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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Trying to be so Quiet by James Everington -- a review


Trying to be so Quiet by James Everington

Review by Gary Fry

This novelette opens with a man reflecting on a recent loss, with hints at ghostliness as early as the first page. It sets the tone for an acerbic rumination on the grieving process, how the death of a loved one can bleach life of all its structure and meaning.

Everington is very good at depicting such an emptied world, his language suitably lyrical and laden with apt metaphor. His central character, an everyman whose world has been savagely inverted, re-experiences varying aspects of his existence during a post-traumatic period.

His working life is full of irritations – the pointlessness of that urgent client report, all the treading-on-eggshells colleagues, and the new woman in the office reduced to her sexual characteristics. This jaundiced view of life is set against wistful reminiscences, of heady academic days when two young people met and just kind of drifted into a relationship, the ways these things tend to occur.

Indeed, it’s the tone of the whole work, a non-melodramatic stacking of lived detail, which renders it so hauntingly potent. The ghostly intruder takes its time to arrive, but by the time it does, it’s all the more potent for such a steady escalation of mood and atmosphere. Everington orchestrates his prose extremely well, and the piece’s conclusion is both touching and sour, a fitting summation of his character’s existential journey.  

I really enjoyed this short, condensed novelette, which is packed full of bitterness and yearning, defeatism and aspiration. It’s what loss actually feels like, that wish to return to the past and to resent the future. The writing is pitch-perfect, and the overall impact resonant. Everington achieves an unusual ghost story here, and certainly a successful one. It’s a fine piece of work.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dead Letters – edited by Conrad Williams: a review


Dead Letters – edited by Conrad Williams

Review by Gary Fry

 

This book comes with good pedigree – editor Conrad Williams knows a thing or two about writing himself – and its hook is certainly appealing, a collection of tales focusing mainly on misdirected items of mail. I read the whole thing in linear fashion, presumably as planned, and here’s what I made of it.

Many of the stories share a similar notion, that of a letter or package arriving at a house it wasn’t intended to be sent to. While this leads to some repetition across all the entries, it’s certainly interesting to see how different authors develop the plot point in varied directions.

I have to say that my favourite story here was Ramsey Campbell’s ‘The Wrong Game’. It’s the author at the heights of his powers as a prose stylist, with an extended sequence set in a hotel which displays every trick and literary technique he’s developed over such a long career. By the time we reach the menacing figure lurking at the heart of the piece, so much atmosphere has been evoked that its appearance works wonderfully. That’s one of the secrets of Campbell’s work at its best: accumulation of detail. This is truly a tour de force.

Other tales I admired included Lisa Tuttle’s wonderfully sour love story ‘The Hungry Hotel’, which builds with all the author’s typical mastery and ends with a claustrophobic set-piece that fully resonates with the tale’s theme. Adam Nevill’s ‘The Day of our Lives’ involves quite a different kind of relationship, a much more parasitical one, but has no less unsettling imagery to inflict; some of the hinted-at descriptions of violence which occur linger in the mind, and the piece has all the grubby qualities of an old English movie, set in rundown towns among the mentally unsettled.

Michael Marshall Smith’s ‘Over To You’ is one of the author’s suggestively weird pieces, its reflexive central character growing increasingly bewildered by subtle role inversions. Those well-versed in the genre all know about this first-person narrator – it’s one to which MMS returns again and again – but that’s no bad thing: if you have such a great voice, use it that way.

In Joanne Harris’s ‘In Memoriam’, memories acquire a concrete presence in the form of pesky moths, a telling metaphor in a tale packed full of the past’s capacity to haunt. The last few lines elevate this pungent piece, making it one of the punchiest ghost stories I’ve read in a long while. Nicholas Royle’s ‘L0ND0N’ documents what was undoubtedly a tragic recent event in the independent literary community, all wedded to fiction as multi-layered and enigmatic as anything the author has achieved in the past. Its psycho-geographies and displaced imagery build to a genuinely weird conclusion, one which will reward a reread or even several.

Another firm favourite was Nina Allan’s wonderfully elusive ‘Astray’, a story about missing siblings and those who are left behind. It’s a delicate piece, with parallel cases explored in pitch-perfect, non-chronological order, all of which makes the closing passages the more resonant. This is more excellent work from one of the finest newer writers in our field.

Steven Hall’s ‘The Green Letter’ attempted something different in terms of its telling – successfully so, I think – while Alison Moore’s deceptively brief ‘Ausland’ details the adventures of a particular voyager with more impact than its weight might lead you to expect. I also enjoyed both Claire Dean’s delicate ‘Is-And’ – so quiet that you have to listen very carefully – and Muriel Gray’s more robust ‘Gone Away’, with its similar interloping source of menace.

A few tales in the book didn’t strike me as effective (although I sincerely didn’t dislike any). A sucker for Mythos fiction, I think I’d hoped for a little more punch from Andrew Lane’s cleanly written ‘Buyer’s Remorse’, while Christopher Fowler’s invasion tale (‘Wonders to Come’) was quite heavy on technical detail and shoptalk (punchy ending, though).

In total, this is a very strong anthology with an interesting hook, and the editor has brought together a varied collection of fiction concerned with such themes as loss, communication, the past, other people, and history. I can hardly resist calling a book about the mail first class. But at its best, that’s just what it is, and I heartily recommend it.

 

 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

WHAT THEY FIND IN THE WOODS: chapter 1 sample


WHAT THEY FIND IN THE WOODS

 Gary Fry

 

Chapter 1
 

Chloe arrived for our meeting half-an-hour late.

          Following all that happened afterwards, this unpredictable element was hardly surprising, but at the time I knew nothing much about her. Of course I’d taught her during her first two years on the psychology degree, along with a few hundred other undergraduates half my age. And yes, I was aware of the brighter students – Chloe had maintained an average A-minus coming into her final academic term and was well-positioned to gain first-class honours – but as I wasn’t her personal tutor, other contact had been minimal.

          This was why I was surprised when she’d put in a request for me to supervise her dissertation. As far as I was aware, having checked out her latest module choices, she was interested in psychodynamic aspects of our subject – Freud and his devout followers – while I specialised more in the social realms of experience. But I realised that other issues were important when youngsters chose who they’d like to support them through this critical aspect of their courses, and that perceived compatibility was often uppermost among them.

          When she entered my office that day, she looked a bit nervous, but, despite her good looks – long blonde hair, slender figure, fresh face which needed no makeup; in her early twenties, she’d surely never lacked others’ attention – I didn’t attach much significance to that. Indeed, I could remember my own first meeting with my supervisor twenty years earlier as an undergraduate. I realised this could sometimes become an intimate relationship, but, when conducted professionally, it remained only an intellectual engagement, a coming together of jaded old master and bright young thing. I’d been doing this kind of work for over a decade now – nearly as long as my solid marriage – and had never felt a need to tackle it in any other way.

          At my invitation, Chloe sat in a chair opposite my own, a few yards from my paper-stacked desk under the only window in the room, which looked right across the city. At the heart of this informal meeting area was a small table bearing drink-making facilities – powdered milk, a bag of sugar, assorted herbal teabags my wife had bought in an attempt to wean me off my beloved brain-stimulating coke – but I rarely used them. Nevertheless, they’d always offered me an effective way of putting newcomers at their ease, using a little self-disparagement to lighten the tone.

          “I’d make you a drink,” I said, lifting one of several cups from the table whose interior bore many brown stains. Then, smiling as warmly as I could, I showed this to my visitor. “But as you can see, hygiene isn’t exactly my forte.”

          The young woman – as pretty as some flower yet to fully blossom, as if she’d grown up in the shade – eventually smiled back, raising one hand from a notebook, which, after sitting, she’d removed from a pocket of her serviceably smart dress.

“That’s okay. I’m not thirsty anyway,” she said, her first words to me tender and strained, the way I imagined someone easily hurt might communicate. But other than my experiences of growing up in a very different era, what did I know about youths? I had no children of my own, despite recent activity at home on my wife’s part to alter that crucial fact.

Distracted only briefly by non-work-related issues, I soon got down to business with Chloe, asking her about her research interests and whether she’d settled yet on a topic for her dissertation. During all my years as a lecturer, I’d always found this the best way to get to know a supervisee: simply stick to the reason she or he was here. If things clicked and it looked like the relationship was likely to work, everything else – private issues concerning personal lives – would be addressed if they needed to be. Sometimes they did, other times they didn’t. As far as I was concerned, I was happy to maintain respectful boundaries but also cool if students wanted to get a little closer.

Following a brief preamble about Chloe’s academic interests – despite finding his work difficult to read, she was a fan of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan – she started outlining a potential project, simultaneously consulting notes she’d clearly made before today’s first session. I was impressed – ordinarily students rolled up with a sheepish shrug but little else – and yet also surprised by her choice of subject matter.

“I live in a small village called Pasturn, just north of Leeds,” she explained, her former reticence lifting and her voice becoming enthusiastic – almost passionate. “My mum and I moved there about four years ago, after…well, after my parents’ messy divorce. Anyway, the point is that on one side of this place is some dense woodland, which appears to have attracted what we might call a…rural legend.”

I was intrigued, but not necessarily in my role as a tutor seeking to keep a student’s dissertation plans focused and realistic. There’s just something about such material – folklore, myths, and the like – that instantly grabs our attention, isn’t there? With no lectures to deliver that morning and extra time to spare, I leaned back in my chair and asked Chloe to continue.

“Well, it’s about a man who once lived in the woods and had all these weird children,” she went on, clearly now in her element. “He got them by seducing passersby – young women, I mean – and then snatching their infants once they’d given birth. He was supposed to have lived – oh, centuries ago, I think, but I’m not sure; I need to look into that yet. But what’s significant is the way he did it: brewed special potions and got the victims to drink them, which always made him look, instead of just a strange old man, like some kind of handsome prince.

“And the most important thing is,” Chloe said, with an air of finality, of driving home her points, “some residents think he still lives there, in those woods, along with all his ill-gotten offspring. The children’s spirits, I guess they mean. Their ghosts.”

“Okay, hold on a moment,” I said, raising a forefinger to mark the pause. Then, once I had her attention – she looked at me with large blue eyes, sheens of fragile moisture occupying both – I added, “While I admit that all this sounds interesting, I guess I’m struggling to see how it might lend itself to a project drawing upon psychological theory and methods.”

She hesitated, looking at her notes, or maybe even through the pad on her lap. I didn’t get the impression that she was seeking further assistance from earlier thoughts, rather that she was trying to evade my gaze altogether. But then, after a brief twitch of her head like some kind of nervous affliction, she spoke again.

“I suppose I’m interested in why the community has chosen this particular person as its bogeyman. I mean, what is it about the village that makes that specific issue…” – she paused again, as if needing to draw in a breath, but only for as long as it took to take one – “…what is it that makes young women being exploited like this such a concern that it needs codifying in the form of a legend?”

I nodded slowly, now seeing how a project might emerge from this issue, but also realising how fraught with ethical considerations it could be. Chloe was possibly proposing a survey or even a series of interviews with Pasturn’s residents about this rural legend and how it played out in their daily lives. It could certainly be interesting, if tending towards the sociological side of academia.

But in truth just then, I was more intrigued by the reason for Chloe’s interest in this topic. In my experience, enthusiastic students, the ones who exhibited an engagement with their work similar to what she’d just demonstrated, usually had some personal reason for investigating particular topics. And I wondered what hers was here.

I didn’t ask her directly, however; it was much too soon for that, and perhaps always would be. We were tutor and undergraduate, and not therapist and patient, let alone father and daughter. Instead, I simply continued playing Devil’s advocate, putting up barriers for her to knock down. The brightest, most eager students always managed to do so.

“Okay, let’s say for a moment that you chose to carry out your crucial final-year project on the psychology of communal legends.” I looked at her fixedly, refusing to let her gaze stray from mine. “What sources of data would you plan to draw upon?”

Now Chloe seemed to be on firmer ground. “I’ve already spoken to several people in my street,” she said, the smile I’d spotted earlier resurfacing. “It seems that lots of folk living in the village are aware of this man, who’s called…uh, I mean, who was called Donald Deere.”

Something about the man’s moniker – those solemnly alliterative D-sounds, that ostensibly inappropriate term-of-endearment surname – made me feel uncomfortable for a moment, despite early autumn sunlight cutting in through my window. Perhaps it was the way my new supervisee now held my gaze, as if the power relation between us – if indeed this had been the basis of her previous reserve – had just been subtly inverted.

“Okay, so you have evidence from a number of neighbours,” I said, trying to regain control of the episode by using a lecture-toughened voice. “But you’ll need much more than a few anecdotal accounts to inform a solid study.”

“That’s only true of statistical survey-based work, isn’t it?” She looked at me some more, clearly knowing exactly what she was talking about, which was knowledge I’d been fishing for anyway. “With interview and documentary type research, don’t we go for depth rather than quantity?”

This was all good enough for me; having admirably defended her methodological approach – she clearly planned to conduct interviews with people carefully selected for inclusion in the project, as well as performing a review of associated materials – I decided that her idea might actually result in an original project. Indeed, allowing her to pursue what she was obviously enthused about would be a positive move. In the past, scorers of high grades under my tutelage had been those not only with ability but also with some stake in their research, a private agenda that made the work so much more enjoyable and compulsive for them – for me, too, if I’m being honest.

“Right, you’ve sold me,” I said, now dropping the interrogatory routine and becoming something like a normal human again. Toying with intellectually insecure youngsters was always quite wicked, but I was also here to nurture them. “It’s early days yet. Why don’t you go away and see what else you can find out about this topic, maybe pull together a few documents for us to review at our next meetings. Then we can think about how we might proceed.”

The prospect of further one-to-one supervision seemed to appeal to Chloe, whose face brightened as soon as I’d mentioned future sessions. During the first and second years of a degree, university was much like a school for adults, with many lectures and group discussions, but little personal tuition. This was why smart students tended to come on stronger in their last years: because they received the kind of individual attention from which every young person could benefit, if only they showed sufficient interest.

When Chloe rose to leave, she looked a lot happier than she had just after her arrival, as if I’d endorsed a furtive wish she harboured or maybe even shared one of her secrets. At any rate, that’s certainly my impression now, and you know, I even think it might have been back then, too. Within the space of twenty minutes, she’d moved from being guardedly glum and to being radiantly hopeful. Indeed, in light of what happened so soon afterwards, I’m sure her wide smile was based on more than what she added before exiting my office that day, leaving me alone with unusually disrupted thoughts.

“I’ve already made a start,” she said, snapping shut her notebook and clearly alluding to my previous comment about beginning to look into the case of the centuries-old philanderer Donald Deere. “In fact, I’m aware of somebody in the village who claims to have met him.”
 
 
*****
 
If you enjoyed this opening chapter, you can read more by grabbing the whole novella here:
 
 
 
 

Monday, March 7, 2016

MY NEW BOOK: BEWARE THE DEEP, DARK WOODS...

Today my new book, a 30,000-word novella called WHAT THEY FIND IN THE WOODS, is officially released. If you're a fan of Blair Witch-style horror fiction, I hope you'll enjoy this. Its principal focus, a warlock named Donald Deere who lived in the 1500s, still possesses the power to menace the inquisitive in our own era. Whether he's real or otherwise, I'll leave for readers to judge.

All I can tell you is that I've faithfully presented the facts as they came to me, after discovering an undeleted manuscript on a former colleague's PC. I've tried to contact this fellow since, an effort to corroborate his account, but I've had no success. I needn't read anything sinister into this failure, need I?

Perhaps you might tell me. All you have to do is click on one of the options pasted below, whether your preference is for paperback or ebook, or you're in the UK or the USA.

This is the only way you'll find what others found recently in those deep, dark woods. Oh God.

 
 
 

 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dead Shift by John Llewellyn Probert – a review


Dead Shift by John Llewellyn Probert – a review by Gary Fry

We come to horror fiction for many reasons. To have our sensibilities affronted, our metaphysical assumptions challenged, and to experience Aristotelian catharsis. But sometimes, amid all the Ligotti grumps and Aickman enigmas, it’s good simply to hang loose, have a blast, and consume something unapologetically fun.

So it goes with Probert’s latest novella, a work whose tone and approach, if you’re a fan like me, you’ll recognise from the first page. It starts with a lyrical reflection, much like something Lovecraft might have penned, but we’re soon pitched into more earthly territory, as a guy seeks to conduct magic rites in a rundown part of town.

Near this area is a hospital, and it’s here to which the action soon shifts. Our centre of focus, a doctor on the wards, carries the tale forwards, with many a wry hint about things not being quite right, and then rather more than that as all hell breaks loose.

Probert’s depiction of an entity trying to break through this tattered part of the veil between worlds is full of dripping detail and vibrant colour, as a group of medics ward off a full frontal attack on their place of work. There’s a particularly effective scene staged in the autopsy room, which builds later to a nasty set-piece involving many a revived corpse.

Probert is having fun here, that’s sure enough. His characters are self-aware enough to realise that they’re capable of hacking out genre clichés (to paraphrase, “it’s a Sumerian document with Aztec variations!”) with tongue firmly in cheek.

There’s really nothing to fault at all. Yes, the plot is simply a vehicle for gaudy imagery, the characters are broadly drawn, and the pay-off is consistent with plenty of other horror tales, but that’s all as it should be.

Probert’s depiction of Lovecraftian foes blundering through into our world, and the price which must be paid to prevent them, is never less than entertaining and a real pleasure. Solid work from our field’s mischievous jester.


You can buy the book here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Shift-John-Llewellyn-Probert-ebook/dp/B01BWU8DP0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1456338324&sr=8-1&keywords=probert+dead+shift

Thursday, January 21, 2016

13 MINUTES by Sarah Pinborough – a review


13 MINUTES by Sarah Pinborough – a review by Gary Fry

Call me naïve. I haven’t read much Young Adult fiction. I think I expected material a lot more sanitised than similar stuff for adults. You know what I mean: swearwords replaced by “damn” and “bloody”; violence supplanted by mere shoves and pushes; and as for “scenes of a sexual nature” – well, forget about that.

Then I read 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough.

By the end of only the first few chapters, I’d readjusted my expectations. Pinborough depicts modern school life, with teenage girls at its heart, with social realism-like accuracy. There are cattish calls in corridors, their unmasked subplots on social media, experimentation with drugs, high-tailed parties, and genuinely erotic encounters in the backseats of that nostalgia-baiting “first car”.

All this soap opera detail is a vital context for the story which rapidly emerges. A girl has died after falling in a river and was resuscitated after 13 minutes. What were the causes of her death? Who was involved? And how will it all end?

These are all intriguing questions and genuinely haul the reader by the collar right the way through the book. But I want to say that the novel is much more than a “good story, well told”, an unfailingly twisting plot with enough red herrings to fill the river in which the victim fell. It is all these things, but as I say, it’s a lot more, too.

Essentially, the psychological tone of the book feels real. The characters are early twenty-first century teens with all their premature cynicism, concerns about the “playground pecking order”, eagerness for highs (friendship, love, intoxication), and a genuine interest in things that matter (especially the drama woven intertextually through the novel, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible).

These convincing depictions of bright young things on the fringe of emergence into the world at large allows for some authentic observations about being that age and all the confusing emotions involved:

Adults being grateful to teenagers was weird. And a little bit scary. Like they were all becoming equals and there was no safety left in the world. Their childhoods were over. They were in a waiting room at the cusp of adulthood. No-man’s-land, neither one thing nor the other. Sometimes it was brilliant. Sometimes it totally sucked.

On other occasions, Pinborough, writing principally about girls here, reflects specifically about being female:

We’re all strangers. Circling each other. I see the same thing with my mum and her ‘ladies’ lunch’ group. They laugh and joke and say how much they love each other, but as true as that might be, they still watch each other for weakness. For chinks in the armour. I don’t think boys are the same. Boys are dogs. Women are like cats. Individuals by nature. We are not pack animals.  

It’s touches like these (and there are plenty) which elevate the narrative above mere soap opera. The voice feels grounded in its world and the insights are unstrained. They’re not merely the objective observations of an older, all-knowing novelist; they’re written by someone who knows how these characters think and feel. And I believe that this is fiction at its best.

Another major strength is the book’s structure. Pinborough employs a wide range of narrative strategies to convey her story with tricksy verisimilitude. Here we have straightforward third-person prose, diary entries, newspaper clippings, cell-phone text exchanges, and verbatim transcriptions of interviews with police and psychotherapists. Collectively these techniques not only enhance the realism of events depicted, but also allow the author to play with the reader’s understanding of developments. Which of these sources should we believe? Who’s telling us the truth here? It’s all cunningly and seamlessly done.

OK, so all praise so far. But did I have any issues with the novel? I think for me there is a very minor problem with the plot. It’s all very ingeniously mapped out and paced, with Pinborough keeping innumerable plates spinning for extensive periods. However, given the socially realistic nature of the whole work, there’s one scene (I’ll struggle to describe it without dropping in a spoiler) which felt a bit too “Agatha Christie”. Let’s just say it involves a stage device and how it was used in an unintended way.

But that is a relatively minor matter. What we have here is an absolutely gripping book with likeable/detestable characters (and sometimes the reader’s perceptions shift in this regard relating to the same person); an ingenious and hard-to-guess plot; a beguilingly clever structure (which actually contributes something to the story and isn’t just smart-arse for its own sake); some genuinely erotic scenes; a documentary-accurate depiction of latter-day yoof’s social and private lives; and a highly satisfying conclusion.

The book is being described as a YA novel for marketing purposes. But if you’re as old, jaded and out of touch as me, don’t let that put you off. I haven’t had this much fun back at school since I reread Stephen King’s Christine.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What I read in 2015

Here's are the books I read in 2015 and the rating out of 10 I assigned each (r stands for a reread).



Unsettled Dust – Robert Aickman 9 r

Cold Hand in Mine – Robert Aickman 9 r

Creatures of the Pool – Ramsey Campbell 9 r

Joyland – Stephen King 8

Dr Sleep – Stephen King 7

Something Wicked this Way Comes – Ray Bradbury 7 r

Talking It Over – Julian Barnes 10 r

Love Etc – Julian Barnes 10 r

Money – Martin Amis 10 r

The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy 8

Summer of Night – Dan Simmons 7 r

Slam – Nick Hornby 8

1984 – George Orwell 10

Nothing to be Afraid of – Julian Barnes 7

Mythago Wood – Robert Holdstock 7

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson 9 r

Farenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury 7 r

The Unlimited Dream Company – J G Ballard 7

The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway 8

The Minotaur – Barbara Vine 8

The Establishment – Owen Jones 9

A Week in December – Sebastian Faulks 10

American Pastoral – Philip Roth 10

Stoner – John Williams 8

I Am Legend – Richard Matheson 7 r

White Noise – Don DeLillo 8

Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd 6

Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison 8

Incarnate – Ramsey Campbell 10 r

The Face That Must Die – Ramsey Campbell 8 r

Time’s Arrow – Martin Amis 10 r

Midnight Sun – Ramsey Campbell 9 r

Ghosts Know – Ramsey Campbell 8 r

The Ministry of Fear – Graham Greene 7

The Terror and other novellas – Arthur Machen 9 r

The Darkest Part of the Woods – Ramsey Campbell 9 r

Veronica Decides to Die – Paulo Coelho 7

The House on the Borderland – William Hope Hodgson 9 r

My Work is Not Yet Done – Thomas Ligotti 9

Selected novellas – David Case 6

Childhood’s End – Arthur C Clarke 9

House of Small Shadows – Adam Nevill 9

Half a Life – V S Naipaul 7

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood 10

Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami 8

The Secret History – Donna Tartt 7

Rabbit, Run – John Updike 8

High Rise – J G Ballard 7

The Accidental Tourist – Anne Tyler 7

The Plot Against America – Philip Roth 9

The Human Stain – Philip Roth 10

The Ghost Writer – Philip Roth 8

An American Dream – Norman Mailer 6

The Ascent of Money – Niall Ferguson 6

Porterhouse Blue – Tom Sharpe 8

Shrine – James Herbert 7

The Great Pursuit – Tom Sharpe 7

I Married a Communist – Philip Roth 10

Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami 8

Engleby – Sebastian Faulks 9

The Bookshop – Penelope Fitzgerald 6

Boy Meets Girl – Ali Smith 8

Behind the Scenes at the Museum – Kate Atkinson 7

Time and Time Again – Ben Elton 8

World Gone By – Dennis Lehane 7

Seize the Day – Saul Bellow 8 r

A Burnt Out Case – Graham Greene 9

Changing Places – David Lodge 7 r

The Counterlife – Philip Roth 10

Beloved – Toni Morrison 8

An Experiment in Love – Hilary Mantel 8

Nemesis – Philip Roth 8

The Plague – Albert Camus 10

Animal Farm – George Orwell 10 r

Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov 8

The Humbling – Philip Roth 8

Exit Ghost – Philip Roth 9

Finders Keepers – Stephen King 7

Lost Girl – Adam Nevill 8

The Hungry Moon –Ramsey Campbell 8 r

Silent Children – Ramsey Campbell 8 r

The Wine-Dark Sea – Robert Aickman 8 r

Scoop – Evelyn Waugh 7

Portnoy’s Complaint – Philip Roth 9 r

The Tenants – Bernard Malamud 9

Everyman – Philip Roth 8

Tortilla Flat – John Steinbeck 7

13 Days by Sunset Beach—Ramsey Campbell 10

Spectral Book of Horror Stories 2 – ed. Mark Morris 8

Albion Fay – Mark Morris 9

Mammoth Book of Short Horror Novels – various 8

A Head Full of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay 9

Skein and Bone – V H Leslie 9

Aickman’s Heirs – ed. Simon Strantzas 8

The Nameless Dark – Ted Grau 7

The Moon Will Look Strange – Lynda Rucker 8

The Needing – Thana Niveau 10

The End – Gary McMahon 8

My Name is Mary Sutherland – Kate Farrell 9