Don said. “They were hacked to death. It’s difficult to believe Morgan could have done that, especially when all three were armed.”
“And with guns a damn sight better than a point two two,” Eddie said.
“You may be right.” Parks was unperturbed. “But the bullet holes in the side of the Punto show that Morgan was probably present when the car caught fire. Whether he was there when Broadman was murdered is something else. We’ll have to see what our search team finds, if anything.” He handed Eddie several sheets of paper. “We’ve managed to get a search warrant on Shackleton’s house on Queens Road. I’d like you and Don to go through the place. Take a few uniforms with you. Check everything. It would be interesting to see who Shackleton is involved with. Somehow, in some way these crimes are linked, I’m sure.”
It took less than half an hour for the two officers to assemble a team and set out. Queens Road was in one of the better class areas of old Edgebottom, though it had declined in recent years, most of its larger houses having been converted into flats or bed-sits. They pulled up at the higher end of the road. Shackleton’s house was a large end terrace, with two bay windows, a large, untended garden at the front and side, and an attic between two gables on its roof.
“Good family house,” Don said, looking up at it through the windscreen of their car as the police van with six constables inside it drew up behind them.
“Once,” Eddie said. “Till everyone wanted to move to new houses in the suburbs. Like me,” he added ruefully. “If it’s ever sold it’ll be divided into flats like all the rest. Bloody shame, but that’s progress for you.”
They got out and climbed the half dozen steps that divided the front garden in two and rapped on the door, though neither of them expected it to be answered. A watch had been maintained on the house since Gary Morgan was abducted and no one had been seen at the place since or had answered the numerous attempts to get in. Eddie turned to the uniformed office behind him. He held a large sledge hammer in both hands. The constable stepped forward, positioned himself squarely to the door and swung the hammer just below its handle. The door burst inwards with a crash against the wall inside.
“Let’s get started,” Eddie called as he led the way in.
The house looked neglected. Dust and cobwebs in every corner and an overriding smell of what struck Eddie like meat that had gone off, though there was enough furniture on the ground floor to show it had been lived in recently. The front living room contained a sofa and a couple of chairs, all turned to face a small TV and VCR. There was little else, other than a pile of magazines and books. The wallpaper looked unchanged since the 1950s, as did the tiled fireplace, which was brown and cream. Eddie glanced through the magazines but there was nothing of interest for the investigation: a few copies of National Geographic, a Radio Times, some Sunday supplements. The books were novels: Evelyn Waugh, Angus Wilson, Aldous Huxley, Georges Simenon, all of them well-read paperbacks. Not unusual titles, Eddie thought, to find in the house of an ex-schoolteacher. There was a half empty bottle of Jameson whiskey and several tumblers.
The dining room was even more sparsely furnished, a gate-leg table and a set of chairs, with a couple of uninspired pictures on the walls.
“Not exciting,” Don muttered. To which Eddie had to agree. A more boring house he had yet to see. Even the kitchen was nondescript, with a few of the usual items, all of them old, well used but workable, stocked with an equally unremarkable assortment of tinned or packaged foods.
Upstairs the front bedroom contained a double bed, covered in an untidy pile of sheets that looked like they had not been washed in months, a bulky Edwardian wardrobe and a computer, neatly laid out on a laminate and chipboard desk with a cheap plastic swivel chair in front. The desk was in the bay window, facing outwards. The computer was the first up-to-date item Eddie had seen so far. It was a Dell, looked reasonably new, and had a scanner and a bubble jet printer connected to it.
“We’ll get someone to take a look at this later. Take it back to the station. Who knows what this little beauty might reveal,” Eddie said to one of the uniforms, who began to unplug it ready for manhandling downstairs to the van.
“Sarge!” It was Don. “Take a look at this.”
He was in the back bedroom. The light had been switched on. A quick glance showed the window had been boarded up.
“What the hell have we here?” Eddie stared around the room, reflecting that his face probably showed the same amazed look as Don, who stood in the center of the room. Its walls had been painted white, but little of this showed, they were so densely covered in hand drawn symbols, diagrams and words and sometimes by crude, stylized drawings. “Get some photos of these,” Eddie said. “God knows what they mean – but someone might know something about them.”
“Looks like some sort of occult crap to me,” Don said, his voice betraying the disgust he felt.
Across the floorboards someone had painted an enormous five-pointed star in red that reached to within a couple of feet of the walls, its points touching the rim of a circle. More symbols had been painted inside it. To Eddie they could have been Greek or Hebrew, though they might have been something else altogether for all he could tell. All he was certain about was that he felt disturbed when he looked at them, as if they awoke fears long forgotten in the depths of his mind.
 The burned out stubs of dark candles, some of them black, stood at each point of the pentacle, their waxy folds melted in pools around them. Worse, though, were the dried out, mummified remains of what looked like small animals nailed to the floorboards. He knelt to examine one of the larger. It was a cat, its paws secured so tight by the nails punched through them they had almost split in two. From the state of its face, he had a nasty suspicion the creature had been alive when this happened and had been left here to die. Blood and foam had dried on the fur around its mouth. Its lips were pulled back in a frozen grimace of pain. Other animals were rats and a small dog, similarly killed.
“No wonder the place stinks,” Don said in disgust.
Curiously, Eddie barely noticed the extent of the smell till Don mentioned it. Perhaps his mind had been engrossed with other things, he thought. Now that he had become aware of it he felt sickened, especially when he saw something move on the cat’s gas-filled stomach and a handful of maggots wriggled through its matted fur.
He clenched his teeth tight in disgust, then stood up and strode away.
A small bookcase stood by one wall. Only a dozen or so books filled its shelves, one of which was laid open on top as if left there to be read. Eddie strode over for a closer look. The books were old, heavily bound volumes in what looked like stained leather that felt unusually soft to the touch, with odd, distinctive pores. The open book was one of the largest. In size and shape it reminded Eddie of a Family Bible. This, though, was as far as the similarity went. The opened pages were filled with crabbed writing in what looked like Latin, but it was the illustrations that surprised him. Skillfully drawn in pen and ink, the things depicted were so outlandish they were more like something from a frenzied nightmare. They were things of horror, huge, octopoid, outlandish creatures, the like of which Eddie was certain belonged to no familiar religion.
“What the fuck are those?” Don asked, joining him by the bookcase. “They’re sick looking bastards.” He shook his head. “What kind of religion is that?”
“Fucked if I know,” Eddie said with a smile, though it felt fragile and false. “Perhaps they’re a drug addict’s equivalent of gin goblins.”
Don shook his head. “Looks old.”
Eddie reached down and picked through several parchment-like pages. It felt old too, he thought, recoiling a little at the rancid smell that rose from it. “Looks as if Shackleton was into some weird shit,” he said.
“Homicidally weird?”
Eddie looked at more of the grotesque drawings. “Who can say? What we need is someone who can read this stuff.” He looked further along the bookcase. There was a small transparent plastic bag, which had previously been hidden beneath the open book. Inside were several ounces of white powder.
“We always suspected Shackleton was into drugs,” Don said.
Eddie reached for it. “Let’s see what it is before we jump to conclusions. For all we know it could be flour.” Though he knew neither of them thought there was a chance in a million of this. He opened it and took a cautious sniff. And felt his brain explode in a kaleidoscopic frenzy of blinding colors. It was as if he had leapt off the edge of an immense cliff and was plunging headlong toward a sea of blazing, iridescent lights. He felt scared and nauseated, his past life forgotten in the immensity of the moment. He saw his arms outstretched in front of him, sinewy and long and covered in wiry hairs like an animal’s. He saw his hands, like talons, his fingers flexing with scaly knuckles, his fingernails long, horny and ridiculously sharp. He opened his mouth and screamed and his jaws seemed to stretch larger and wider till it seemed as if the whole of his head would turn inside out.
Then the blows, sharp and painful blows to his cheeks. Again. And again. There were thunderclaps of agony that brought tears to his eyes.
“No more!” he heard himself shriek. “No more!
His stomach heaved. He felt himself kneeling on the floor, felt the splintery surface of the wood beneath his knees and the hard but gentle hands on his shoulders, grasping him tight.
“Are you all right, Sarge?”
The voice sounded as if it simultaneously came from a million miles away and only inches from his face. He looked up, saw Don’s face staring at his, concerned and worried.
“Are you all right?”
Dry retching, Eddie managed to nod his head, though the accompanying waves of nausea almost made him faint.
“Jesus Christ, I was worried for a moment,” Don said. “I thought you’d been poisoned.”
Reality, like a shifting veil, returned to him as he straightened his back, saw the bare back bedroom once more, with its painted pentacle and tortured animals nailed to the floor. Reality! As if this was some kind of reality, he thought, his throat raw as if it had been scraped with a file.
“What the hell happened?” Eddie asked, his voice rasping.
“It was as soon as you smelled that powder,” Don said, still sounding concerned. “Your eyes rolled under their lids like you’d been poleaxed. Your face went white. Then you collapsed onto your knees.”
Eddie could see some of the uniforms had gathered at the door.
Despite his embarrassment at what had happened, Eddie said: “Anything else?”
“You started shouting something, Sarge. It was hard to make out. It wasn’t English. In fact, to be honest, it was gibberish to me. ‘Aon scriosadh, aon dioc’ – or something like that. Gibberish.”
Eddie let Don help him to his feet. “Teach me to be daft enough to test something like that by sniffing it,” he said in an attempt to make a joke of what had happened. He heard some of the uniforms laugh, relieved, perhaps, no harm had come to him. He grinned back at them, though it took an effort of will. Dazzling images still flashed before his eyes like aftershocks and he knew it was far from over yet. He could smell something goatish and fishy deep inside his nostrils, elusively.
“Perhaps we should get you checked out at hospital,” Don said. “You never know what effects it might have.”
Had he seen something in his face, Eddie wondered, a glimpse of the hallucinations that were still flickering even now, like something buried at the back of his mind?
Eddie shook his head. “I’m fine. Let’s get on with the search. The sooner we finish the sooner we can get out of this bloody place.” He scowled at the carcasses nailed about the floor. “What the fucking hell was Shackleton into?” he said.
“Do you want me to package these books and take them back to the station?” Don asked.
“They might give some clues as to what’s been going on. You never know. We should get someone who can read that stuff to take a look, perhaps from one of the local schools, maybe, or Manchester University.”
He looked again at the opened book. There was a black and white etching of a grotesque satyr – or satyr-like creature. It seemed to be a mixture of male and female, with a face straight out of a nightmare. It struck him as incredible how the artist had been able to blend a mixture of evil and lust on its goatish features. He looked at its arms, and realized with a jolt that these were what his own looked like in the hallucinations. He looked away from the drawing, realizing how stupid he had been to taste anything here. He should have known better. For all he knew Shackleton might have left that bag of white powder as a trap, hoping to tempt someone to do exactly what he had done with it.
He headed for the landing. There was another flight of stairs to the attic. Slowly, one hand on the banister rail for support, he started up to the next floor. There was little light up there, and he knew even before he looked into the room that the attic window had been boarded up as well. He reached for the light switch but nothing happened.
Looking back down the stairs he called for someone to fetch a torch.
One of the uniforms said he would get one from the van and Eddie waited, reluctant to go any further in the dark. Even blinking his eyes brought flashes of the hallucination back before them, vividly bright, as if someone was shining a film projector straight into them. Damn it, he hoped the effects would wear off soon – otherwise he would have to follow Don’s advice, which would almost certainly result in him being signed off sick.
A couple of minutes later the uniformed PC came clattering up the steps, a heavy duty flashlight in his hands. Taking it, Eddie switched it on, then followed by the PC took the few remaining steps to the top of the stairs. He pushed the door into the attic open and shone the torch ahead of him. Its beam filled the room.
If he had thought the boarded up bedroom below was nightmarish, there was worse ahead. This time it wasn’t tortured animals that were nailed to the floor but a human body – though whether the victim was male or female Eddie was unable to tell. What flesh there was had withered to such an advanced degree it was impossible to make out more than that whoever it was seemed to have died in extreme pain. Even though the victim had not been able to move because of the heavy nails hammered through their hands and feet, the body was grotesquely contorted. The head had been thrown back and, though it was now little more than a skull, its parchment-like skin stuck to it in dark brown, papery folds, its eyes nothing more than shriveled plums, sunk back into their sockets, the mouth stilled straining against the lengths of tape that were bandaged across it to the back of the head, again and again, so there had never been the slightest chance of the victim being able to scream, there was no mistaking the horror the victim had felt in their final moments.
How long had this creature lain here in this state? A year? Two years? More?
Eddie called for more help in the attic.
“We have a murder,” he told Don. “We need a full forensic team right now.” He staggered back to the landing. He had seen enough. He had seen more than enough.
“Let’s get a breath of fresh air,” he told Don, after he had returned from the attic himself, white-faced and trembling, a moment later.
“What’s happening?” Don said. “Is the whole fucking town falling apart? I don’t understand.”
“Perhaps some of the older coppers do,” Eddie suggested. “You heard them this morning.”
“That’s bullshit, Sarge. Isn’t it?”
Eddie shrugged, wishing suddenly, as they stepped out of the house and headed down the street, that he smoked. He needed something, he knew, though if he went to a pub right now he would be drunk inside an hour.

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

Monday 10 March 2014

A Sneak Peek at "Scrap" in Dark Visions 1 from Grey Matter Press. 

Grey Matter Press have issued sneak peeks of stories featured in their Stoker nominated anthology Dark Visions 1. This time it's the turn of my 12,000 word story, Scrap.

To take a look click on the link to it here

Thursday 6 March 2014

Scientists find dinosaur that was scourge of Jurassic Europe

A Torvosaurus gurneyi dinosaur is depicted in an artist's rendering.
I love dinosaurs and anything to do with them. One sentence in this article, Scientists find dinosaur that was scourge of Jurassic Europe, about a newly discovered predator, really puts everything in perspective about the era of dinosaurs:

"This animal, Torvosaurus, was already a fossil for 80 million years before the T. Rex ever walked the Earth," Mateus said.

The lengths of time being talked about here are simply staggering. It makes the time we humans have been around look even more insignificant.

Tuesday 4 March 2014


Jonathan Ross and his wife Jane Goldman, a former Hugo Award winner. Photo: Getty
Over the weekend all hell was let loose when it was announced that Jonathan Ross would host the Hugo awards at the World SF Convention in London later this year. The vitriol from those protesting on twitter, facebook and elsewhere about him was some of the worst I have ever seen. A lot seemed to come from people who had never heard of him before (mainly from the US) and had simply googled or been passed on information about him from sources obsessed with every real or imagined slip he had ever made. You would have thought he was Bernard Manning with tourettes. It was so bad I felt ashamed that the offer he made to host these awards gratis was turned into a hate-fest against him by people who really should have known better.

An article, with interviews, in the New Statesman helps to highlight and set straight some of the bizarre behaviour by science fiction fans who well and truly showed themselves up.