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The Afterblight Chronicles: Arrowhead
First published by Abaddon in the UK, September 2008. Mass Market Paperback, with artwork by Mark Harrison, £6.99.
‘One of the most enjoyable Robin Hood stories you are likely to read.’
‘Arrowhead is huge fun. The characters we know from the tales of Robin Hood are all there, and Kane allows them to understand they are playing a part in the re-establishment of a myth. If you’ve ever wanted to see Robin Hood go up against tanks, this is for you; if not, well, buy it anyway.’
(Four star review by Anthony Leigh, DeathRay magazine)
‘ Of all the novels so far in the Chronicles, this is the most visual, with Kane's prose bringing to life the world both within Nottingham Castle and in Sherwood Forest. His action sequences have a film editor’s eye, giving the reader exactly the amount of information needed to become caught up in events. Kane’s mixture of legend and modern-day works well, with Rob Stokes making a very effective reluctant hero, becoming the latest incarnation of the Hooded Man almost despite himself.’
(Paul Simpson, Dreamwatch Presents Total Sci-Fi)
‘I didn’t want to read this book. Not because I was concerned about the quality of the work, but because the myth of Robin Hood is a precious thing to me. I come from Nottingham and spent my childhood being told the tales of the “wolf’s head”… I grew up watching the Richard Carpenter TV show that moulded the story to include magic; I had read the comics and the original tales. I knew Robin Hood and I didn’t want him sullied. Fortunately Kane has done no such thing. He knows his history and has carefully moulded a story around the myth…The tale plays on the imagery and mythic undertones of the Hood stories, pieces of the legend falling into place, the collective memory of Hood being brought to the forefront of people’s minds… As well as playing with the fables of the “Outlaw” Arrowhead also falls into the tradition of English sci-fi disaster stories, in some places the work echoes Wyndham in the depiction of the survivors attempting to regain some normality in their lives. An excellent read that adds rather than detracts from the folklore of Robin Hood.’
(Adam J. Shardlow, Prism Magazine.)
‘I know you see where this one’s going. That’s right! It’s a modern re-working of the old Robin Hood tales! There’s even a “Maid Marian” and a “Friar Tuck” to keep you company. Paul Kane effortlessly weaves the tale of our favorite green clad do-gooder with post-apocalyptic brilliance. I can’t say enough good about this book. It’s awesome and I loved every page of it!’
(Jim Dodge Jr, Mass Movement Magazine)
‘Arrowhead is another great instalment in the Afterblight Chronicles, well written and a great visual. If you are lacking a good book to read and want an action-packed, this is a good one to pick up.’
( Sacramento Book Review)
‘Yes, Abaddon’s world of the “Afterblight Chronicles” has a hero who steals from the rich and gives it all to the poor, which makes for a pretty decent tale from where I’m sitting...There’s plenty going on, in terms of spectacle and intrigue, that kept me going, and if you’re already a fan then I think you’ll be hooked, too. Kane also really gets inside the heads of his “good” characters (Robert in particular) which made me feel that little bit more empathy for what they were going through…And the villains are appropriately villainous.’
‘I have to say I loved it. I thought it was really cool, and really clever because it actually mirrors the story of Robin Hood but at the same time is its own story, which is quite a difficult thing to do. Kane has got quite a cool way of writing because I could see it as a movie. So he used just enough description, the action was really well done. There were some pretty grim torture scenes which even made me wince. The villain was proper old school, you don’t need to explain why he’s nasty: he just is. You don’t sympathise with him and go I kind of see where he’s coming from. You just boo him and wait for him to get his comeuppance. It’s a real boo the villain, cheer the hero book, but done in a really clever way, so I’d recommend it.’
(Geek Syndicate Podcast)
‘Absolutely blinding – everybody should go buy a copy.’
(Scott Andrews, author of School’s Out and Operation Motherland.)To buy Arrowhead, click here
The Afterblight Chronicles: Broken Arrow
First published by Abaddon in the UK, September 2009. Mass Market Paperback, with artwork by Mark Harrison, £6.99.
‘I love the concept of the books, mixing a bit of myth and science fiction into a heady and thrilling piece of tough story-telling.’
(Richard Carpenter, creator of Robin of Sherwood)
‘In this sequel to Arrowhead, Paul Kane picks up the tale of Robert Stokes, a post-apocalyptic Robin Hood, and his band of (merry men) survivors. We pick up the thread of the tale at a time when Robert, Mary, Jack, Mark and the others have built a larger following and taken to policing more than just their own territory... I strongly recommend you pick up the book and enjoy the ride! Paul Kane is a superb writer and his characters come to life with often tragic clarity. Good guys die, bad guys live and sometimes good guys live and bad guys die, usually in equal amounts. Even after only two books I’ve come to really love Robert Stokes and all of his new friends. They’re good people trying to live well in a bad world. When they bleed, I bleed. I only wish that more authors would write books this wonderful.’
(Mass Movement Magazine)
‘When I originally heard of a second novel in this series by Paul Kane, I knew that I just had to get my hands on it pretty quickly as his original offering really was a title that I loved. After all, the beautifully creative way in which he’d managed to weave folklore and British History together in an apocalyptic setting really created something that enchanted readers. The real problem however was how would he better it or could he even live up to the original creation with the second offering, or would it just collapse around the authors ears as he’d pretty much done everything he could with the original? I shouldn’t have worried to be honest as this tale didn’t only build upon the original but exceeded my expectations as the author brought more twists to the tale alongside emotional conflict that really did keep the characters fresh. Add to the mix some new villains alongside some old fiends and it’s a tale that will keep you glued to the last page and crying in anguish for a third instalment.’
‘I love reading Abaddon’s “Afterblight Chronicles” and
To buy Broken Arrow, click here
The Afterblight Chronicles: Arrowland
First published by Abaddon in the UK, September 2010. Mass Market Paperback, with artwork by Mark Harrison, £7.99.
(A Waterstones.com and Amazon.co.uk Top 100 bestseller!)
(Four Star review, Falcata Times)
‘Arrowland marks the third entry in Paul Kane’s post-apocalyptic Robin Hood saga. Though the books feature a hooded hero, arrow fights and Sherwood Forest, the narrative actually feels closer in spirit to Neil Marshall’s Doomsday than Robin Hood: like Marshall’s exploitation opus, this is a fun ultra-violent adventure set against a backdrop of a battle-scarred, semi-feudal Britain... The battle sequences are bloody and visceral, the pace moves with the speed of a ravenous whippet, and the dialogue is hard-bitten... Itwould make a good basis for a nifty little B-movie... A good deal more fun than Ridley Scott’s recent soporific reworking of Robin Hood, and the narrative is surprisingly complex.’
(James Skipp, Total Sci-Fi Online)
‘Whilst the universe may be shared, Paul Kane’s story is unmistakably his own, and the Robin Hood mythos in Arrowhead blends itself wonderfully into this dark future... Paul Kane drops you straight in at the deep end, and his efficient writing style leads the story along at break-neck speed without losing any of the texture or emotion that permeates the book. Paul’s concise narrative allows ease of reading whilst losing none of the emotional depth. Although the novel comes in at 270 pages, and carries a lot of plot, the story never feels rushed. Arrowland may have global scale, but the story remains focused upon the characters. As with any great novel, it is the characters that matter, and here they are given scope to breathe. It is to Paul Kane’s credit that he juggles three separate storylines (which later merge into one), and that we never lose track of the characters as each has their own unique voice. Despite the overtly fictional elements, Paul consistently portrays a plethora of realistic and diverse characters, and contrasts how they currently survive against their lives before the cull, giving added depth and credibility for their actions. I especially enjoyed the character of Dale as the maverick undercover agent, for he combines a fascinating blend of human vulnerability with skilled capability... Whilst Arrowland was Paul Kane’s final book in the Arrowhead trilogy, I did not find myself needing to read the previous books, as any elements previously established were explained without feeling forced or contrived... One aspect I appreciated is how Paul Kane portrayed the supernatural elements within Arrowland, for they were never overtly present and could always by rationalised as improbable, but not impossible, coincidences... Hood’s link to Sherwood has a distinctly shamanistic flavour that was both well represented and researched and fitted well with the character... There were undeniable parallels with the Mad Max films, especially Thunderdome, given Arrowland’s conclusion (I will not explain further as I do not wish to spoil the story for you). I also found the overall feel of Arrowland mirrored the Mad Max style, given the prevalence of dementia amongst the warlords...Overall, Paul Kane’s Arrowland was a gripping read filled with action and suspense and a “ripping yarn” in the truest sense of the word, which many books aspire to but rarely achieve.’
‘Coming into a trilogy for the final instalment can be a tricky, intimidating and
confusing experience. Not so with this third book in the post-apocalyptic tales of Robin Hood. Or actually Robert the Hood. This action-packed book gives you enough of the back-story so you know these characters have a history, but not so much that it overwhelms the action; Kane plays this well, intricately embedding history into the thrill-ride plot. And what a thrill it is! In the not too distant post-apocalyptic future, Robert the Hood and his
Rangers have already defeated the last two attempts by crazy despots to take over England. But it never ends; in Scotland, The Widow can see the future and eats men alive to gain their powers, and she’s building an army to take out the Rangers. In Wales, The Dragon is intent on building his army, having made a home in the Millennium Stadium and destroyed the Rangers’ Welsh Head Quarters. Tanek, a huge beast of a man, who previously fought alongside the now defeated Tsar, is out to cause trouble, dealing with both the new Scottish and Welsh rulers. Meanwhile The Shadow is on the hunt for Robert, intent on fulfilling his master’s mysterious plans.
(Stanley Riiks, Morpheus Tales)
‘In the previous books I was pleased that Nottingham was used so effectively as the story's backdrop. In the first two novels my adopted hometown has been central to the story... This time out, however, the action moves further afield. Robert and his men are forced split up to deal with two new potential threats, a psychotic witch called The Widow, who is using Edinburgh Castle as her base, and a mysterious character calling himself The Dragon, based in the heart of Wales. Robert also has to deal with the resurgence of old enemies from his past. There is quite a strong mystical element throughout the novel. As The Hooded Man Robert is becoming almost a creature of legend himself. His opponents all speak about his feats in hushed tones. His connection with Sherwood and the land he protects is also explored. Robert is visited by visions while he sleeps and these help prepare him for the challenges he has to face. This reminded me in many ways of the excellent nineteen eighties television series Robin of Sherwood.
To buy Arrowland, click here
Hooded Man: An Omnibus
First published by Abaddon in the UK, June 2013. Mass Market Paperback, with artwork by Mark Harrison, £8.30.
‘Every year in my local town (Lancaster) there is a play put on in one of the public parks (Williamson’s Park) and by chance this year’s subject was Robin Hood. I've always loved this classic tale and we booked tickets to see it as soon as they became available last year. A week before I began reading Hooded Man my family and I watched the play… Why am I mentioning this? I really wish that whoever wrote the play had read Hooded Man first, he could have learned a lot about how it’s supposed to be done. The characters in Hooded Man are aware of the Robin Hood story, they know that their lives have parallels to the classic tale – the protagonist is an ex-policeman who has excellent woodsman skills and teaches himself to use a bow (due in part to a lack of modern weapons to hand) while our antagonist of the first book sets himself up as Sheriff of one of the UK’s best kept castles – Nottingham.
The author doesn’t pretend to recreate the Robin Hood story, instead he draws inspiration from it to create his own unique story that makes effective use of the post-apocalyptic backdrop… The Hooded Man himself cuts quite the enigmatic figure, a dark and brooding flawed hero who is driven to protect his charges and fights like a deamon. It’s impossible not to like the guy, along with the supporting cast while the antagonists make equally good bad guys. The stories are entertaining, the pace is swift and steady and the three books join together seamlessly, each strong enough individually and yet together greater than the sum of their parts. Hooded Man is a rich post-apocalyptic tale that adds much to the Afterblight Chronicles universe; a highly rewarding read.’
(SF Reviews 4 star review)To buy Hooded Man, click here or here.
Visit the ‘Arrowhead Trilogy’ website by clicking here
The Gemini Factor
First published by Screaming Dreams in the UK, March 2010. Trade Paperback, with cover artwork by Steve Upham, £9.99.
‘In some ways – and I mean this only as a compliment – The Gemini Factor is deceptively conventional: It moves along like a well-structured thriller – moves like a fucking rocket, in fact – but what’s fascinating to me (and will be, I trust, to you) is how it’s actually something else at the same time. In an extremely well executed example of form imitating content, the novel itself is “twinned”. The surface narrative has a secret brother walking constantly alongside, hiding its footprints in those of its sibling, keeping always to the shadows of subtext and carefully delineated implication. ReadingThe Gemini Factor, you will feel you are reading a first-rate example of the realistic Police Procedural, one with an adorable and admirable heroine and many other characters about whom you could actually give a shit. All the time, though, you will have a sense that another story is taking place, one that you can’t quite see, one that is being told only in whispers, one that is a supernatural echo of the main narrative, its shadow self, its dark brother. You might tell yourself you’re imagining things. But you’re not. You don’t have to. Paul Kane got there first and has imagined it for you. And – once the stories converge in the tension-filled and well-staged climax – you’ll be grateful that he did. Grateful and impressed. Grateful, impressed and, just a little bit, appalled.’
(From the Introduction by Peter Atkins – Author of Morningstar and Moontown, screenwriter of Hellraiser II-IV and Wishmaster)
‘The Gemini Factor is a supernatural thriller from the award winning author Paul Kane... The novel tells the story of a twisted and highly successful serial killer whose victims are always one of twins and always have a body part missing, taken by the killer as a souvenir. Inspector Roy Mason and his Sergeant Deborah Harrison are the detectives who must hunt this murderer before he kills again but their only lead is Jack Foley, a man who’s own twin brother was savagely struck down by the killer and now believes he relives each and every death....The Gemini Factor draws on the twins mythology to create a modern day thriller of supernatural proportions. The plot is both involving and rewarding while the actual storytelling is quite excellent. Paul Kane manages to create a realistic portrayal of victim / killer / hunter without going over the top as many other writers do. His descriptive narrative grabs attention while the plot’s pace manages to keep you reading. The protagonist and lead characters are well fleshed out and it’s very easy to relate to them, it isn’t long before begin rooting for their survival and wellbeing – a testament to the quality of writing. More contemporary than most books you will find on this site and that I personally read, The Gemini Factor is nevertheless a very well crafted and rewarding novel which I have no hesitation in recommending.’
(Four Star Review from Science Fiction & Fantasy)
‘ The Gemini Factor, by Paul Kane, is an unusual take on the traditional serial killer saga. As can be anticipated from the man that gleefully retells myths & folklore, Kane skilfully reinterprets genre conventions in his latest thriller. By pairing science & the supernatural (one of many, many twins – literal and metaphorical – in The Gemini Factor), he’s created something quite new and nasty. In the fictional city of Norchester, a serial killer is stalking twins. And, as serial killers are wont to do, killing them and chopping off bits. The killer is amusingly named “Twinkle” by the city’s local media, but despite the condescending name, he (or she) is a nasty piece of work. [Editor’s note: In a manoeuvre clearly meant to win over my carnivorous heart, the killer uses a giant BBQ fork to spear victims.] While Twinkle skewers and slices the city’s population, an unlikely pair of heroes try to solve the case. Detective Sergeant Deborah Harrison (nickname: “Blondie”) is a talented sleuth, but fears that the Twinkle case is beyond her. She finds an unlikely ally in Jack Foley, a scruffy historian (and also a twin). Ever since Twinkle killed his brother, Jack is inextricably and inexplicably linked to the killer. Every time Twinkle takes a life, Jack can somehow see it. Given the particularly messy nature of the murders, this has taken its toll on Jack’s sanity. The author puts in a lot of time making the little details of Jack and Debbie’s lives come to life... But while Jack and Debbie are both empathetic, the book’s real star is the fictional city of Norchester.... It has seedy back alleys, an antiquated police station, an isolated posh neighbourhood and hotels with fading Victorian grandeur. In short, it has everything a city needs to be properly thrilling. Paul Kane has created a brilliantly detailed and utterly believable setting – hopefully one that is revisited in later books. The Gemini Factor is a tightly-plotted, well-planned thriller. A disturbing villain stalks a compelling, British noir setting, while heroes combine modern forensics and ageless intuition to stop him. Not just something for everyone, but something very good...’
‘As a fan of Paul’s futuristic Afterblight series from Abaddon, when I heard about this new offering from new publisher Screaming Dreams, I was more than happy to give it a go. What you get within this offering are characters who jump off the page, some great dialogue, and a plot that’s as twisted as this author’s mind can conceive which only adds to this reading experience. Dressed up as a traditional crime novel, it’s the way in which the author has managed to blend Urban Fantasy, a touch of Sci-Fi and mixed it all up with a wicked sense of humour. It’s a cracking title and one that I really had a blast reading. Definitely a title for people to give a go and if the other releases from this publisher are as tempting as this then they’ve got a secure future ahead. Top quality for a great price.’
(Mass Movement Magazine)
‘Paul Kane’s The Gemini Factor breathes some fresh air into the serial killer subgenre, chronicling the efforts of Sergeant Harrison and Inspector Mason as they work tirelessly to solve a series of murders in the city of Norchester. What makes their case unique is that the killer is only targeting twins, using a two-pronged fork to kill one twin while letting the other one live. The suspect also takes a trophy from each victim by removing one item from a paired body part (i.e. one hand, one leg, etc). As more and more bodies are found, the city of Norchester lives in fear of the “Twin Killer,” or “Twinkle” for short... Kane’s tale of suspense is a fun read. Not only is the nature of the killings so unique, but the story also goes through numerous twists and turns along the way. There’s no doubt in my mind that readers will think they know where Kane is leading them, only to have the rug yanked out from beneath them time and again. Kane’s style is such that you can’t help but turn the page to see what he’s going to do next, and it’s that unpredictability that has earned my readership in the last couple years. Simply put, the man can tell one hell of an entertaining yarn. If you’re looking for a fun summer read, go grab a copy of The Gemini Factor…and while you’re at it, pick up a couple more of Kane’s books. He hasn’t disappointed me yet, and I’m guessing you’ll enjoy his writing too.’
‘I enjoyed reading this book! Kane’s take on the serial killer procedural novel keeps you entertained and enthralled till the very end. Barker is right when he says Kane is a “first rate storyteller.” The book reminds me a little of Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas novels... The city of Norchester is the venue for our serial killer, dubbed Twinkle by the newspapers. The killer is searching out twins, killing one of them and taking trophies. Detective Sergeant Deborah Harrison is on the case, and when a man turns up at the first two crime scenes she thinks she may have found her killer... Kane’s no nonsense writing style makes this book read like a modern crime novel, but anyone aware of Kane’s previous work may suspect that there is something more going on than a standard crime thriller, and so there is, although I’ll leave what that is for you to discover. The fatal final twists will leave your head spinning... This is such a fun book to read, so easy, it feels like the story just wraps you up. It’s like reading those other classic genre storytellers King and Koontz. Kane certainly has the pedigree and this crime/genre novel is marvellously well crafted.’
‘There’s no doubt that twins share an unexplainable link. It’s something beyond the understanding of mere science... In Paul Kane’s The Gemini Factor, a serial killer terrorises the fictional city of Norchester, hunting twins and collecting body parts. Perhaps the most interesting thing about The Gemini Factor is that the novel itself actually changes as you navigate your way through it. From hard-boiled detective story to love story, from mystery to suspense to horror, the novel seamlessly morphs from one genre to another. Paul Kane tells the story in clean, crisp, easy-to-read prose, and because of this, the novel’s tight plot never comes close to unwinding, and it never gets boring. No word, no detail is wasted. The reader stays interested from page to page, from beginning to end, as they explore Kane’s well-crafted Norchester, and get to know his heroes as they strive to end the spate of brutal killings. Overall, Paul Kane’s The Gemini Factor offers a very interesting twist on the usual serial killer fiction, with some very, very creepy bits mixed in to keep you thinking about the story for awhile afterwards. So, go ahead and pick up this book; get to know a new kind of evil. If you are a twin – sorry; this novel may be particularly disturbing.’
(Chuck Gould, HorrorBound)
‘I was struck first by the dark poetry of Kane’s writing. Then I was grabbed by the story and the characters. When Sergeant Deborah Harrison visits the family of a murder victim she is shocked to find herself staring at the dead man’s face. It quickly becomes evident that all the killer’s victims are one of twins. Then there is Jack Foley, whose link to the killer is bizarre and unbelievable. The Gemini Factor is dark, a crime novel with a horrific supernatural twist.
(Adele Harrison, Un:Bound)
To buy The Gemini Factor, click here
To read a sample chapter in PDF, click here
Of Darkness and Light
First published by Thunderstorm Books, March 2010. White Lightening Hardcover Edition ($49) and Monsterbacks Softcover Edition ($16.95), with cover artwork by Vincent Chong.
‘Fear of the dark has a very impressive pedigree. It doesn’t surface in the first few years of life – kids have to learn to be scared of it, as they learn most of their fears – but it’s so persistent across cultures, communities and eras of human development that scientists at one time thought it was controlled and brought on by a brain chemical called scotophobin. There was talk of synthesising this chemical and using it as a battlefield weapon: probably a mercy, all things considered, that it turned out not to exist. But the fear is real enough... It’s customary in horror novels to draw on the fear of the dark, but usually there’s at least one metaphorical remove between what you’re reading and what you experienced as a child the first time your mum wouldn’t leave the landing light on and the door open when you settled down for the night. No metaphors here, and no removes. This is the beginning and the end of things all rolled into one ball and clattering through the everyday world leaving terror and ruin in their wake. Nightfall. Enjoy.’
(From the Introduction by Mike Carey – Bestselling Author of The Devil You Know, Vicious Circle, Dead Men’s Boots, Thicker Than Water and The Naming of Beasts)
‘Earlier this year, I stumbled across Paul Kane via his Peripheral Visions collection. To say I was blown away is an understatement. It’s been a long time since I’ve read stories so original, creative, and entertaining. So it was with high expectations that I jumped into Kane’s forthcoming short novel, entitled Of Darkness and Light... As showcased in his short story “Yin and Yang”, and now in Of Darkness and Light, Kane excels at making readers question their belief systems and contemplate the opposing forces of our world. Good versus Evil is rarely this thought-provoking and enjoyable. Kane also effectively uses a moody atmosphere to bring his world to life, and allows readers to get to know his characters inside and out – the fears they face, the poverty they live in, the friendships they share, and the hope they cling to.’
(Andrew Monge, Horror Drive-In)
‘What a pleasant surprise this book ended up being... First off, Paul put together one of the best prologues I have read in quite a while. It was gripping, powerful and had me damn near quaking with anticipation... Something must be said for Paul’s effortless pacing and prose that generally flows like a nice, cool vanilla smoothie... He managed to take all of my expectations and punch me in the face with them... Incredibly entertaining and I enjoyed every minute of reading it.’
(Anton Cancre, HorrorNews.net)
‘Set against a bleak Midlands backdrop, this is a tight, claustrophobic novel about an average teenager who is devastated when his childhood sweetheart leaves him for another guy. Just when Lee Masterton thinks his life cannot get any worse, he is coerced into taking a job as a night watchman, and then he meets the beings that inhabit the light... and the dark. It is rare to find a horror story containing such a healthy dose of modern realism in the form of urban decay, unemployment and dissatisfied youth, and this story certainly makes these elements work to its benefit... The prose is crisp and the plot tightly woven, the characters believable and the style accessible. The author does a great job of building tension in anticipation of a thrilling climax that cannot fail to move you.’
(Christian Saunders, Morpheus Tales)
‘Kane’s atmospheric style is reminiscent of Ramsey Campbell, dark and truly terrifying, contemporary in content yet classic in terms of mood. Darkness is a universal fear, one that we can either relate to or empathize with. Kane plays on this fear quite well. More than that, however, he gives us a protagonist we can care about... Paul Kane has demonstrated an ability to bind tone and terror with this novel. Kane’s adroitness with the language of fear, his ability to convey suspense and cerebral terror, gives the story a much more classic feel than most contemporary horror novels. The end result is a truly frightening novel that brings you in, haunts you for the duration, and lingers long after the story has been told. Kane is a craftsman, and Of Darkness and Light is an extremely well-crafted piece.’
(Jason Rolfe, HorrorBound)
‘Award-winning writer Paul Kane firmly establishes characters and the dramatic conflict between them early on in this compelling novel, setting the stage for the confrontation to follow. Like many children, Lee Masterson feared the dark, his fear intensified by his belief that creatures exist in the shadows, evil beings that watch and follow wherever he goes. His terror increases with age as he begins to catch glimpses of the creatures of darkness... Action is non-stop and breathtaking in this suspenseful tale that challenges the reader to re-examine their beliefs about good and evil. A consistently strong voice in the horror genre, his unique, unorthodox and totally original Of Darkness and Light keeps adrenaline pumping right up until the startling conclusion.’
(Horror World, read the full review here
‘Great story, great characters, wonderfully written (as always) – couldn't put it down. Totally original idea. Needs to be made into a movie, like pronto!’
(Barbie Wilde – Actress who portrayed the Female Cenobite in Hellbound: Hellraiser II, author of The Venus Complex)
(Mass Movement Magazine)
‘Paul Kane has written an interesting short novel with a twist on the light versus dark, good versus evil battle. He crafts some fine characters, which is essential if the book is not to degenerate into some sort of light fantasy. The characters carry the tale rather than the events. Lee Masterton has always been afraid, no, terrified, of the dark. There is something there, watching him. It’s a common enough phobia among the young, but Lee is now in his late teens and he hasn’t grown out of it. He simply KNOWS there is something or someone there watching him. He is right. There is... The battle is focused on Lee since he is the only one who can see the dwellers in the dark and the light. Is he up to it? There will be many surprises for him as his world is reversed. So many people are not what they seem. Kane’s skilful writing carries the estate’s mood of depression well and sets the stage for the action that follows. It’s a great story and Lee’s mood is the thread that carries it through. He is a reluctant hero pushed into prominence because of the one ‘talent’ he would rather do without - his fear of the dark.’
First published by Bad Moon Books, September 2012. Limited Hardcover Edition ($30) and Trade Paperback Edition ($18.95), with cover artwork by Gabriel Lopez and introduction by Ramsey Campbell.
‘A very original, riveting tale that will force me to search out more work by this very talented writer. This story grabbed hold of me from the very first page and refused to let go. It is atmospheric, violent, and action packed. I found the characters to be fully realized and three dimensional, especially the main character, Nick. I came to care about him and the situation he found himself in, which enabled me to really lose myself in the story. Though the premise of the tale has been done countless times, Mr. Kane manages to put a fresh spin on the whole end of the world mythos. It was especially satisfying when the truth behind what had happened is finally revealed. Throughout the story, I was trying to guess what was behind the events, and I didn’t even come close. I just love it when that happens. If you are in the market for something original, well conceived, and well written, you need not look any further than Lunar by Paul Kane. I highly recommend it.’
(Famous Monsters of Filmland)
‘Nick Skinner is awoken in the night when his girlfriend attacks him. She is feral and her eyes are somewhat different. She is not the person he was out celebrating with the previous evening. As he escapes he finds she is not the only feral – the town seems to be full of them. And also the clock stopped at one second past midnight, as did all clocks. Most cars will not work but some will. Most guns will not work, but some will. Nick flees the town in search of fellow survivors and, hopefully, answers. The answers, when they do come, are very clever indeed, but the clues are drip-fed in such a way that I don't think many people will get there before the big reveal. So, interesting ideas, plenty of tension and loads of action – another winner from Paul Kane. Surely it is only a matter of time before this man hits the big time.’
(Andy Angel, Goodreads)
First published by Crystal Lake Publishing, June 2013. Trade Paperback Edition (£6.49 / $9.49), with cover artwork by Ben Baldwin and introduction by David Moody.
‘Sleeper(s) struck a chord with me. It resonates like the Nigel Kneale and John Wyndham stories of old.’
(From the introduction by David Moody – Bestselling author of Autumn and Hater.)
‘Sleeper(s), by Paul Kane, is a rapidly moving tale of nature and science gone awry. Add in booze, sex, cultural diversity, and political subterfuge, and I believe Mr. Kane has something here for everyone. Some parts of this story are amazingly in line with my own thoughts regarding the possibilities of the evils that governments sometimes engineer, or might, given the chance. I am not a believer in having Prologues in books, tending to feel they give too much of the story away. However, the one here was skilfully used and added to the book. Even better than that was the Epilogue. This was a superb piece of prose having me say, “Look at the possibilities!” That being said, I am hoping that Mr. Kane sees fit to share a second book with us. This could be a series. Paul Kane is a superb author. I most highly recommend you read Sleeper(s).’
(Blaze McRob, Tales of Horror)
‘If you take Quatermass Experiment (and Xperiment), Quatermass and The Pit, Day of the Triffids, Night of the Triffids, Outbreak, The Andromeda Strain, Lifeforce, Inception – throw them all into a blender, grind into tasty chucks, you’ll come out with something like Paul Kane’s novel Sleeper(s). This page-turner will make you scream, laugh and think – sometimes all in the same sentence. Highly recommended.’
‘With his take on the zombie/military genre, Kane shows off his action pedigree in the infectious Sleeper(s), keeping the pages turning at a blistering pace. You’ll be kept awake by this tale of a English town that refuses to sleep soundly!’
‘Suzie is a little girl on a picnic with her family. She wanders off to explore and finds the most beautiful flowers she’s ever seen. They’re so pretty she decides to pick one to show her parents. When one of the thorns pricks her finger, she gets sleepy, oh so sleepy, and falls asleep on the ground before she can return to their loving embrace.
So begins the possible end of mankind. Sleeper(s) is a tale of potential disaster, near-apocalypse and the folly of mankind. Suzie isn’t the only one affected, she’s just the first, and as others fall prey to this dread malady, good guys and not-so-good guys race to contain and control the spread of this coma-like sleep. Not only are those afflicted unable to be roused, they exude a cocoon-like substance from their pores. Then, when all is seemingly lost, they rise. Oh no, I know what you’re thinking. These are decidedly not zombies. They’re “Sleepers”, not dead but not under their own control either. Bullets can’t stop them, fire consumes but does not destroy…but maybe there’s still a chance for a cure. Whatever controls the Sleepers, well, it doesn’t want a cure and it drives those under its influence to assimilate its enemies into its embrace. Proving he’s not stranger to plot twists, Paul Kane takes us on a tense ride and squeezes us until we’re so anxious we nearly pop. It’s deadly certain that Sleeper(s) is no sleeper. You’ll be up all night trying to get to the last page.’
(Jim Dodge, Mass Movement magazine)
‘Paul Kane’s Sleeper(s) is a rip roaring adventure horror, that will, ironically, give the reader many a sleepless night. Fans of Quatermass will love this book!’
(Jim McCleod, Ginger Nuts of Horror)
‘‘Dr. Strauss is about to visit a quarantined city in the hope that he can develop a treatment for the highly contagious, mysterious aliment that has struck every man, woman, and child who lives there…The vivid descriptions of what is happening to the residents of Middletown paint such a horrifying picture of the changes they’re undergoing that I nearly jumped out of my skin when a piece of my hair brushed against my neck as I read that scene. Every assumption I’d made about what was actually happening in Middletown was thrown out the window as Dr. Strauss begins collecting samples and attempting to find a cure…
By the climax Kane weaves all of the subplots together in ways I never would have predicted they would fit. The final glimpse of this world was the perfect capstone to this eerie, rule-bending tale. Sleeper(s) kept me up late last night. I’d recommend this book in particular to readers who love techno-thrillers and science fiction that is heavily influenced by current scientific knowledge.’
(Long and Short Reviews)
‘I’ll be the first to say I’m not a big fan of zombie novels (not the most popular opinion, I know). Looking at the cover I figured that’s what this was. Luckily I couldn’t have been more wrong. There’s more than a trace of that subgenre here, but Paul Kane’s Sleeper(s) is unlike anything I’ve read. Part medical thriller, part zombie story, part fairy tale and part sci-fi shlockfest, Sleeper(s) is a unique beast that genre fans of all sorts will enjoy… I was drawn in immediately by the general conceit, and drawn further by the great characterisation. Strauss, his assistant, and the group of people they’re with are all three-dimensional personalities, flawed (sometimes deeply) but with understandable motivations…
The atmosphere is brilliant as well. It’s utterly creepy. Kane does a great job mixing tension with a sort of hazy, dreamlike quality that appropriately matches the story’s events. It’s got the feel of a modern dark fairy tale, partly inspired as it seems to be by Sleeping Beauty. The first act is all mystery, and really keeps you turning the pages… I won’t spoil plot details or get into the origin of the virus. All I will say is there’s a lot to like here, and I very much recommend it. It’s a cerebral take on the genres it culls from, but it’s fast-paced and always entertaining. Think of it as the written equivalent of a B-movie with brains. Good stuff indeed.’
(Horror Novel Reviews 4/5)
‘Imagine if Freddy Krueger bottled up his particular brand of terror and shipped it off to England, just for the hell of it. Well, what do you think would happen? Sleeper(s) by Paul Kane is not exactly like that, but if I close my eyes and imagine Freddy Krueger with a better – eviller – marketer, I can see him coming up with something similar to what’s in Paul Kane’s novella. In other words: Nine, ten, never sleep again… Sleeper(s), set in Middletown (somewhere in the UK), is a haunting tale of a whole town suddenly falling asleep…for no apparent reason. The UK and US military (reluctantly working together to get to the bottom of this illness) bring in the help of renowned doctor, Dr. Andrew Strauss – who’s been waiting for this case his whole life. The thing is, there are more dangers in the quarantined town than they thought possible, which includes some violent sleepwalking scenes, sleep-falling scenes, the sleeping undead scenes, and some sleep-killing scenes. Sounds intriguing, yes? Well, it is. Sleeper(s) is fast-paced, contrary to the sleeping sickness plot, and the characters are realistic (even the psychotic ones)… I still enjoyed Sleeper(s) by Paul Kane a lot. It’s got some sci-fi elements, a great deal of horror, some interesting characters, and best of all, it’s a novella, so it’s a fun little book to read before bedtime rolls in…’
‘Paul Kane is a British author who has – by slow degrees – come to my attention through social media. Although not privy to reading his fiction before this, I was aware had Paul entered the collective tribe with numerous publications orbiting the Hellraiser mythos – in particular the well-received Hellbound Hearts anthology released in 2009 (of which Paul was a creative and driving force).Not only prolific in publishing circles, he seems to be an overall advocate for British horror across the globe. With Sleeper(s), Paul teams up with the burgeoning South African small press Crystal Lake Publishing to give us a short, cinematic novel heavily influenced by the epidemic sub-genre whose peak came with techno-thrillers such as The Andromeda Strain.
Middletown UK, and an entire populace has been rendered unconscious by an enigmatic “sleeping” disease that’s reminiscent of a plague. Consequently quarantined in the aftermath, the military enlists the help of Dr. Andrew Strauss … an eccentric insomniac and a pioneer in the study of infectious diseases. Now a freelance maverick, Andrew travels the world with a (doting) assistant ready to tackle the next contagion. Though separated by a recent romantic tryst, both he and his partner are recalled as cavalry to the ghost town of Middletown, there to confront a virus that appears almost supernatural in origin. Accompanying the scientists are a motley crew of British and US soldiers – both of whom serve under different motives and clash in a melee of culture and warring personalities.
Paul has created an ominous world around Middletown. Choosing what is almost a “slant” on the saturated zombie genre – much as Stephen King did with Cell – the infected humanity here are refreshing and unpredictable creatures. Dormant to the environment and cocooned in a kind of white webbing secreted from their bodies, each “Sleeper” appears to share a collective hive mind on a dreaming frequency that can also be accessed by the living. Shuffling around with malevolent intent, there is an old school flavour to these living dead that harkens back to tales prevalent in the past – where characters and their motivations come in black and white … and the view through one’s imagination contains the same tone and imagery… For readers who love the cross-pollination of science fiction and horror – and like it told in a gritty action style with military nuance – there is a lot to like within these pages. Compact of length and cinematic in scope, Sleeper(s) contains just enough punch for this reviewer to seek out the further works of Paul Kane.’
First published by Rocket Ride Books, November 2013. Trade Paperback Edition (£6.96 / $9.99)
‘I loved this story, pure and simple. You’ll never look at that pretty, pretty rainbow the same way again.’
(From the introduction by NYT, USA Today and #1 Internationally bestselling author of more than 30 novels including the popular Morganville Vampires series, Rachel Caine)
‘Something fiendish this way comes. The Rainbow Man is a creeper that it winds its black tendrils around you…and squeezes. Expect to be turning pages behind the couch…by flashlight. I couldn’t put it down until the sun came up!’
(Nancy Holder – NYT Bestselling author of The Wolf Springs Chronicles: Unleashed, Hot Blooded and Savage, plus Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels including Immortal and The Book of Fours)
A wonderfully spooky tale, full of sinister twists and turns. Creepy enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. I loved it!”
(Alex Bell – Bestselling author of the Lex Trent books, Jasmyn and The Ninth Circle)
‘Paul Kane writes with confidence and skill, crafting a gripping YA novel that once started cannot easily be put down. The great thing about this story is that it can be enjoyed on different levels: the emotional context of Daniel’s family life, the awful gap left by the death of his father, the horror of the Rainbow Man and the social commentary of how, sometimes, we often fail to see what is right under our noses. And like all good YA books it doesn't really matter what age you are, the story is strong enough to carry the reader through to the final page. P.B. Kane is an award-winning writer and editor with a host of books and comic books to his name. What he doesn't know about horror isn’t worth writing down. Well worth a read.’
(Starburst Magazine, 8/10 review)
‘Kane’s prose drips with menace, his lead characters – Daniel…his younger brother Mikey, and friends Jill and Greg – are well-written, and the final reveal and climax is very exciting. Well worth checking out, and I hope that Kane writes more for this age range.’
(YA?, Yeah, Yeah)
‘Full of mystery and intrigue, this story will suck you straight in to how a tight community can fall to pieces in the blink of an eye!... Daniel is a character who is consistent and driven to solve any problems, no matter what people think of him. He also tries his best to protect his family and friends no matter what, even if it means driving them away. His involvement in the story was key and his theories prompted you to try and solve the mystery alongside him…The mystery and conflict behind his story is incredibly engaging. The way that some of Daniel's thoughts concerning his father always ended in: “Especially before he...”, ah, I just really wanted to know what had happened. The manipulation of the community was interesting to read about, how they turned against each other and acted the opposite of their usual characters gave a thrilling and creepy edge to this story that kept you wanting to read further and allowed you to look deeper into their hidden feelings and personalities. This is an engaging and thrilling story, testing the friendships and family bonds between all when they are pushed to their limits.’
(Once Upon a Moonlight)
‘Daniel Routh lives in a small fishing community on the island of Shorepoint with his mother and his little brother Mikey. After a storm he, his brother and two friends, Jill and Greg follow a rainbow and find a body on the beach. This strange, unknown man, when he recovers, becomes a part of community life, everyone seems to love him but Dan is not convinced. Alas he seems to be the only one though.
‘This YA novel by Paul Kane features an introduction by Morganville Vampires author Rachel Caine and according to the blurb, “you will never look at a rainbow in the same way again.”… I was more than a little excited to read this book, especially as Caine likens it to Hitchcock in tone, more of a creeping build up than a Michael Bay bang.
Daniel Routh would never forget the day they found the body. This book is refreshing in that its teenage characters aren’t all angsty with more excess baggage that Paris Hilton going through airport control. Daniel’s little brother Mikey is always tagging along with Daniel and his best friends, which isn’t surprising given that they live on an island with little to do. So the teenagers with Mikey in toe set off on an adventure following the storm of the previous night. On the beach the next day as the kids explore, the enthusiastic collie Vincent appears to be chasing the left over rainbow that leads to the body of a man, barely alive. But there is something about the man, whose only name he can remember is John, that makes Daniel distinctly uncomfortable. Strange things are happening in the village, which Daniel believes could be linked to the mysterious newcomer John Dee, the Rainbow Man.
As usual with Kane’s writing there is a great deal of atmosphere from the outset. The ghost of the boys losing their father hovers around the text. There is an almost Stephen King vibe to the novel, with the small town environment, intimate locals and a sense of the supernatural. Kane keeps the tension building as Daniel, then his friends investigate exactly who, or what, the Rainbow Man is. This is a compelling story of Daniel’s growth into adulthood and the nature of humanity and the grip of something inherently evil on a small community. And when the mythology is finally revealed, well, what a cracker. Brilliant YA Fantasy in action.’
‘The Rainbow Man by P.B. Kane is a quiet, sinister fantasy thriller with a mythological twist… Like the secrets of Shorepoint, the plot reveals itself in relentless, slithering waves that break upon the strand of reason and erode the reader’s sense of security. As the various denizens of Shorepoint are alternately lulled into complacency or perplexed by the blight that has befallen their normally idyllic community, shadows loom and threaten until the reader is breathless with anticipation. Conversational, engaging narrative makes The Rainbow Man a real page-turner, appropriate for young audiences but gripping enough to hold any adult’s attention.
(Readers’ Favourite 5/5)
‘This is a terrific, slowly escalating thriller that readers who love scary books will devour. I know I did. And it’s a perfect read to take in on one sitting…I would say that the author knows his craft, creating this “clean” literary thriller that will be just as great for teens as for adults. It has a great setting that the reader will love – an island somewhere off the UK. It’s a small coastal town that helps create a feeling of being stranded, which is a key element in the story for Daniel as he is the only person to believe that the rainbow man is not who he leads everyone to believe. Recommended for lovers of horror and books with paranormal or mythological twists. Also recommended to audio book listeners since it’s just as great of a book in its audio version, with its UK accented reader.’
(Layers of Thought, 4 Star review)
‘Daniel, Jill, and Greg are the best of friends...peas in a pod....three musketeers....they are lucky to have one another living on such a small and secluded island like they do. An innocent stroll on the beach after a wicked storm changes things though, and not just about their friendship, but about everything on the whole island. Daniel, Jill, Greg, and Daniel’s little brother Mikey go out to the beach to see what the storm may have washed up on shore. What they find is anything but usual, it is a man...what looks to be a dead man. When Daniel suddenly sees the man’s eyes flash all the colors of the rainbow he tries to logically think it away as a reflection of the rainbow that seems to have led him to find the man. Soon Daniel knows something about this John Dee is not as it seems or should be. Quickly everyone loves him and seems to think only he knows what is right. Good things start to happen on the island, so they all think John is good luck. Daniel knows the truth and sees John for what he really is, but how can he get anyone to believe him when John seems to be so helpful? Soon Daniel is in the fight for the island peoples’ lives and is desperately trying to get Jill and Greg back on his side. Will he get the help from his friends that he needs to find out what or who John Dee really is? Will it be in time to save the island and its people? Will Daniel really want to accept the truth of John if and when he does find it?
(Angels Are Kids and Furkids)
First published by SST Publications, December 2015. Trade Hardback Edition (£17.95)
‘Upon receiving Blood RED, I was delighted to discover that RED is included with it so that’s a bonus for people like me who hadn’t bought RED when it first bared its fangs in 2008. If you’ve already read RED, you’ll probably know a lot more than I do as I open the door and follow the breadcrumbs of this modern-day fairy tale. There are no breadcrumbs in this tale, however; that’s for another story which I personally hope Mr. Kane will revisit and bring his contemporary worldview to on that theme…
RED is the raw-meaty morsel of a novella written by Paul Kane and is included here with its sequel, Blood RED (2015)… The dramatic opening scene will doubtless appeal to readers who enjoyed the “Flash, Boom!” approach most recently deployed in the opening episode of American Horror Story – Hotel. It leaves you breathless from start to finish, fingers bloodied as you turn the pages for more gore and lust…Such a brutal and graphic beginning to my journey with RED snatched my breath and left me wanting more. It also served to yell at me, “Don’t be misled into thinking this is a fairy tale intended for children” – it clearly is not…In summary, with RED, Paul Kane has provided a well-constructed and fast-paced visual and visceral tale, a contemporary re-telling of the “Red Riding Hood” fable; a tale which, it’s implied, is being played out for a second time – and perhaps by the same two characters!
I realise now that Paul Kane’s prologues are, like the flirting and seductive activities his characters are engaged in, merely a means to an end. He holds your head under water, allowing you to almost drown so that when your head is lifted again to begin Chapter One, you’re already gasping for air, the fight or flee effect has been triggered. It also challenges the normal reassurance when reading or watching horror that you at least know who is the protagonist, and who is the one we should run from. Again, not in this case… In Blood RED, we continue the events and are re-acquainted with some of the surviving characters introduced in the original. We also meet several more, including the enigmatic “Hunter,” along with a sort of “Sniffer” organisation, confirming to me that a future HBO-style TV series would be a natural progression from the written word. I can only hope, if that does happen, we see more of Blood RED than True Blood in the production and that its writer, Paul Kane, can keep a steady hand on the axe… erm, tiller. Whatever, you know what I mean. Blood RED also provides us with an “origins” narrative, which is exactly what I was hoping for. Maybe it’s comforting for us to know where the beasts come from, so we know where or when we should look for them, or lest we fear they come from within ourselves and need to find early warning signs? That said, I’m just off to check the mirror and investigate the palms of my hands.’
(5 * Review, Dread Central)
Rachael Daniels remembered her Grandma’s stories, she dreams of being chased by the creature, she tries to outrun it, but those flashing teeth snapping are always too close… we’re thrown into an urban jungle, from prim looking flats to run down neighborhoods where hoodlums smoke against the wall, human predators themselves. In this urban setting, we will discover what follows the 2008 story RED, and revisit this mythology, which gets expanded in this novel. Don’t worry, the 2008 story is included in this book at the very beginning, so it ties in seamlessly with Blood RED… If you get the Signed Limited Hardcover Edition you will also get a lot of exclusive extras making this book a complete pitch package; featuring Paul Kane’s own pencil renditions of the characters, extracts from a movie script adaptation (listing its various accolades so far), as well as extracts for a graphic novel adaptation. I would love to see Blood RED as a movie, it would certainly be a very original and terrifying take on the werewolf as a predator living among us, in our day and age.’
(Jose Leitao, Clive Barker Podcast)
‘Paul Kane has become one of my favorite writers of late. I feel ashamed that I’ve come across his written work so late in the game, but like they say there’s no better time than the present…Blood RED is a sequel to Kane’s earlier story simply titled RED which was an interesting take on the Little Red Riding Hood tale. What I most enjoyed about the follow up was how Paul Kane manipulated the reader. You really didn’t know what the hell was going on until something happened. I felt like one of the characters from John Carpenter’s The Thing as I turned each page. Could I trust any of these characters? It was a question that kept popping up in my mind as I was reading it. I never knew what to expect and as a reader I found that to be some damn good writing on part of the author.
The werewolves themselves were big and nasty which is the way I like them. These beasts would devour the likes of Lon Chaney’s Wolfman or even the Lycans from the Underworld movie franchise in one gulp. They don’t mess around when getting what they want. They’re mean and enjoy toying with their victims before they move in for the kill. I sure wouldn’t want to run into these things on a cold dark night. Speaking of killings, the author also doesn’t leave anything to the imagination… Let’s just say Blood Red is a very appropriate title for this book and I’ll leave it at that. Most of the characters were very engaging as well. Hunter was the standout for me because I related to him the most. I loved the internal conflict that Paul gave him. I’ve always loved the loner type characters with big hearts. Rachel Daniels was hard to get into at first but as the story played out I began to really care about her. But it was her mother who stole the show from everyone. She’s the classic protective mother who’s going to make sure nothing happens to her daughter. She also has a scrappy side to her that I liked. The female characters in this book are not written as hopeless victims. They’re strong and can kick some ass; I like females characters like that. So once again Paul Kane has delivered another great novel that should please fans of his work and of the genre. It’s a very strong follow-up to RED and I hope he’ll give us another Red story in the near future. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! 9.5/10’
(Rob Ridenour, Clive Barker Podcast)
‘The book is made up of two parts. The first, RED, is a novella first published by Paul in 2008. It introduces the reader to Rachael Daniels, a care worker whose errand of mercy leads her to be stalked across her city at night by something with evil intent. Move forward to 2015 and Blood RED, the longer novel, goes back to just after the events of RED. It returns us to the story from the perspective of Rachael, but also widens the perspective by bringing in a bunch of trackers determined to find, catch and kill the monster that has been making their city a place of fear. The book has a fast pace from the get-go. It is generally violent and bloody, and, as you would rather expect from a devotee, more in the mould of Clive Barker’s sexier, messier work rather than a subtle analysis of mass-hysteria and fear. What works for me most is that the scenarios are credible, given the circumstances, and the dialogue is both accessible and realistic, giving the impression that this really could happen now. Although this is not a 700 page epic, the characters are developed enough for the reader to readily identify with them without the points having to be laboured. In terms of the characterisation, the story uses tropes that are both entertaining and identifiable. Hunter, the leader of the trackers, is a pleasing hero and deals with a difficult situation in the manner expected, and there are some nicely done minor characters to expand the plot. However, Rachael is the focus of the tale and is therefore the character who develops most over the course of the story. What happens here is initially unexpected, though the signs are there if you want to look for them. The complication that the werewolf can shapeshift into the form of other people makes things pleasantly complicated, and creates situations that can keep the reader guessing.
My edition for review is the expanded one, and as a result there’s a wealth of ephemera to supplement the story. We have the original introduction written for RED by fellow horror writer Tim Lebbon, as well as a new introduction for Blood RED by Alison Littlewood, which explains both the power and the attraction of fairy tales. When I finished it, I did feel that Blood RED was written in a way that would make a great TV series or a film. Paul clearly feels the same way, as there’s an entertaining Appendix in the form of an extract from a movie script adaptation of RED, which gives you the chance to see how a prose novel can become a script. Pleasingly accessible, fast-paced and gloriously gruesome, Blood RED gives a fresh lick of paint (red, obviously!) to an old tale and adds a distinctly adult tone. Good fun.’
(Mark Yon, SFF World)
‘RED: This was a brilliant novella, just dark and gory enough without being extreme. The opening prologue is fantastic. Kane grabbed me by the throat from the first page and refused to let go. I liked everything about RED. I thought Rachael was a great character and she carried the story well. I loved the creepiness and the dark atmosphere. I loved RED. Blood RED: This was a brilliant short novel and an excellent conclusion to RED. Even though Blood RED is a sequel to RED it can be read as a stand-alone-piece. You don’t need to have read the original novella to follow what’s going on. I loved the way this short novel developed and how the gaps from RED are filled. This is proper horror, creepy and unsettling but brilliant. I love the twisted take on Little Red Riding Hood. Who doesn’t love dark and twisted tales inspired by disturbing and unsettling fairy-tales? I loved every page. I had a great time reading RED and Blood RED. Paul Kane’s work has impressed me so far (I reviewed his story collection, Monstersrecently). I’d highly recommend Blood RED.’
(5 * Review, Book Lover’s Boudoir)
‘There is something to be said about an author that can effortlessly entice, disgust and mesmerize his readers, all in the same sentence. There is even more to be said about the sublime experience of discovering a new author’s work and falling deeply in adoration with their style and prose that you wonder what on earth took you so long to discover them. I had never heard of Paul Kane before I was asked to review his latest novel, but baby, after submerging myself in the sweet, delectable bloodbath that is Blood RED, I am a fan of the man now and forever. A dark, twisted modern day take on the Little Red Riding Hood lore, Blood RED is a follow-up to Kane’s novella RED, both of which blew my mind into itty bitty little pieces with this fresh take on the werewolf legend. No longer a creature confined to woods and moon, Paul Kane’s monster is a devious, thoroughly evil being that can be anyone it wants to be and even hunt its unsuspecting prey while simulating the skin of their loved ones.
I won’t lie, the concept is utterly tantalizing, and Kane masterfully weaves this bloody new world into a wicked web that ensnares and captivates in perfect, equal measure. Be warned, this ain’t your run of the mill Red Riding Hood story. Blood RED is exquisitely crafted and perfectly grotesque; this is horror at its most visceral and vivid, and the blood flows so freely from its pages you can almost feel it coat your tongue as you ravenously devour one chapter after another. Fortunately, one taste is all it will take to get you hooked, and after that, your thirst for the sweet Blood RED stuff that Paul Kane has to offer will undoubtedly be as voracious as any beast’s.’
(A Girl’s Guide to Horror)
‘You cheeky bastard! Not only have you revamped the Robin Hood legend (in Abaddon Books’ Afterblight Chronicles) now you have taken Little Red Riding Hood and turned what was already a dark fable into a descent into pure, action-packed horror. While I love to read, my time spent with books had diminished recently...until I picked up my promo of Blood RED. Now I’m back to full speed and enjoying myself again! Thanks Paul!’
(Zero Signal Magazine)
You can order Blood RED here
Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell
‘If you’re a Holmes and Watson fan, you’ll love this book. If you’re an admirer of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser mythology of labyrinths, Cenobites and the exploration of the ultimate in sensual suffering, you’ll also love this book. If you like vivid, imaginative and muscular writing, then, hell, you’ll adore this book.’
(From the Introduction by Barbie Wilde – Female Cenobite from Hellbound: Hellraiser II and author of The Venus Complex and Voices of the Damned)
‘The prologue takes us right into the thick of the box-opening action. We’re sitting in that circle, surrounded by filth, obsessing over the box and how it could be opened, when… ahhhh, but that would be a spoiler, wouldn’t it? This 90,000-worder (approximately) opens with the words of Dr Watson, who is chronicling (apparently for his own purposes) how he met Holmes and touching on some of their adventures together… I suspect Paul Kane will have spent considerable time ensuring his references are as accurate as possible. As a Holmes fan himself, he is doubtless hoping to please the armchair sleuths who are likely to pick this up and accept it for what it is, a believable Sherlock Holmes tale…
A perfectly plausible storyline follows, as Watson goes on to discuss how, after his feigned death, Holmes went travelling, and how, since Moriarty’s demise, Holmes was lacking a challenge. It’s not a great leap of intuition to put the two things together and wonder how Holmes might have sought some excitement (and danger) to keep him away from his self-destructive habits of choice. I really enjoyed the tie-ins to the Cotton family and the address on Lodovico street, which Hellraiser fans will recognise… While the first names of the major characters echo closely the characters in Hellraiser, they are clearly some predecessors from a previous era, lending a kind of alternate universefeel to a fairly familiar tale. This is a skill that Kane has mastered through various retellings of faerie tales such as his treatment in modernising Red Riding Hood in RED and Blood RED… The parallels with the established Hellraiser mythos continue, and of course are augmented by the addition of Holmes and familiar characters from other well-known sources… But I won’t spoil it here. Suffice to say, whether you’re a fan of the first two movies, or Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart novella, or Paul Kane’s Hellbound Hearts anthology of short stories, or the Sherlock Holmes adventures, you’re in for a treat and I doubt if any but the most die-hard purist fan will have any qualms over Kane’s treatment of these subjects that he knows and loves so well…’
(Dread Central 5 star review)
‘The great detective applies his inimitable intellect to a murder mystery like none other in Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell, a surprisingly credible commingling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic characters and the soul-shredding subjects of The Scarlet Gospels. That’s right, readers: Clive Barker’s Cenobites are back – and they may actually have met their match. Holmes himself has seen better days, I dare say. In the wake of the great hiatus, during which period he disappeared to mess with his nemesis, he’s alive and relatively well, but without the dastardly Moriarty to match wits with, he’s grown a bit bored. And as Dr Watson warns: “When Holmes grew bored, it was usually only a matter of time before he took up his old habit of drug use […] however his penchant for his seven-percent solution of cocaine, administered via a needle he kept locked away in a polished Morocco box, was the least of my concerns after he returned, it transpired.”
The black dog of Holmes’ habit is troubling, to be sure, but still more worrisome to Watson is the fact that his closest acquaintance’s “malaise was gaining momentum.” Said detective is dismissing fascinating cases with no explanation and plying his elementary trade in plague-ridden areas. “If these were in fact efforts to feel something, to feel alive,” Watson worries, “then they might well kill the man instead.” It’s a relief, then, that “this dangerous road he was heading down: this terrible testing of himself” seems to cease when a couple come knocking on the door of 221B Baker Street. Laurence Cotton’s brother Francis has gone missing, is the thing, and the police aren’t taking his disappearance seriously – despite the screams the housekeeper heard emerge from the loft he was last seen locking. At the scene of the could-be crime, our chums uncover a void in the decades-old dust that suggests the involvement of a small box, and soon scent “an odd smell of vanilla” masking an undercurrent of what must be blood. From just this, Holmes is convinced that Francis has fallen victim to some dark deed indeed, but the mechanics of his murder are mysterious – as is the motive of the killer or killers – and that comes to fascinate a fellow famed for his ability to explain anything. So it is that Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell starts with “a seemingly ordinary case of a missing person,” but this is just the beginning of “something that would open up a puzzle which would find Holmes stretched to his capacity; that would uncover a conspiracy only whispered about, and inconceivable to anyone of a right mind.”
Of course, Holmes isn’t in his right mind at the time of this tale, so when at last he learns of the Lament Configuration – the elaborate contraption that summons the Cenobites in the Hellraiserbooks and movies – he isn’t simply going to leave it be, is he? Instead, he sends Watson off to France – ostensibly to investigate the box’s origins but really to have him out of harm’s way – and sets about opening a doorway into hell itself. Holmes wasn’t a particularly religious soul, and up until now he had been no great belief in the supernatural – but he trusted logic and the evidence of his own eyes. As he’d once said, “once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”
What happens, though, if the truth turns out to be the impossible? Why, the second half of Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell happens, wherein we bear witness to an escalating battle between a pair of diametrically opposed forces – namely Doyle’s resolutely rational characters and the darkly fantastical proponents of pain Clive Barker breech-birthed in The Books of Blood. The authenticity of Kane’s take on Hell itself, and its inhabitants, is a scant surprise considering his years of attendant experience, as, among other things, co-editor of Hellbound Hearts – from which anthology he borrows several of the more striking Cenobites who have their wicked way with Holmes and his here – and author of The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy, a scholarly study of the themes and ideas explored in said series.
Markedly more startling is the conviction Kane brings to his depiction of the great detective and friends. Though the sections of the story necessarily narrated from Sherlock’s perspective are less impressive…Watson’s account is otherwise wonderful, with all the “colour and life” of the original writer’s romanticised renditions. Kane even takes pains to stitch his story into that patchwork of narrative, such that it is as cleverly couched in canon as Anthony Horowitz’s excellent official additions. That’s not going to be enough to bring the die-hard Doyle devotees around to this inherently infernal affair, but then, Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell was never meant for them. Less demanding fans are, however, apt to have a blast…it really is just what the doctor ordered: a whole bunch of bloody fun!’
‘Sherlock Holmes is one of those characters that writers simply can’t resist reinventing. As nice as it is to see different writers’ takes on the quintessential detective, it seems the shelves of your local independent bookshop are rammed full with clever reinventions of the well-loved hero. Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell stands out from the crowd by being one of the more interesting remixes of Conan Doyle’s classic. It pits both Watson and Holmes against other iconic figures; namely Clive Barker’s Cenobites, better known to some as the demons from The Hellraiser movies. It’s a surprisingly powerful mix, but it makes a lot of sense. Holmes’ greatest power is his insatiable curiosity, and the infamous puzzle box is designed to lure all sorts of hungers into Hell.
The story begins with the great detective attempting to solve a most mysterious disappearance of a chap called Francis Cotton. A locked room, a vanished person and the only clues are a small amount of blood, the feint smell of vanilla and a box-shaped space on the floor. Sherlock’s Victorian world provides a perfect sort of backdrop for the world of Hellraiser. The unspoken sense that scandal is just around the corner suits Barker’s monsters perfectly; Kane manages to create both a credible Holmes mystery, and yet at the same time captures the horror of Hellraiser perfectly. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise; Kane is one of the leading authorities on all things Hellraiser, and a very well regarded horror novelist. The book is littered with many recognisable references to both worlds, and it’s a delight to be able to join the dots between the two. The author’s enthusiasm does become a little obvious at points as it dives deeply into the Hellraiser mythos, but this simply adds to both the horror and joy of the work. Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell is a fun and rapid read. If you like horror, and enjoy the Hellraiser films, this will likely make you lick your lips in anticipation. It’s a horror B-movie of a book, filled with leather, chains and angst. Beautifully bloody fun, with just enough mystery to be delicious.’
‘Crossover stories are an arduous task to pull off. On paper, the idea of hybridizing two or more established properties is an enticing notion, but when it comes to finding that successful blend of the characteristics that define their respective worlds, often it’s the case that they don’t quite live up to expectations. Paul Kane’s Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell amalgamates the universes of Arthur Conan Doyle and Clive Barker respectively, pitting the brilliant detective and his trusty sidekick Watson against their deadliest foes yet – The Cenobites. The book opens with an introduction from Hellraiser icon Barbie Wilde, herself a wonderful author whose work I suggest you seek out immediately. Here she recounts her childhood memories of reading her father’s Sherlock Holmes books until they literally fell apart. Her attachment to the Hellraiser universe is seminal and well-documented, but her love of Holmes is authentic and lifelong. Therefore, her blessing of Kane’s tale ought to dispel any worries the reader might have in regards to this experiment not succeeding. That being said, anything involving Kane and Hellraisercomes with an air of expectation given that Clive Barker himself has commended his expertise on the subject matter. You just need to read his The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy book to get a glimpse into his encyclopaedic knowledge of the franchise. Couple that with his unique imagination and scope for storytelling and you know it’s going to be a winner.
The story centres on Holmes’ and Watson’s investigation into a series of disappearances in London. All of the missing persons have vanished into thin air, and the only evidence left behind is the stench of vanilla and reports of a mysterious blue light in the darkness. Following the death of Moriarty, Holmes has been craving a stimulating challenge, and to entertain himself he’s been partaking in drug use and extreme forms of meditation. This could be just what he needs. However, this case might just present him with a challenge that’s out of his control. I’ll leave it at that, because spoiling this mystery would be doing you an unforgivable disservice. Just know that it’s a resounding success that will surprise you at every turn, even when it incorporates elements you’ll undoubtedly be familiar with.
When you think about it, this crossover is not such an outlandish idea. The Hellraiser franchise has thrived on mystery since its inception and uncovering seemingly impossible mysteries is the very lifeblood of Sherlock Holmes tales. Furthermore, the character of Holmes is a pursuer of knowledge with a number of self-destructive tendencies which provide him with temporary pleasure. Haven’t the Cenobites made a career out of giving those who summon them more knowledge and “pleasure” than they can handle? Throw in seedy gentleman’s clubs, the occult and an array of complimentary nuggets to each universe and the parallels are evident. Thankfully, for fans of each franchise, Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell integrates both worlds seamlessly. Not only does it work as a Holmes detective mystery and as a haunting Hellraiserstory; it stands out as a unique body of work in its own right and a damn impressive one at that. The homages are there in abundance; dutifully respected, yet weaved – and mutated – to great effect. Without going into spoilers, you’ll be grinning from ear-to-ear when you find out what’s become of some of Holmes’ old enemies – that’s if you aren’t shivering to your very core as the story plunges into the heart of darkness. Like the work of Barker and the greats who have tackled Holmes’ most compelling adventures, Kane has created a highly addictive tale that’s intelligent, layered and brimming with splendid imagination.
Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell is a masterwork. If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmesor Hellraiser, you owe it to yourself to check it out and see how wonderfully these worlds converge and bleed into each other to share DNA. Diehards will appreciate the Easter eggs throughout, yet it works as a standalone story that won’t deter newcomers to either franchise. Furthermore, Kane adds his own unique touches that expand on established mythology to great effect with aplomb. This is one you’ll want to read time and time again, and it’ll take something triumphant to top it in 2016.’
(SQ Magazine, 10/10 review)
‘I’m a big fan of the Hellraiser franchise. I’ve seen the films, read the original novella and purchased the comic books… Now that we’ve conclusively established my appreciation of said movie monsters, let’s talk a little about their latest incarnation. The idea of bringing together arguably the most iconic detective of all time and some of horror’s most feared denizens feels like a match made in Heaven, or should that be Hell? Paul Kane’s latest novel does precisely that. It features the forces of darkness squaring off against the forces of good. Prepare yourself, we have such sights to show you. Things start off traditionally enough. We find Holmes at a low ebb. After finally defeating his arch-nemesis Moriarty, he is somewhat bereft. He needs a distraction, something that will occupy his vast intellect. A series of missing persons cases suggest something slightly more sinister than your typical locked door mystery. Who exactly are the mysterious Order of The Gash, and what is their involvement in these disappearances? What follows is a journey that transcends a normal crime and takes Holmes and Watson to the very doors of Hell.
Personally, I’ve always considered Sherlock Holmes to be quite an aloof character. I mean no disrespect; I just think he exists on a different mental plane than us mere mortals. There is certainly evidence to suggest that this is still the case in this instance, he appears dismissive of many at first glance. That said, Paul Kane has added additional layers to this iteration of the character. The various incarnations of Sherlock Holmes I’ve come across in the past, whether in literature or on the screen, all have one thing in common – a cast iron certainty in their abilities as an investigator. There is a vulnerability to Holmes that I don’t think that I’ve ever seen before. Pushed to his limits he reveals himself to be as flawed as the rest of us. I like seeing a new side to a character, especially one that I thought I knew inside out.
John Watson remains the moral compass of the duo. Holmes is entirely focused on knowledge, on understanding the how and why of a situation. Watson, meanwhile, ponders the ramifications of events. I suppose in his own way he keeps Holmes grounded. That is why the partnership works so well. Kane has done a great job of capturing the dynamic between the two. Some chapters are written from Watson’s perspective while others from Holmes, and this gives you a real insight into their innermost thoughts. There are a whole host of Cenobites who pop up. I’d be hard pushed to tell you which one was my absolute favourite. The eagle-eyed readers amongst you will certainly spot some nice nods to the expanded Clive Barker-verse. I’ve been a fan of both Paul Kane and Clive Barker for such a long time. This novel feels like all my Christmases have come at once. The story ends in a suitably epic confrontation. I’ll avoid spoilers, suffice to say that the payoff is exactly what I was hoping for. The battle for Hell is brutal, bloody and more than a little bit messy. I can almost guarantee that it won’t play out the way you are expecting. Paul Kane has successfully created an original story based on the Hellraiser pantheon that not only pays homage to the source material, but is also something uniquely its own. When a crossover is done well, as in this case, it really can be the best thing in the world. I love when an author takes key elements from seemingly disparate mythologies and fashions them into something new and exciting. That is exactly what Paul Kane has done here. I’m sure Clive Barker will love it and I’d like to think Arthur Conan Doyle would give his seal of approval too. Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell is published by Solaris and is available now. Highly recommended. It is unquestionably the best genre mashup I’ve read in ages.’
(The Eloquent Page)
‘Paul Kane is no stranger to the Hellraiser universe. He’s the author of the truly outstanding The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy as well as the editor of the short story anthology, Hellbound Hearts, which expanded Clive Barker’s mythos still further. This is a man who clearly respects Clive Barker’s most brilliant creation. So there could be no safer hands for a tale that brings together two legends, Sherlock Holmes and the Cenobites. As a huge Hellraiser fan myself, I have to admit I’ve been giddy about the prospect of reading this since I first heard about it…When we meet Sherlock he’s a lost soul. His nemesis, Moriarty, is dead and there are no challenges left for him. So instead he has been experimenting with drugs and is close to destroying himself. Then a very special case comes along. Francis Cotton has been reported missing, having disappeared from inside a locked room, and that piques Holmes’ interest. Then the game’s afoot!
If the last name Cotton sounds familiar, it should. We have Francis, who disappeared (Frank), his brother Laurence (Larry), Kirsten, his daughter (Kirsty), and second wife and stepmother to Kirsten, Juliet (Julia). Further parallels with names from the film series continue as further disappearances cross Holmes’ path… The in-references to the initial Hellraiser trilogy of films come thick and fast. As the names kept cropping up it was nice to place them. There was one surprise appearance outside of the film characters that really put a smile on my face… The dynamic between Holmes and Watson, our narrator for the majority of the book, is wonderful. Holmes’ curiosity and excitable nature is evocatively brought to life. As ever, Watson is accused of being his nanny by an irritable and insufferable Holmes for worrying about his reckless behaviour. Paul Kane, through Watson’s narration, slots the story nicely into the established Sherlock Holmes canon with many references to other established cases that took place before and in between the disappearances in the story.
The setting and time period are perfect, a dark and dingy London, industrialization, thick fog, and men seeking understanding and enlightenment in both science and magic. While it feels primarily like a Sherlock Holmes story, a mystery in the typical vein, full of twists, paths do eventually cross. The arrival of the Order of the Gash introduces us to a plethora of new, inventive, and vile Cenobites. This includes a rather Victorian steampunk selection. This was one of my favourite parts of the book… It’s worth a mention that the prologue to the story is absolutely incredible. After reading that you’ll cheer and be hooked. To call this a mashup doesn’t do it justice as that suggests a parody, which this is not. It’s the greatest puzzle solver against the puzzle box. I was completely riveted throughout and couldn’t put it down.’
(Books of Blood)
‘Crossover stories have always been tricky to pull off. Most of them tend to pick a side and never really find a solid middle ground to do justice to both universes. I also find that some fans come away feeling alienated because they feel the characters they’ve come to love over the years aren’t given the respect they deserve. I know I have… I’m happy to report though that both the Hellraiser and Sherlock Holmes universes are given the same amount of respect in Paul Kane’s new novel Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell. I’m not going to go into the details of the story for this review, but simply touch on the aspects that I really enjoyed the most about it. I will say that story reminded me of a couple Sherlock Holmes stories like The Valley of Fear, The Final Problem, The Sign of the Four, and of course Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart. Saying anything more would really spoil the surprise. First off, Paul has perfectly captured the essence of Sherlock Holmes and how these stories work. The atmosphere was dead on and at times it felt like I was reading another story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As for the Hellraiser elements I knew he would deliver on this end of the narrative. The man has lived and breathed this world for years so that part was going to be a given.
The best part of Servants of Hell is Holmes and Watson, especially Watson. For me this story was more about him coming to grips with his past and how his belief system is tested through the narrative. You even begin to question whether Watson will remain sane or not by the end. Holmes is a much darker character here too than I’ve ever seen him before. Paul uses ideas from previous stories about how Holmes has built up tolerances to drugs and poisons to help him withstand anything so he can control his body and mind in any given situation. Well, almost anything if you understand my meaning. In Servants of Hell Holmes faces his most dangerous opponents yet!
If you were disappointed by the lack of new Cenobite creations in The Scarlet Gospels (I wasn’t one of them) fear not because Paul has literally created a small army of new ones here. I think NECA toys could start up their Hellraiser toy line again if they wanted to with all the original creations that he‘s come up with. The last one-hundred pages is a pure adrenaline rush of action and gore that will surely keep the reader on the edge of their seat. The lavish action sequences that are described reminded me of paintings from the mind of Hieronymus Bosch. There’s so much visual imagery it can be overwhelming at times… Well, he’s done it again! Author Paul Kane has delivered another exciting and horror filled tale with Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell. If you want mystery and suspense in the similar style of the classic Sherlock Holmes stories you’ve got it here! If you want skinned bodies, weird insane asylums, and bizarre Cenobite characters, Paul has you more than covered there, too. Clive Barker described The Scarlet Gospels as a kick to the gut then I would go a step further and describe Servants of Hell as a solid ass kicking!’
‘The thing with crossover novels like this is that they can be a tricky beast to get right. You can often end up with one strand being a lot stronger than the other, to the detriment of the story. Thankfully that is not the case here. What is clear from the off here is that Mr Kane knows his stuff. To start with you have a Sherlock Holmes story that could have come from the pen of Conan Doyle himself. Kane captures the essence of place, story and character perfectly. This is not a reinvention of Holmes, this is Holmes. And then… And then we have the Order of the Gash, the Cenobites. What was already a great story takes a step up. Paul Kane is acknowledged (by Clive Barker himself, no less) to be one of the most knowledgeable people when it comes down to the Hellraiser universe – and it shows here. When the Cenobites and their servants on Earth appear the story gets gruesome, horrific – and feels very ‘Hellraisery’. Holmes, Watson and the varying Cenobites (no two the same) all feel as they belong on the same page, in the same story and that, for me, is quite an achievement. Also, the Cenobites (and the pseudo Cenobites – sorry, no spoilers) are not generic creatures. Each one feels like an individual and this is, yet again, where Paul Kane shines. They have names and are described in such visceral detail but still feel believable. Does it help to have prior knowledge of the Hellraiser series? Possibly, but I would not say it is essential. So, at this point I should point out what didn’t work for me with the story – but I can honestly say I would be hard pushed to do that. Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell is a gem of a book that fits well into both Holmes and Hellraiser canon.’
(Sci-Fi Bulletin, 10/10 review)
‘Author Paul Kane is certainly no slouch when it comes to the world of Hellraiser and the Cenobites that reside within the series. Having written a rather lengthy book, aptly-titled The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy, to put it mildly, Kane is a bit of a historian on the subject. When I saw the announcement for his most recent novel, Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell, I knew this genre and character mashup would certainly be in good hands. Not only has Kane delivered on the Hellraiser end of things with Servants of Hell, he has given us a fantastic entry in the Sherlock Holmes series as well. In late 1895, Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson return to solving crimes even though the incident at Reichenbach Falls has left the duo forever changed. Investigating several disappearances that seem to be interconnected, Holmes and Watson will cross paths with The Order of The Gash and come face to face with the ultimate puzzle in the world, one that will take them to the pits of Hell.
The greatest achievement of this novel comes from the vast knowledge and understanding of Hellraiser and its mythos that Kane puts on display. Where most stories of this type would be filled with passing nods to events and other crowd-pleasing nonsense, Kane instead shows us how everything comes together and incorporates the historical references of the Hellraiser film series and expands upon it in ways that make you come away from this novel with a deeper love for the franchise. It isn’t good enough for Kane to just make a passing quip about a character or event found elsewhere in the franchise, he needs to show you how it relates to this story, and also how it differs. Although this is almost an alternative reality to everything we have come to know about the series, it also fits perfectly next to not only the films but also the recently released Scarlet Gospels. Kane’s look into hell is the perfect dessert to those that enjoyed Clive Barker’s final statement on Hell’s High Priest.
Not to ride too high on the achievements of the Hellraiser mythos alone, Kane also accomplishes one of the best non-Doyle Sherlock Holmes novels I have ever read. The dynamic between Watson and Holmes is absolutely perfect and is incorporated into the events of a Hellraiser narrative without coming off as cheesy or forced. Having taken place after the fateful event at Reichenbach Falls, Kane uses this moment of mortality to uncover a darker side of Holmes and show us a man that seeks challenge when his biggest puzzle has been solved. The swing in personality for Holmes and the detachment of Watson are perfect within the realm of Hellraiser. There are far too many references to list in this review and keeping track becomes a challenge as even the slightest event or bit of dialogue carries a great amount of depth to those that are familiar with the various tales and films within the franchise. While the story is an absolute delight to the most hardcore of Hellraiser fans, passing readers will still find a tremendous story within the pages that will inspire them to dig deeper into the mythos and I cannot think of a higher utterance of praise for a novel such as this. Essential reading for Hellraiser diehards; a must-read for genre fans alike.’
‘This book has a stunning looking cover, featuring a great artistic design that really stands out…saying look at me! And so, you know, look at this book you most definitely should! It’s a quality read! On the back of the book above the actual synopsis there’s a sentence: “The World’s Greatest Detective Meets Horror’s Most Notorious Villains!” Now that should garner your attention and whet your interest, if only to question what’s going on and what sort of strange mash-up have I stumbled across???
Now, I’m a huge Holmes fan, I’ve devoured the entire Conan Doyle collection and loved it, also enjoying Anthony Horowitz’s two recent Holmes books and the very recent Warlock Holmes parody by G.S Denning – it had me smiling and smirking throughout at its irreverent comedic retelling. While technically I’d also say I’m a Hellraiser fan – I’ve seen the films and read a couple of the books, I’m not a die-hard fan who knows everything about the series, but even I was able to spot some of the Easter eggs left by Kane as an homage to the original Hellraiser mythology created by Clive Barker and I’m sure for experts in the series there’s plenty more for you to find. When combining two very different but much-loved works there’s a chance when you join them together that if not done correctly or with respect to the original works then you could alienate the fans of both. It was only after I finished the book, whilst reading the acknowledgements in the back by Paul Kane that I found out he is a Hellraiser expert with Clive Barker – the Hellraiser creator himself – describing Kane as “the resident Hellraiser expert”. Now, that gives Kane pedigree with the Hellraiser mythology and part of the book but how would he do with the Sherlock Holmes aspect of the book too? Well, suffice to say he nailed it!
As I mentioned previously, I’m a Holmes fan and two of the biggest things I look for with a new Sherlock book are, firstly, has the author managed to achieve a similar sort of tone and style to Conan Doyle’s classics? And secondly, the relationship between Holmes and Watson, I’m sure there’ll be people who disagree with me and that’s fine – we all have own views but for me, the friendship and deep bond between Holmes and Watson has always been the core of the Sherlock Holmes canon; no matter what the mystery attempting to be solved, it’s the duo of Holmes and Watson that the tale revolves around. Kane manages to perfectly convey the friendship between the two whilst paying respect to the original works and giving it his own unique version. Though, there’ll be some people out there who haven’t heard of Clive Barker, Hellraiser, the “Order of the Gash” and the Cenobites – due to them appearing in the more niche horror media market – I’d guess near enough everyone with even a passing interest in literature and due also to the countless films and TV shows throughout the years ranging from Basil Rathbone in the 1940s onwards and through to Benedict Cumberbatch in the present day, will have heard of Sherlock Holmes.
For fans of either Sherlock Holmes or Hellraiser there’s a great deal within this book for you all to enjoy. And for other would-be readers out there, you don’t need any previous knowledge of either original works to enjoy the book, IT’S THAT DAMN GOOD!... The Lament Configuration has always been a rather ingenious puzzle box since its creation. Add into the mix, strange and unconnected disappearances, people vanishing from locked rooms without a trace, a lingering smell of Vanilla, mysterious footsteps that abruptly halt and murmurings of a clandestine new power looking to take control and you have all the makings of a perfect Sherlock Holmes mystery. And, the Hellraiser mythology blends perfectly with late Victorian London making a perfect time and setting for the book.
Taking place in 1895 following Holmes’ return to Baker Street and London, and after the incident at the Reichenbach Falls, it’s the ideal time for the story to take place, giving Kane ample opportunity to delve into the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of Holmes during the years of “the great hiatus” as it’s commonly known by fans of the series. In the Conan Doyle stories when Holmes did return to Watson and sleuthing, he wasn’t the same man as he had been before, with slight changes to both his character and personality. Kane uses the Hellraiser mythos to great effect, explaining away these changes to Holmes as we learn that after the Reichenbach Falls, Holmes, during his missing years was preparing himself both mentally and physically for something sinister to come. The mix of Sherlock Holmes and Hellraiser feels completely organic with each aspect complimenting the other to perfection, whilst still feeling like a Holmes story at heart with Watson narrating from the future this darkest of chapters from their adventures together. Taking in the darkest recesses of Victorian London, a Mental Institute in France and Hell itself, this tale tests the boundaries of the friendship between the pair to the core, literally taking them to Hell and back. And, when we’re finally introduced to the Cenobites, taking the tale from the more normal to the surreal it really feels natural to the story’s progression; without going into detail, what a vividly described and visualised grotesque bunch they are.
The book itself is well written with a descriptive and fast-paced style by Kane that really pulls you in, packing a hell – see what I did there! – of a lot into its 300 page length, building from a mysterious, more sedate beginning up to the climactic conclusion. I have to admit that while the cover “sold” the book to me as something I wanted to read I was in fact slightly concerned when I started the actual book as I couldn’t help but think that on the surface what a strange amalgamation the two worlds would make; delving deeper however and as the story progressed they fitted together surprisingly well and what, in the hands of a lesser talented author could have been a disappointing mash-up ruining two beloved classic franchises, alienating the fans of both in the process, in the hands of Kane turns into a respectful tale embodying elements of the original works that deftly incorporates aspects from both into a delightfully glorious and stunning read making Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell one of the surprise books of the year! By Jove! It’s highly recommended.’
(Tattooed Book Geek 5/5 review)
‘Newsflash: I am a complete sucker for all things Sherlock Holmes. I love the original Sherlock Holmes stories by A.C. Doyle and I can’t get enough of the myriad of mysteries inspired by them such as Whitechapel: The Final Stand of Sherlock by Bernard Schaffer, Sherlock Holmes and the Mummy’s Curse by Stephanie Osborn, June Thomson’s Secret Sherlock Holmes series, The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by William Seil. Love them! Another thing I am a goner for? Horror. Horror in all its forms and variations. So, “set in Clive Barker’s Hellraising World” and the mention of a “sinister asylum in France” (American Horror Story: Asylum was my favourite one… minus the aliens) definitely struck a cord. I am starry-eyed, and so on board! Paul Kane manages to capture the voice of Arthur Conan Doyle, perfectly mimicking the language and mannerisms of Sherlock Holmes and the narrative style attributed to Watson, while keeping it original and innovative, merging the iconic detective with the Cenobites (references to the Hellraiser universe throughout), and giving it a supernatural twist that, to me, seems only appropriate since, more than a logic procedure of detection based on observation, the process of Sherlock Holmes mystery solvings has always had a feel of magic.’
(The Book Voucher)
‘There is so just much potential in the concept. Handle it right, and you’ve got yourself a horror/mystery that is destined to become a genre staple. Fumble it at any point, however, and you have two separate camps of fandom ready to critique, condemn, and drag you to…well, Hell. Fortunately, Paul Kane knows his stuff, and what we have here is no mere imaginative lark. Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell is a very carefully constructed story that considers the legacies of both Doyle and Barker, and which not only finds a point at which the two can meet, but one in which that intersection actually adds something to each respective story.
(Beauty in Ruins)
‘I have a confession. Before reading this book, I had no clue who Paul Kane was. Apparently, to the people in the know, he is the leading guru on Clive Barker’s Hellraiser films and mythos (outside of Barker, of course). So you’ll have to excuse me for being late to the party. What I do know is that I love Clive Barker’s Hellraiser films and I enjoy the Sherlock Holmes stories. So when I stumbled across the title of this book, I was instantly intrigued. What seems upon first glance as a farce, started sounding pretty damn full of possibilities the more I thought about it. After jumping headfirst into Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell, I am pleased to announce that the possibilities were right on the money and Kane delivered one hell of a fun read.
Sherlock Holmes is moping around since he defeated his archenemy, Moriarty. Cases don’t seem to be that intriguing or challenging and Holmes is apparently a ball of irritability if his mind isn’t challenged. Dr Watson is worried about his dear friend, especially since he’s had a tangle with opium demon from time to time. Then a missing person case comes in. Apparently, a Francis Cotton went inside his attic room, locked the door, and never came out. Disappeared. Holmes and Watson take the case and are stumped. Other missing person cases come trickling in with the same descriptions. Holmes is convinced that they are tied together. But how? When investigating one of the other disappearances, the duo discover a secret society that focuses on the forbidden pleasures of the flesh and a pillar that contained a small box. Sound familiar? Kane’s tale weaves in and out of tie-ins with previous Sherlock Holmes stories and the Hellraiser films. And it works. Very well, I might add. The story is told Arthur Conan Doyle-style through a re-telling by Dr Watson. We also get a nice perspective from it rotating back and forth from Watson to Holmes’ POV and back again. Who would’ve thought that the marriage of Sherlock Holmes and Clive Barker would work so well? You know what? Don’t question a good thing and Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell is a good thing.’
(Into the Macabre 5/5 review)
‘I consider myself a pretty big Hellraiser fan. I own all the movies and I own several books, comics, action figures and a few Lament Configuration replicas. I absolutely love Hellraiser, plain and simple. Hellraiser hasn’t been doing too bad lately. We have a comic series from BOOM! Studios, Gary J. Tunnicliffe is currently working on a new Hellraiser movie, Hellraiser: Judgment and Hellraiser creator Clive Barker finally finished his destruction of Pinhead in The Scarlet Gospels… On what would normally be a completely unrelated note, Sherlock Holmes has also never been more popular than it is today, with a couple TV shows and a movie series. It seems Holmes is a detective that won’t quit. You wouldn’t think to say it’s only inevitable that the two franchises would meet, but after reading Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell, I feel like it was always meant to be. Author Paul Kane has crafted a Hellraiser story that I’ve been longing for since I turned the last page on the short story collection Hellbound Hearts, which Paul Kane also happened to edit.
Paul Kane is the go-to guy for Hellraiser, after having released the aforementioned Hellbound Hearts and the fantastic The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy, which details all the movies, not just the popular ones. Who better to place the Hellraiser mythologies in Sherlock Holmes’ world. And not only does he masterfully mix the two, he also brings together the Hellraiser films, the comics, the Hellbound Hearts short stories and, in what can only be described as a miracle, he is able to connect The Scarlet Gospels world to the Hellraiser world we love.
Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell begins with Dr Watson writing in his secret journal about a case which defied logic. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson came upon a case of mysterious disappearances, starting with the disappearance of Francis Cotton (the first of many nods to characters and events throughout the entire catalogue of Hellraiser). Holmes and Watson slowly start unravelling the mystery behind everything, which always points to a mysterious puzzle box known as the Lament Configuration. The adventure has the duo investigating plenty of interesting places, such as a seedy S&M club, the Malahide Institute in France and a certain place that will seem very familiar to Hellbound: Hellraiser II fans. Everything that is happening is leading up to an epic showdown between Holmes and the Order of the Gash, also known as the Cenobites! There is way more to the story than that little summary, but there is no way in hell (sorry for the pun) that I will ruin this fantastic tale for anyone. As I’ve already mentioned, I know Hellraiser, so colour me surprised when Paul Kane managed to expand the universe even more than I thought was possible. While I was reading the book, I kept thinking about the old Epic Comics run of Hellraiser stories that showed us a Hell that was more than just a twisted path of hallways and pillars. I’m thinking Paul Kane was a big fan of that comic series, as he expands the home of the Cenobites in a similar way.
Okay, I’ve been gushing over the ties to Hellraiser, but what about Sherlock fans. Are they going to be able to jump into this story? The answer to that is a resounding yes! You don’t need to be a Hellraiser fanatic to enjoy a good adventure. Paul Kane throws in numerous nods and references to Holmes’ past cases, managing to tie in the infamous Reichenbach Falls and many of the other cases that came after Holmes’ apparent “death”. Did you ever feel like Holmes was a completely different man after he came back to life? Well, fret not, as that is all explained… Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell is going to please both Hellraiser and Sherlock fans alike. I’m sure there will be a few people out there that are not going to be impressed with the fantastical and horrific horror story that is told here. However, as long as you know what you are getting into, you’re going to love it. Paul Kane, please give us more Hellraiser. You’re really damn good at it!’
(Mind of Tatlock)
‘First of all, what a great bloody cover this is! I have been thinking about cobbling together a short list of my top 5 books so far in 2016. I’m glad now that I waited until I finished this superb read from Paul Kane. I have never read any of the Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle but now I really want to. A mash-up of Holmes and Clive Barker’s Hellraiser could’ve been a bit of a disaster but Kane does a fantastic job of blending the two worlds together in a book that is excellent from the very first page. As a big fan of the Hellraiser franchise, I was excited to take another trip back into Hell. The real treat with this book turned out to be the two lead characters in Holmes and Watson. Holmes is portrayed brilliantly as the thorough detective, proficient with his observations, sometimes abrupt but always engaging. His often stern tone with Watson and other characters took a bit of warming to but there is no denying that Holmes is a fascinating and deeply complex man. The book is written as a recollection of events by Holmes’ trusty sidekick Watson – a very different but equally engaging and likeable chap, handy with his fists and certainly not lacking in courage. The story follows our two protagonists as they investigate a series of disappearances that will eventually lead them into battle against a horde of Cenobites deep within the bowels of Hell itself. Whilst the first half of the book is very much a detective story, it is the second half where things really begin to ramp up. Kane puts his characters through a series of incredible scenes, bursting with graphic imagery, monsters and dripping with blood…
Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell is an absolute triumph…The characters were superb, lifelike and totally engaging. The chemistry between the two was fantastic and the descriptions of Hell were immense. The pacing is excellent with Kane building up the tension to an epic confrontation. I can only hope that this book might lead to others exploring the mashing up of two different worlds. It truly is wonderful to read. One of my favourite books of 2016, for sure. Epic storytelling from a great horror writer.’
(Beavis the Bookhead)
‘Was anyone really asking for a Sherlock Holmes/Hellraiser mashup...? Not that I’m aware of. I certainly wasn’t. So shame on all of us for not demanding this sooner, and hats off to author Paul Kane for delivering this delightfully grotesque meeting of genre heavyweights. Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell finds a weathered and world-weary Holmes taking on a routine missing persons case that turns out to be so much more: seemingly unconnected citizens are vanishing from inside locked rooms...the victims are usually heard screaming horribly, but there is never any sign of foul play, or trace of bloodshed on the scene. Witnesses report seeing strange lights emanating from the rooms, and a dishevelled vagrant has been seen nearby shortly after each event.
(The Crabby Reviewer)
‘When I first saw this book I was interested to see where it was going to go, and I thought it was going to be hard to place Sherlock in the Cenobite world, but I’m so glad I was wrong. Mr Kane was able to capture a wonderful blend of the two worlds. It was such a fun read I could really picture it as a movie. Holmes was on point and I enjoyed this version of the Cenobites and the battle…Overall I would recommend it to fans of Sherlock Holmes and horror fans.’
(KMcLeer Reviews 5/5)
‘An excellent read that combines the universes of Sherlock Holmes and Hellraiser. Paul Kane starts the book in a style that is a fine homage to the writing of Conan Doyle in Holmes’ short stories, before expanding out the universe. There’s something about Hellraiser and Victorian gothic that works well, and this works superbly. If you are like me, and are familiar with both Holmes and Hellraiser, you will become aware of many little Easter eggs Paul Kane leaves throughout the story, referring to incidents and characters from both arenas, but if you don’t know them too well, you’ll still get a ripping good yarn where Holmes goes on his most extreme adventure yet.’
(Mark Cain, United Nations of Horror/Goodreads)
‘The gore’s afoot! The bold title may misdirect you into thinking this is another cheap horror/lit mash-up like Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, but nothing could be further from this brilliant book. Indeed, there’s no need to eliminate the impossible because Paul Kane has achieved the improbable and crafted a tale that’ll satisfy Sherlock Holmes fans, Hellraiser addicts and casual readers alike. As ever with Holmes’ classic tales, the story is told from Watson’s perspective, which allows for some beautiful scene-setting, encompassing Holmes’ adventures past, present and – thanks to some neat nods to films and TV shows – future. In fact, Servants is packed with references, tributes and details from both universes, hidden within a plot that clicks together as perfectly as, well, a puzzle box. Reading Kane’s masterpiece is like discovering an alternate reality in which these worlds have always belonged to each other. Both explore addiction and repression and revolve around fairly intense problem-solving. Holmes is the master of mysteries, so it makes sense he’d be drawn to the ultimate puzzle box. Meanwhile, the Cenobites always had a sense of Victorian morality about them, symbols of sexual restraint unleashed by S&M vibes. This book is intricate, addictive and often feels like it’s twisting itself in your hands. It’s also, at times, bloody scary. Our advice, chuck on your deerstalker, pull out your pipe, and go straight to hell.’
(5 star review by Sam Ashurst for Horrorville, from the makers of SFX and Total Film)
‘Over the years, there have been many Holmesian crossovers but none as exciting as the latest offering from Paul Kane. So, is Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell an ingenious pairing or an alluring slogan for a literary catastrophe? A brave venture, no doubt, but also a potential wagon for disappointed fans, all vowing to tear the author’s soul apart for tainting these beloved and iconic figures. Astute judgement and unflinching imagination would be required to unify such complex characters. Kane is certainly a qualified candidate to attempt this ambitious endeavour, having previously penned the critically acclaimed The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy and Hellbound Hearts – even being proclaimed a “Hellraiser expert” by Clive Barker himself! Impressive credentials indeed. But was this leviathan destined to devour its creator? Granted, Kane gambled with an intricate recipe – but triumphed in blending unorthodox ingredients with finesse and expertise to produce one hellishly tasty cocktail! A single sip of his unique concoction will transform you into an addict. Such is the visionary power of Kane’s storytelling.
One of my personal highlights, and a vital segment of the story, is the brief journey into Holmes’s hedonistic side – a rare glimpse into what lies beneath the intellectual facade. The obsession with pushing his body to the limits and exploring the boundaries of existence after surviving the fall at Reichenbach (a logical and befitting direction, I thought). Holmes experiments with various opiates gradually progressing onto more extreme methods of thrill-seeking such as Okipa, allowing one’s body to be pierced and suspended by hooks and chains. Upon his travels, he hears rumours of a sect who would offer riches and delights beyond imagination – fanatics dedicated to the virtues of pain. Staying faithful to Arthur Conan Doyle’s tradition, the first half is narrated from Watson’s benevolent perspective – each chapter planting nebulous seeds, ready to be harvested later. A wonderful prelude to the much darker second half of the book that focuses on Holmes – paving a stygian road full of speculation and intrigue.
“I know what it is you really hunger for. It is not pleasures of the flesh, like so many, but…knowledge. Matters of life and death, and everything in between.” The final revelation carved a smile on my face as did the stunning climax. Whether you are schooled in the Hellraiser/Holmes lore matters not – this gripping novel can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story. A stimulant for the senses and just like the razor-sharp hooks of the Cenobites – Kane’s opus will make your nerve endings sing. One hell of an accomplishment!’
(Erik Hofstatter, British Fantasy Society)
‘Over the years there have been many short stories and novels that take on the subjects and themes of famous writers’ works. Lovecraft is one, for sure, as is Edgar Allen Poe to some degree. And certainly the most famous stories, characters, and places from the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Clive Barker have been revisited countless times. So it’s difficult to imagine that there’s anything really new or original that could be brought to the universes created by either author. But what happens if someone writes a book that pays tribute to both in the process of creating a mashup wherein Sherlock Holmes finds himself in Hellraiser territory? The answer is, well, elementary. Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell is what happens.
Paul Kane has shown himself to be an extremely knowledgeable scholar of the Hellraiser universe. Editor of the brilliant Hellbound Hearts anthology and author of The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy his expertise has received accolades from many, including Clive Barker himself and also the iconic Cenobite actress from Hellraiser II, Barbie Wilde, who has laid down some high praise of Kane’s handling of both the Cenobites and Sherlock Holmes in her introduction to Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell. The book pits Sherlock Holmes and his trusty companion Dr Watson against what starts out as their most formidable locked room mystery ever and ends up with them facing enemies that make Moriarty seem about as dangerous as a shoplifter in a candy store.
Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell finds Holmes and Dr Watson solving mysteries once again and, while their personalities are largely intact they are much darker, having been irrevocably changed by the incident at Reichenbach Falls in which Holmes had his final, brutal confrontation with the villainous Moriarty. You’ll be surprised and, if you’re a fan, delighted to discover that Paul Kane is just as comfortable in Conan Doyle’s fictional realm as he is in Barker’s, but it’s really his handling of the Hellraiser elements that make this story work. As the story commences Holmes and Watson investigate a series of missing persons cases with varying but similar circumstances that eventually lead them to rumours of a mysterious cult known as The Order of the Gash, a group that fans of The Hellbound Heart will be familiar with. This is one of the areas of the book that really shines… Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell is chock full of fresh imaginings of the Cenobites…there are enough hellish and terrifying creatures to satisfy even the most demanding fans. As mentioned before, Kane has a body of knowledge of all things Hellraiser that he puts to good use in building a universe that takes what seems like a preposterous concept and makes it a pretty convincing tale for the most part…
The last one-hundred or so pages are a mind-numbing blast of bloody action and spine-chilling terror… Packed with skinless people, creepy asylums, and plenty of brand new and terrifying Cenobites, Paul Kane’s vision of hell, and his brilliant depiction of the members of The Order of the Gash leaves nothing to be desired and Holmes and Hellraiser fans both will find something to love here as will horror audiences in general. Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell is a delightful foray into the dark fantastic and it’s hopeful that Kane will revisit this sort of theme again. If you haven’t read Paul Kane’s work in the past, you’ll find no better place to start than with this groundbreaking and unusual work of fiction.’
(This is Horror)
‘Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson take up an investigation of a missing person, who has apparently disappeared from a locked room. This seems to be another intriguing mystery for the pair, but the game is truly afoot because the gates of Hell seem to be opening up to land the two intrepid investigators, literally, in the most diabolical plot. Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell is what is known as a mashup, in other words it is a novel that combines two existing literary texts, that of the Sherlock Holmes canon and Clive Barker’s Hellraiser.
I am a great fan of Sherlock Holmes, which never seems to grow jaded no matter how many times I read the stories. However, I haven’t read any of Clive Barker’s work, so this review had to be done primarily from the perspective of knowing the Sherlock Holmes original stories and being prepared to find fault with this new version. But after reading this novel I really feel I must find Hellraiser and take a good look at it. This, in itself, probably says a great deal about how well Paul Kane has adapted the Holmes’ legend.
The concept of merging two literary works would appear to be the recipe for disaster, but it has been done very successfully by other authors and Kane has certainly reworked the concept of the Holmes and Watson partnership very well. In many ways keeping to a similar tone of the original Holmes stories related largely through the eyes of Watson makes it possible to go to town on the description of the grotesque creatures (necessary for the horror element to work), without making the process feel like exposition. When we do get to see the events through Holmes’ eyes the narrative rings true and provides an interesting perspective through which to see Holmes’ world. The constant shifts in perspective also make it possible to really develop more of the inner thoughts of both Holmes and Watson, as well as their characters in a way that remains respectful to the original.
‘Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell uses two very well established literary characters, and mixes their worlds together in an extremely fun and refreshing mashup, using both literary universes to the story’s great advantage. The references to each are plentiful, but they grow organically out of the story, in a well-paced, rewarding fashion. It’s a 289-page story that reads quickly, but at the same time challenges you to admire its style and form, written as it is by a certain Doctor Watson in the late 1890s.
In this story, Holmes has recently survived a terrible ordeal that has left him feeling aimless. After spending some time in mysterious seclusion he returns in spectacular fashion to his 221B Baker Street office, to the familiarity of Mrs Hudson and his colleague John Watson. This new Holmes seems haunted by some unknown malaise, that we will quickly understand is a training of sorts for his most fantastic case yet. This Holmes is the Holmes of “The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot”; he doesn’t shy away from death or danger. He’s almost superhuman in his wit, sharp intellect and focused awareness, that makes him the best detective around. However, Watson is back as well, and he’s our narrator, as would be expected. If you’re a reader of Conan Doyle’s Holmes novels, you will definitely feel at home with the way Paul Kane reproduces Watson’s voice; it’s damn near perfect in tone and form. Of course, it’s very convenient that Conan Doyle had Watson be the narrator as it allows Holmes to keep his internal voice a mystery and make his intellectual prowess even more impressive when he blurts out details that he later explains were hiding in plain sight.
Make no mistake though: Watson is second only to Holmes in his skills. In fact, in this story he often takes a front row seat to the action and keeps the story moving forward while Holmes is left to his own process. Watson is likable and warm, strong and resourceful. The dynamic between the two colleagues is very fraternal. Holmes’ personality would probably be considered nowadays to be stiff and high-functioning, but his respect and almost fraternal love for Watson (and vice-versa) does shine through in brief, personal remarks.
When a certain gentleman named Cotton appears, you can’t help but crack a giant smile and dig in, hoping for a trip that doesn’t disappoint. After an initial string of disappearances, seemingly unrelated, the story picks up speed very quickly. You will find plenty of characters that you’ve seen before in a different form, make their appearance here, weaved into the Victorian era, and made all the more interesting for it. The story will take us on a steam boat from London to Calais and Paris; the detective duo will come across strange disappearances from within locked rooms, with dried blood between the floorboards and the scent of vanilla, and a certain artefact will emerge with terrible consequences.
There’s a craft in melding two universes like this, and in my opinion, Paul Kane has achieved it almost flawlessly. Reading The Servants of Hell is like stepping through the looking-glass and coming out the other side in an alternate universe, where the Hellraiser characters all jumped back a century. Most had their names slightly changed to reflect that alternate nature, but for anyone with an average knowledge of the Hellraiser movies, they’ll quickly recognize them anyway. As this is a spoiler-free review, I’ll refrain from adding more details, but this adventure will leave you wanting more; more of these characters, more of this Holmes.
(9/10 review by José Armando Leitão for the Clive Barker Podcast site)
‘Sherlock Holmes and Cenobites sound like a combination that would be truly awful together, but I have to say Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell blew my assumptions out of the water. With an introduction by Barbie Wilde, I was put at ease… It’s 1895. Moriarty is declared dead, and Holmes miraculously survives the tumble off the cliff in his final adventure. Holmes and Watson are engaged by Laurence and Juliet Cotton, newlyweds with a strained relationship, to investigate the disappearance of Laurence’s brother, Francis. Their investigation leads them to look into a series of unusual missing persons’ cases, in which the missing parties vanish in impossible ways. One man disappears from a locked room, the only traces left behind being the faint scent of vanilla.
This is just the beginning of an investigation that will draw the pair into contact with an organisation whispered about and known only as “The Order of the Gash.” Clues lead the sleuth and the doctor to an underground club that services the most depraved of the upper crust of society, a sinister asylum in France, and the underworld of London. They encounter shady operators, meet old acquaintances in the strangest of circumstances, enter a world of depravity and pain, and make dangerous associates – the Cenobites, from hell. Kane, previously editor of the tribute anthology Hellbound Hearts, clearly has a familiarity with and love of the Hellraiser universe. In this book, in addition to new Cenobites, Kane includes storylines and characters from Barker’s novella The Hellbound Heart… I was pleasantly surprised to also find an authentic Holmes feel and pacing that shows a familiarity with the characters and style of Holmes’ stories. Kane was able to keep with the atmosphere and period sensibilities of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s style while still creating the feel of Clive Barker’s world of Cenobites – and he makes it work. Recommended.’
‘Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell has a concept so bizarre you wouldn’t think it could possibly work. What if Holmes, the world’s greatest detective, faced off against Clive Barker’s Cenobites. It’s an unlikely pairing and it probably shouldn’t even exist, but now that I’ve seen the results, I’m very grateful for it. Crossovers, in general, are incredibly tricky. They only work if someone is intimately aware of both worlds. Usually, they lean in one direction more heavily than the other. Paul Kane makes his knowledge of Holmes clear within the first few pages of Watson’s narration and his knowledge of the Hellraiseruniverse needs no introduction as he has previously written the fantastic Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy and edited the short story collection Hellbound Hearts.
Because of Kane’s expertise with both subjects, the two worlds are perfectly balanced. While Holmes and Watson are the major protagonists, the story is entrenched within the Hellraiser mythology… There are Cenobites that appear in this book that have only previously been depicted in the Hellbound Hearts anthology. Even a Cenobite that was created by Gary Tunnicliffe but cut out of Hellraiser: Deader makes an appearance, that’s how deep the references go. The novel feels somewhere between a prequel to the Hellraiser world as we know it and a Victorian reimagining of the entire mythology. We’re introduced to the Cotton family right off the bat, but the circumstances are very similar to what will happen to that family later on. It’s fun to go through the book and see characters who are clearly precursors to characters we’ll meet later on down the line, and then there are some with connections that turn out to be quite surprising. Of course, I don’t want to spoil exactly who you might see or in what capacity, you’ll have to read the book yourself for that. I can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed with the results.
My favourite thing about the book and the number one reason it works so well is that Kane made a genius move in picking the perfect time for the box to come into Sherlock’s life. This book picks up right after Holmes has returned from his supposed death in “The Final Solution.” He had closure, Moriarty is dead, and now he’s in a state of feeling like he has no more surprises left. He believes he’ll never be challenged again, at least not in the way he was when facing off against his great nemesis. But things are rarely what they seem and there are many surprises in store for both Holmes and the reader as well. If you’re a fan of Holmes and Hellraiser I definitely suggest checking this book out. Even if you’re just a fan of Barker’s mythology, I’d suggest picking this book up because there are a lot of neat moments and references for Hellraiser fans and who knows, it might make you a fan of Holmes at the same time.’
(Wicked Horror, 8/10 review)
‘This book is the dream mashup of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Author Paul Kane is an expert on both subjects, and it shows. He weaves a mesmerising narrative as Dr Watson joins Holmes on a seemingly impossible case. Men are disappearing in locked rooms – with no sign of a hidden exit to be found by the world’s greatest detective. Spotted at the crime scenes is a bum, carrying a curious puzzle box. Holmes races to uncover the truth about the box while Watson struggles to keep his dear friend alive, and in one piece. Watson served as the main narrator and is Holmes’ support throughout the case… I really enjoyed this one. The book was so good, I devoured it and read it in two days. It was that hard for me to put down. I highly recommend it!’
‘Sherlock versus Pinhead? That’s right – Sherlock Holmes is once again pitted against the supernatural in this unique match-up by Paul Kane, but this time he’s in Clive Barker’s Hellraiser universe, facing off against the Cenobites. Set in 1895, a year after his presumed death with Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, Holmes is a changed man, pushing the limits of his mortality by experimenting with opiates, poisons and enduring pain – tortures designed to prepare him for something foreboding.
It’s not long before he’s enlisted to investigate a series of missing persons’ cases, which all share a common element: each victim disappeared from a locked, windowless room. Holmes deduces that there is also another connection between the missing: each was ultimately murdered while in possession of a small, mysterious box. Tracking these puzzling homicides, Holmes and Watson investigate the mysterious Order of the Gash. Along the way, Holmes comes into possession of one of the Lament Configuration boxes and while Watson investigates a lead in Paris, he solves the puzzle box and comes face to face with the Cenobites. From there, reality takes a backseat as Holmes battles some of the most terrifying denizens of the Hellraiser universe.
The charm of this crossover is that Kane is adept in both genres. His characterisations of Holmes and Watson, along with the portrayal of their friendship, are solid. Additionally, his exploration of Holmes’ survivor’s remorse is unique and compelling. Placing these well-drawn heroes into the Hellraiser universe – and its inherent nastiness – becomes all the more terrifying when the duo is confronted by the Cenobites. Kane’s affection for the Hellraiser universe adds amazing flavour to the Holmes’ era. There are also many clever shout outs to the Barker property, among them a Victorian version of the Cotton family from the original film. Then, of course, there are the Cenobites, which Kane outfits Victorian-style with gears, spyglasses and steam-engines. Overall, it’s a terrific read, perfect for fans of mash-ups and those whose hearts beat equally strong for disturbing horror and classic detective fiction.’
(Rue Morgue magazine)
‘Imagine my delight and excitement over reading the novel Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell by Paul Kane. I am a fan of both Sherlock Holmes and the Hellraiser movies, and I do enjoy Clive Barker’s other works. I anticipated reading a story unlike any other known to either world…Strap yourselves in, Sherlockians, for our dear Holmes crosses paths with one of horror’s most infernal creatures: The Cenobites from Hellraiser fame. If you have ever wished for a book to bring together two famous characters – such as, say, a crossover of the Sherlock and Hellraiser fandoms – then this is definitely a book worth reading. It brings to life both worlds so skilfully and the two of them seem to mesh together so well. Sherlock and John are hired for a case of people mysteriously disappearing, and while Sherlock knows intuitively that the missing people will not be found alive, he doesn’t know exactly what happened to them.
So begins our favourite detective wearing disguises as he goes undercover, and underground, to find the missing people and/or discover what happened to them. It certainly has the makings of a good case for Holmes and Watson, and I found this book hard to put down as I kept reading and wanting to know what happened next. The characters are so interesting and I loved the way Mycroft and Mrs. Hudson added to the story so well. And I saw what the author did there when Watson observed that a scarred character (Lemarchand – and yes, that name!) who looked like a human “book of blood.” Ditto with “tortured souls.” …I was anguishing over what happened to Holmes and Watson – and then I was cheering on the both of them, as well as Mary (yes! Mary is in it!). So it was the focus being on my beloved characters that made me love this story all over again. This is most certainly a Sherlock book – despite the Prologue and the Epilogue…And it is most certainly a story that I enjoyed reading.’
(Night Owl Reviews, 5/5 Top Pick)
‘Describing it as his answer to Cloud Atlas, American Gods and The Great and Secret Show, Before shows that Paul Kane most definitely doesn’t lack ambition as a writer… There’s plenty here to intrigue fans of Neil Gaiman’s literary road trip…but it’s Clive Barker to whom Kane owes the largest debt. Spanning several centuries and time periods, the far-reaching plot encompasses the Cambodian War and 1970s Germany. The plot mostly centres around Alex Webber, though, a university lecturer who not only has to deal with growing further and further apart from his wife Beverly, but also with the unwelcome return of errant brother Steve. After suffering from a series of increasingly intense hallucinations, where he is transported to all sorts of strange settings, Alex is hospitalised and comes under the care of psychiatrist Ellen Hayward. Somehow tied up in all this is malevolent supernatural being The Infinity and his sadistic sidekick Lucas Peck, not to mention organised crime lord Nick Metcalf and his hulk-like henchmen Terry and Frank. At first underplaying any fantastical elements, Kane gradually builds up the tension, taking his time before revealing the truth behind the novel’s central mystery… A slow burn that’s ultimately rewarding, it’ll be interesting to see where Kane ends up after Before.’
(4 stars, HorrorVille)
‘I’m not sure where to begin with my review of this latest novel from Paul Kane as it twists between timelines, locations, characters, plot, and even sub-genres. So, I feel I ought to begin by stating that Before has all the hallmarks of Kane, complete with a ton of what to me seem like Clive Barker influences without becoming imitative or derivative. The opening hooks you into a commonplace horror movie scene, minus the lightning. A young psychiatrist is offered the chance to work with his idol in 1970s Germany, who hears first-hand the deranged utterings of a man whose mind has been lost to some cosmic horror or other, we know not what that may be, or whether it is real. In Chapter Two we’re transported to jungle warfare in South-East Asia and you now believe you’re into an archetypal military horror genre book, or movie – it’s all very cinematic to read. Then the twists come and you realise it might just be real after all.
So, that’s the first two chapters, and we’re still in Part One of the book! Part Two begins in Kirkwell and introduces us to Alex, a teacher of Media and Film and his wife Beverly, as we’re immersed in their life of domestic un-bliss, a relationship clearly gone sour, but there is hope for the couple who still live together and keep up the pretence of a marriage to outsiders. We also get to meet the rogue brother-in-law (and thrice-divorced) Steve as well as Alex’s friend James, and there is additional tension here… Chapter Five takes us from Kirkwell to Amsterdam and we’re clearly now in serial killer country in a big way, but again the supernatural elements introduced in an earlier chapter come flooding back. Here it gets quite bloody and full of tension, with a very cinematic sequence of events and introduction to more characters you think you may never get to meet again. Or will you? That’s part of Kane’s method, I now realise: to make you to believe in a character who may or may not be disposed of several pages later. And so it continues, more characters, more killings, more supernatural elements and surprises until eventually they all come together, and in a way that makes you think, “of course” and “I never saw that coming” all at once.
I won’t continue with a chapter by chapter summary, but let’s say that if you enjoy Barker, you will love Kane. I feel he has matured a lot and is now conjuring these fantastical workings as memorably as the master imagineer Barker, whom Kane has spent so long studying. Not to diminish Kane’s work in any way, as this is truly compelling reading and I am going to have to buy the book and read it again in its printed form. And most likely again after that, before… ah, but that’s the surprise at the bottom of the Christmas stocking and I refuse to spoil that moment for you.’
(4 stars, Dread Central)
‘One of the first things I read about Before was Paul Kane himself calling his latest novel his The Great And Secret Show. Now that’s some claim! Clive Barker is one of my favourite authors, with The Great and Secret Show being a true epic within his bibliography. This not only shows Kane’s confidence in his new 491 page tome but it also sets a level of expectation for any prospective reader. Before is a thoroughly enjoyable adventure story with horror/supernatural elements. Although not as eloquent as Barker, Kane’s prose is incredibly effective. I particularly enjoyed the Cambodian Village chapters, full of believable characters and well written action set pieces. It was also here that I noticed my first real nod to Barker, a sequence of events made me think of the attic at 55 Ludovico Street. (I won’t be more specific as I hate to post spoilers, but once you read it I’m sure you’ll agree.)
Alex Webber is a believable lead and plays off well against Ellen, his psychiatrist. I did find the love triangle a tad melodramatic with too much attention paid to Beverly, Alex’s ex-wife. My main issue with Before is the criminal underuse of The Infinity, a fantastic creation. I loved it anytime he was on the page, which wasn’t anywhere near enough sadly. I thoroughly enjoyed his dialogue and the way he interacted with his minions. To counter that though, Kane really shone with Lucas Peck, a nasty piece of work who has a unique talent. Peck is The Infinity’s sadistic sidekick, and with his skills, I’m not sure if there isn’t a touch of the Cenobite about him. And don’t get me started on what he does with some flowers! Paul Kane can certainly tell a story! To be able to keep the reader engaged across multiple settings, eras and genre can only be classed as a triumph. Before mixes action adventure, horror and the supernatural skilfully. I burned through nigh on 500 pages in only a few days. Before may not have been as epic a story as I was expecting, but it was a fast-paced enjoyable read that kept me hooked till its thrilling conclusion.’
(4 stars, Kendall Reviews/Ginger Nuts of Horror)
‘I am a big fan of Paul Kane’s work. I absolutely loved his Sherlock Holmes/Cenobite mash-up novel, Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell. So much so it featured in my top 10 reads for 2016. Going into Before, my expectations were pretty big and when I heard Kane had teamed up with Grey Matter Press for this epic dark fantasy/horror novel my interest was immediately piqued. I knew prior to starting this that it is a big book and there is always a niggling doubt that a novel so long might be a little bit of a slog to get through. To be honest, it’s one of the reasons I don’t read as much fantasy fiction anymore. I still enjoy the genre a great deal, but the length of these novels is often an issue for this reader. Does it really need to be 500+ pages long AND part of a trilogy?
Anyway, I digress. I’m here to tell you, dear reader, of my thoughts about Paul Kane’s new novel, Before. For starters, the cover art by Dean Samed is wonderful. Looking at it makes me think this will be a story taking place over a substantial amount of time, with two sides locked in a battle of good vs evil, perhaps a hero will arise and face-off against a dark enemy? Before gets off to a great start and I was pulled into the story immediately as we delve into the past, 1970s Germany to be exact. It gives us a glimpse into how long the cycle of events forthcoming has been going on and it sets the foundations for a novel of epic proportions! The book’s antagonist is called The Infinity. Very early on I’m thinking back to King’s The Stand and one man in particular: Randall Flagg! The Infinity has been around for years, pulling the strings of his puppets to assist him in reaching his end goal. In the earlier parts of the book, The Infinity exists on the periphery, an ominous presence lurking in the background, though one capable of unspeakable acts of evil. He is a really, really great character though one I felt was a little underused, especially early in the book. The Infinity doesn’t work alone. He has an ally, someone he controls called Lucas Peck. Peck is a violent murderer. A murderer that likes to create his “art” by torturing and pulling apart his victims, decorating the walls with their insides! I know Kane is a massive fan of Clive Barker and I definitely got a Cenobite vibe from this character and I loved it!
On the other side, we have the protagonist, Alex Webber, a lecturer and a bit of a sad sack if I’m being honest. The flame of love between himself and wife Beverly has long since extinguished and she now only seems to exist as a bit of an annoyance. Add to this the fact that Webber is plagued by visions of the past: visions of death and destruction that are horrific and realistic, resulting in further stress on his already taut relationships. It’s safe to say that things aren’t going too well for Alex Webber. But what do these visions of the past mean to Webber? And who is the mysterious man with the bright blue eyes? All these questions are answered as the pieces of Kane’s puzzle slowly fall into place. There are other characters too like psychiatrist Ellen Hayward, another key figure in the story. All are pretty well-drawn by Kane, though it’s The Infinity that shines brightest.
Kane’s Before could make a great movie, or an even better Netflix series! It’s an absorbing and engaging read, ambitious in both lengths and in its ideas… The book’s end of days style concept means I am always going to compare it to The Stand and Swan Song, perhaps unfairly, as these are two of my favourite stories. Both are similarly long, complex, and feature a scenario where the world’s future hangs in the balance. Kane’s tale is similar and very well executed though Webber didn’t quite resonate as strongly as certain characters from those books. However, Before does feature a cast of solid characters and a fascinating plot that spans decades, The Infinity is a great villain and I’d be very happy to read about him again. The action scenes are exciting, the dialogue is smooth and the ending to Before is worth the wait. Kane’s latest novel is epic and King/McCammon fans will find a lot to like here. I can highly recommended this book and it is yet another tick in the box for Paul Kane and for Grey Matter Press.’
(4 stars, The Grim Reader)
Lunar – The Movie Reissue
(Famous Monsters of Filmland)
(Andy Angel, Goodreads)
Signs of Life
First published in pocket book size, limited edition print run, by Crystal Serenades September 2005. Second edition published with internal illustrations from Ian Simmons by Rainfall Books, April 2006. Trade paperback, £6.99. Novella Nominated (shortlist) for the British Fantasy Award, 2006.
Featuring: ‘Well Told Tales’ An Introduction by Stephen Gallagher; ‘Signs of Life’; ‘The Bite’; and ‘Who’s Been…?’
‘This is one area where Kane shines, his sense of character: each and every one is real, and as such the reader immediately latches onto them, realising there’s no good or bad person, just shades of grey in between, with the occasional point of redemption… Signs of Life has a tremendous build-up, that is paced just right.’
‘The Bite is pure Books of Blood horror; a grand guignol tale…This is a superbly paced story, where Kane racks up the tension.’
‘ Who’s Been… starts off as a Ken Loach-updated version of Goldilocks, all kitchen sink and unemployed alcoholics. But as the story closes in, the horror aspect kicks into gear, where Kane walks that fine line between real and supernatural horror.’
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Dalton Quayle and the Curse of King Tuti Fruiti
In Amityville House of Pancakes Vol. 3
Published by Creative Guy Publishing. Trade Paperback, December 2006. £9.95
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The Lazarus Condition
Published by Tasmaniac Publications, July 2007. Hardback Edition (Signed by Paul Kane, Mick Garris and Dion Hamill) ISBN: 978-0-9803868-1-3. $150.00 AUD. Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9803868-0-6. $22.95 AUD.
Featuring: ‘Believe It Or Not’ Introduction by Mick Garris; ‘The Lazarus Condition’; and ‘Dead Time’.
‘Few of us fear werewolves, vampires, or even Norman Bates. But that end of the road we all travel and its mystery and inevitability give each of us pause. The health and well-being of my family and friends play a much bigger part in my own nightmares than Freddy Krueger ever did. Paul Kane understands that… There are moments of violence that jump out at you here, but it is the quiet interaction between Life and Death that concerns Kane in his novella: its raison d’etre… An absorbing tale of terror that takes you in a direction that I didn’t expect… Paul Kane has crafted a nifty little story with that greatest of gifts: the element of surprise.’
( Mick Garris, Creator of Masters of Horror)
‘Paul Kane’s The Lazarus Condition is a wonderfully unsettling tale of resurrection, self-recrimination, and our reluctance to confront issues of both mortality and immortality. Humanity leaves behind the remains of our loved ones and walls of our hearts as best we can from feeling their absence, sometimes as easily but always with as much necessity as a snake shedding its skin. Paul Kane holds up a mirror to show us just how frightened of the end we really are and how much of human nature is involved in moving on after loss. He’s here to remind us that none of us is ever really ready to leave this life...and certainly not ready to come back and answer for what we might have done while living it. An excellent novella, backed up with a quick jolt short story called Dead Time, which is, in some ways, the other side of the coin. Paul Kane has offered you a dark and contemplative gift. I recommend you take it.’
( Christopher Golden – Bestselling author of Buffy: The Lost Slayer , Hellboy: The Dragon Pool , The Myth Hunters , Prowlers and The Boys are Back in Town)
‘The American title for the early British horror film The Quatermass Experiment was The Creeping Unknown, and that would be a very apt alternative title for Paul Kane’s excellent novella. But the Quatermass analogy is more appropriate than simply that: like Nigel Kneale, Kane describes an extraordinary event in the lives of every day people, the sort you meet in the pub or the supermarket….By maintaining an almost prosaic style, Kane ratchets up the tension throughout the novella, deliberately leading the reader in false directions… The Lazarus Condition is a gem, and well worth seeking out.’
(Dreamwatch Presents Total Sci-Fi 8/10 review)
‘The Lazarus Condition is an excellent read. Unsettling, and at times moving, littered with religious undertones, the story focuses on themes of loss, grief, and the impact it would have on someone if the long dead arrived on their doorstep. It also avoids the clichés of many zombie stories. Kane draws you in with sharp, active prose. Sit, read and enjoy!’
‘Tasmaniac have really outdone themselves with The Lazarus Condition, and have pretty much jumped out of the trenches and gone over the top in a clear demonstration of going beyond the call of duty... Kane has taken the zombie sub genre, put it through a spin rinse with various dyes, and given us a completely new design on what can be done with the walking dead. I’m always up for a story centring around the big Z concept and Kane doesn’t disappoint. There’s some twist and turns coming at you during the course of the novella with the final revelation being completely different to expectations...The reader is thrust into a world where the dead are coming back to life, and Kane remains unapologetic about doing that. Initially I was wondering if zombie Matthew Daley was heading home for dinner, in a sort of Romero fashion, but Kane isn’t going to make it that easy on the reader...Without giving too much away there’s one hell of a shock ending coming that I didn’t pick up on. .. It’s a pretty decent strategy and Kane freaking nails it like a wild Friday night up the Cross. The Lazarus Condition is more than another pulp zombie book put out by a Yank publication in order to ride on the shirt tails of the current upsurge in support of all things zombie, Paul Kane’s novella is going after something far more grandiose in design.
‘If The Lazarus Condition is the main course in a five star restaurant then the short story Dead Time is the intoxicating dessert...We’re talking a yarn from the post-apocalyptic ashes that once again gives a different spin to the zombie genre. Paul Kane is certainly keeping the reader on his or her toes. Expect the unexpected would be my advice.’
9/10 Star Review.
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Or from the Publishers here
Dalton Quayle Rides Out
Published by Pendragon Press, August 2007. Trade Paperback, £5.99
Features: ‘Introduction by Tom Holt’; ‘ Dalton Quayle’s Wet One’; ‘ Dalton Quayle Rides Out’.
‘A tenth level master in the way of the joke.’
(Tom Holt - Bestselling author of Snow White and the Seven Samurai.)
‘The result is like being machine-gunned with silliness…Ultimately we reckon Quayle deserves to ride again!’
‘If you miss the turn into Baker Street you just might find yourself here. Ripping yarns with a spiffing sense of fun!’
(Double British Fantasy Award winning author of Night of the Triffids and The Dalek Factor, Simon Clark
‘Dalton Quayle is a particular treat, just one of which can somehow spoof Sherlock Holmes, the Cthulhu Mythos, the films Lair of the White Worm, Aliens and even Monica Lewinsky all in one go. Tremendous fun!’
(Jeffrey Thomas, author of the Punktown novels including Deadstock )
Buy this from the publisher here
Published by Skullvines Press, December 2008. Trade Paperback, ISBN: 978-0-9799673-5-1. Introduction by Tim Lebbon, cover artwork by Dave McKean.
‘In RED Kane reveals himself to be a sensitive writer, someone who has a solid grasp of relationships and who isn’t afraid to use that knowledge. His characters feel like real people, and that’s essential if you’re going to pit them against such a foe. He makes you care about them. Then he sends them out into the darkest parts of this urban jungle… So get ready to take this journey through a very modern fairytale. It has teeth, but not just at the end. These days, the path itself is full of dangers.’
(From the Introduction by Tim Lebbon - New York Times bestselling author of The Everlasting and Fallen)
‘Kane is well respected in the United Kingdom with his short story collections such as Alone (In the Dark), FunnyBones (one of my personal favourites) or his novellas Signs of Life, The Lazarus Condition and his novel The Afterblight Chronicles: Arrowhead – getting praise from such giants of the genre as Clive Barker, Simon Clark, Jeff Mariotte and Graham Masterton... RED is a tale about Rachael Daniels, a caseworker travelling through the modern jungle – a crime-ridden, gang-banging city – to help an elderly lady. RED not only tips its hat to “Little Red Riding Hood,” but “Peter And The Wolf,” and “Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?” and every werewolf type motif in between... This time around Kane puts a twisted horror spin to it, with even a fair amount of social criticism thrown in for good measure; due to mature themes, you’ll want to keep the kids away from this one... Kane does an incredible job of combing horror and humour into one tasty morsel.’
(Cemetery Dance Magazine)
‘Kane expands on the “Little Red Riding Hood” mythos with a sharply-written novella that pits a descendent of the classic fairy tale character against the “real” creature of the same story. But make NO mistake: this isn’t for kids! You can tell Kane had a real ball twisting time updating “Riding Hood”, especially in how he has crafted this new, psycho-sexual “wolf.” For the sake of not ruining anything else, let’s just say RED is a real BLOODY good time.’
(Horror Fiction Review)
‘RED is a gleefully gruesome tale that moves at an excellent pace. Its length is a joy, reminiscent of a line from another fairy tale: “Not too big, not too small, just right.” Paul Kane does a rip roaring rendition of the Red Riding Hood story… He has the gift of summing up a situation in a sentence. RED is wonderfully written; it is easy to sink one’s teeth into it and devour it with relish.’
‘Paul Kane offers up a fantastic adult re-working of the classic children’s tale. A blood thirsty novella that you will devour in a single sitting and be left hungry for more. Beware though, this is not the Little Red Riding Hood you remember as kid, RED is something much...darker’
(Kevin King – ‘Dave McKean: Collector’ Site)
‘RED by Paul Kane is a modern-day retelling of a classic fairy tale. The character of Rachael Daniels is one that many can identify with. The monster is a terrifying hunter who has the ability to shape-shift. He is intelligent, patient, and always hungry. He is the sort of monster that does not need any supernatural powers to make him terrifying, however the added abilities make him even more dangerous. It is entirely believable that he has been doing this for centuries in cities all over Europe because he is so smart and clever, and one is reminded of tales of a dark Trickster character from legends around the world when reading this story. The suspense builds from the very fact that the reader has some idea of what is going to happen. When the woman is murdered in the restaurant bathroom, the reader knows that is not the end and is left to wonder what horrors are still to come. The whole story builds up to a rather fascinating climax…This is a good scary story for those stormy nights or bright days. It is strong enough to terrify either way and will stay in your mind for days afterwards. Stories like this don’t come along very often, as all readers know.’
(Kerri Silva, Horror Bound Magazine)
‘Paul Kane likes to skew known fairy tales and classic horror legends and give them an abrupt overhaul. Sometimes taking an old familiar character and planting them into our modern times or perhaps the future. Such is the intent with RED. It is a novella of a more modern Little Red Riding Hood and an intimate portrayal of the Big Bad Wolf. This time, Little Red also has gangs and dangerous urban environments to battle on her way to Grandma’s.
Unlike a werewolf, this wolf-being is a menace no matter what phase of the moon. He runs rampant from town to town, city to city, quietly stalking victims undetected. He’s a master of camouflage, perfectly mimicking his victims loved ones, to strike when they’d never expect. When their defences are a million miles away. The wolf normally chooses his next meal based on convenience and availability. That is until he catches a glimpse of her. The one. The first and last meal to ever get away from him. Will the twenty-four year old heroine of RED, Rachael Daniels, get away from him in this lifetime, too? We hope so. Or does evil win at the end of this fairy tale?
I enjoyed having both characters’ perspective in RED. Though I wouldn’t have minded a longer novel, I do admire Kane’s style of bare-bones storytelling. He strips out a lot of the extra things that can sometimes weigh down a good book without sacrificing the important points.’
(Alesha Brunell, G.A.S.P. etc.com)
‘Once upon a time, there was a British speculative writer named Paul Kane, who was well respected in the United Kingdom… Then one day, Kane wrote a devilish little novella named Red and decided to get it published across the pond, in a faraway land called America... He even dared to do a retelling of the popular Grimm Brothers fairytale “Little Red Riding Hood” but this time around puts a twisted horror spin to it… The novella is bloody brilliant -- clever, classy and bound to chill you to the bone.’
(Michael McCarty, Horror World)
‘Paul Kane’s an author I’ve kept my eye on ever since his short fiction began appearing regularly in the genre small press in the late 1990s. Over the last few years his output has been unnaturally prolific and of a very high standard… RED is a contemporary take on the classic fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood…Kane cleverly uses the various characters and victims as visceral pathways and bridges for the beast. He plays with both the reader and Rachael, lulling us as it engineers its course towards her, circling her literally through the flesh and blood of those she encounters in her daily life. As it shapeshifts it takes on their personas as best it can, convincingly over short time spans (which is normally all the time it needs) it charms and confuses, until ultimately it is unable to hide its true nature as its century-spanning hunger and lust for revenge explodes from behind the thin facades it creates in scenes of bone-crunching ferocity. As with the beast, so with the book: over 70 impactful pages, and without wasting a word, Paul Kane has enriched the werewolf mythos with a seamless re-imagining of a hypnotically suggestive fairy tale, embellishing it with the harsh, alluring scent of an ages-old psychosexual predator who easily rivals that other undead villain from Eastern European folklore, the vampire. A relentless and grisly fairy tale for dark times, Red is filled with the blackest blood from the deepest parts of our bodies, and is thoroughly recommended.
(Mathew Riley, BookGeeks)
‘In RED, Paul Kane’s very modern take on a centuries’ old tale, Red Riding Hood is Rachel Daniels, a pretty young woman with a big heart and a terrible taste in men, who undertakes a mission of mercy to take some medicine to an old lady who lives on a council estate in a bad part of town. She meets a few disaffected youths on the way, which is threatening enough, but something else is stalking her – a creature that is snuffling out the familiar scent of an adversary from the distant past and who is eager to taste the blood that was denied to it all those years ago.
From RED’s shocking first chapter through wicked twists and turns to the end, the story surprises, intrigues and beguiles you. Paul Kane’s taut, muscular, yet descriptive prose conjures up disturbing images in your mind that you won’t be able to dislodge for months. Kane’s writing is frighteningly realistic. Not only are you are there with Rachel for every moment of her ordeal, but you also inhabit the shape-shifting monster’s mind – privy to his motivations and his side of the story. RED is a beautifully visceral, dark tale and if any novella was ripe for a film adaptation, it’s this one.’
(Barbie Wilde, Female Cenobite in Hellbound: Hellraiser II and author of The Venus Complex)
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To buy RED as an Amazon Kindle version, click here.
Or from Horror Mall here
‘Like some other authors I’ve reviewed recently, Paul Kane has proven impressively prolific during his career, with 16 titles produced in the last 10 years, to say nothing of a couple non-fiction titles and several anthologies he’s edited... Pain Cages focuses on longer works, gathering four novellas, two of which are original to this collection. In his Introduction, Stephen Volk says that after reading this book “…you’ll realise ultimately that though the rough path through Paul Kane’s world involves a lot of pain and anguish, the pain isn’t what the journeys are about. Not really.”
‘A collection of four excellent horror novellas and not a weak story among them! “Pain Cages” – This is the story that really marks Paul Kane out as the natural successor to Clive Barker. A cleverly written tale with a kicker at the end that I never guessed. Would not have looked out of place in the aforementioned Mr. Barker’s Books of Blood. “Halflife” – a tale of the hunter and the hunted; gripping! “Signs of Life” – strangers and star signs on a train. “The Lazarus Condition” – Matthew comes home to visit his Mum...seven years after he’s died. For me this was the strongest story in the collection, interesting characters and ideas, and a narrative that leads you along but keeps you guessing. Very moving at times.’
(Andy Angel, Good Reads)
Published by Spectral Press, March 2013. Chapbook. Introduction by Sarah Pinborough, Cover by Neil Williams.
‘Creakers is a story that does what a great spooky story should. It makes you shiver and then makes you think. It aches with all that comes from growing up and facing the things that haunt us, and yet also, there is a kernel of hope at its core. It blends the fears of adulthood with the terrors of childhood and takes you on the journey of growing up all over again.’
‘Kane’s story is tautly written, with an introduction by Sarah Pinborough. But I would not advise reading it alone, at night, in a creaking house…’
‘I might have thought a story with as many uses of the word “creak” would have irritated me, but it didn’t. I was too wrapped up in the horror of it all, especially one scene involving a sleeping bag that made my skin crawl off my bones as I read it…Ghost story fans are in for a treat.’
‘From its spine-chilling opening in the house, this muscular tale holds the interest throughout with crisp prose and chills, and I enjoyed Ray’s developing friendship with an attractive, lonely neighbour. As well as character development, this element also served to balance the haunting moments with some cold light of day. I found the overall concept familiar, but the piece still builds to an assured – if not breathtaking – finale…the author keeps us guessing as to whether events are concrete, psychological or supernatural, or even a combination of them all. And tip-toeing around a scary house at midnight by torchlight is always a blast in safe hands like Paul Kane’s.’
‘As an experienced house re-builder, Ray knows that those old places that make noises in the night are called Creakers, so he expects some noise during the night, but not this much. The noises and the things crawling over him at night are not normal. The reader can feel his growing tension and fear as the noises and creaks in the house grow and grow. The story falls into that nice tradition of anthropomorphic horror, in which objects take on human personification and become the objects of horror, bringing back painful memories of his home, his childhood and his Mom. Filled with squirmy uncomfortable imagery, this is cheap as chips chills! Give it a go.’
‘Paul Kane is quite a diverse and highly regarded writer, perhaps known primarily as an author of dark fantasy and science fiction and for his editorial work (The Mammoth Book of Body Horror). Here, Kane uses the old fashioned quiet horror/ghost story as his foundation, slowly crafting a totally modern, yet Victorian mansion of a tale. The character of Ray is well fleshed out, revealed in a calculated fashion, his blue collar voice nicely realised and actually key to the underpinnings of the story. Kane’s prose here is tight and non-fussy; again, this augments the believability of the narrative.’
‘This is well done, with some nice spectral effects to disturb the reader, such as the invasion of insects and the phantom lovemaking in Ray’s mother’s bedroom. The characters are competently drawn, with Ray’s troubled past put over effectively by suggestion, and his burgeoning romance with amiable neighbour Pam convincingly rendered.’
The story itself isn’t anything ground breaking or earth shattering in anyway; it’s a simple tale of one man who’s troubled childhood comes back to him. But it doesn’t have to be more than that. We learn enough about Ray to want him to beat his adversary. We know enough about the house that we want to know how the next chapter in its life will begin. There’s a lot going on in this finely crafted short story, and I would be hard pressed to find something this enjoyable in such a small package any time soon. Using great language and description to create a spooky atmosphere, Paul Kane’s Creakers is a must read for anybody, not just fans of horror. VERDICT: 92%’
Visit the Creakers page at Spectral Press here.
‘The Curse of the Wolf’
Buy The Curse of the Wolf here
Visit the publisher page for the book here
‘The Case of the Lost Soul’
Published in The Mammoth Book of Sherlock Holmes Abroad, edited by Simon Clark. Constable & Robinson/Running Press, April 2015. Trade Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-4721188-2-0.
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First published by Abaddon in the UK, May 2015. Original E-Book Novella, with artwork by Sam Gretton, £2.99.
‘The story is set some years after the events in the original trilogy, which was itself set in the near future after The Cull had decimated the population and the world was turning to a second Dark Age. Robert Stokes (The Hooded Man) and his family and friends are firmly ensconced in Nottingham Castle, while his peace-keeping force is doing just that both at home in Europe but as you would expect, there are forces at play trying to take control and take any power back from Robert and the new King.
There is a lot going on here…and I am limited to what I can tell you because…well, y’know…spoilers! Sufficient to say though Paul Kane makes a great job of carrying on the story and setting up quite a few possibilities for future stories. The tale is very Robin Hood based but is not a direct futuristic retelling, more a reimagining of the legend…
The Robin Hood story has been a big thing for me for as long as I can remember so I am always wary when people start meddling with it but with Paul Kane’s Hooded Man series he has done a great job…and Flaming Arrow is an excellent addition to the series. Highly recommended. 9/10.’
(Andy Angel, Sci-Fi Bulletin)
‘I was very happily surprised when I first got hold of a copy of Paul Kane’s first novel for Abaddon Books, Arrowhead. I’ve been a follower of the tales of Robin Hood since I was a very young man, being captivated by the Robin of Sherwoodtelevision series primarily. It was clear from Kane’s novel (and its equally enjoyable sequels) that he also felt a kinship to that series and there are strong links between it and these entries in the Afterblight Chronicles. Paul Kane’s latest entry in the post-apocalyptic series is an ebook novella titled Flaming Arrow…
Straight away, the reader is drawn back into the post-apocalyptic shared world that Abaddon have created with their Afterblight Chronicles series. The tale is bookended by a glimpse into the future, with a small child (who has grown up for the most part without parents and has little working knowledge of the world) meeting an old man who determines to tell the boy a story… Kane’s writing style is fluid and detailed. While not quite on the level of Ian Fleming, there is enough “real world” detail here for the reader to pick up on and recognise (or be able to check up on) without ever stopping the flow of the story being told. Action scenes are well presented, being both detailed and visceral where necessary. Kane is not afraid to back away from the realities of combat or brush over the results of violence.
Flaming Arrow follows two strands as the Hooded Man himself has responsibilities beyond his own band of followers by this time. One strand follows Robert as he takes part in an inspection tour of European facilities, the other follows his adopted son, Mark, who has been left in charge of the Rangers. Both strands are interlaced and include Kane’s use of the mystical elements as inspired by the Robin of Sherwood series. These somehow don’t seem out of place in this post-apocalyptic world, which always surprises me when reading Kane’s books. While this is a great novella to read, I would definitely say that any potential readers need to pick up the previous trilogy by Paul Kane. While standalone from the wider series, as a continuation of Robert Stokes and his allies, these three books are essential reading… I was left with a feeling of wanting to know more, which I guess was the point. This is an excellent way to pass the time on your commute or while enjoying the summer sunshine.’
(Geek Syndicate, 4/5 review)
To buy the novella click here
First published in the UK, January 2016, part of ‘The Refuge Collection’. Original E-Book Novelette, with cover artwork by Edward Miller, $0.99.
‘The UK’s Paul Kane shows his award-winning style with the story of a P.I.’s search for a missing boy, a search which takes him on a detour to Refuge where the authorities are less than helpful. But P.I. Mickey owes it to the parents of the kid, so he perseveres with his investigations, only to uncover a twist from his own past…Volume 2 of The Refuge Collection doesn’t disappoint: it’s compelling and creepy, crammed with gritty unforgettable stories from some of horror’s best.’
(Lee Murray, Goodreads)
First published by Stormblade Productions in the UK, January 2016. Print & E-Book novelette, with artwork by Steve G. Santiago, £4.99/£2.10
‘Paul Kane is an excellent master of vivid description; he uses words beautifully to evoke the mental image of a scene. With his fast moving narrative, I was soon embedded in the story. Angela’s family background and history are swiftly and succinctly dealt with, giving you just enough information to get a brief snapshot of her life and understand the dynamics, grinning at all the comparisons and links to the original fairy-tale. The overall premise IS the story is Snow White. All the elements from the “original” are there but Paul Kane has brought them into the modern world with a bang!
(Fluffy Red Fox Horror Blog)
‘No matter what our age, we all love fairy tales. There is something primal about their nature, they hint at a world beyond the pale, a world that despite the logical way of our adult brain works still has the power to haunt and chill us on a cold winter’s night…Snow from Paul Kane is a modern reworking of the classic fairy tale Snow White, a clever, well written adult version of the much loved classic story.
(Jim Mcleod, Ginger Nuts of Horror)
Which brings me to the latest incarnation of the Snow White tale by writer Paul Kane simply titled Snow…What I loved most about this retelling were the characters. Angela is a sympathetic heroine who you find yourself rooting for right from the start. Without giving anything away I’d say don’t expect a prince charming to come in and save her at the last minute because Angela doesn’t need one. She’s a strong character by herself, but she does have some new “friends” that do lend her a helping hand. I also enjoyed the wicked stepmother Ruth. I felt bad for Ruth and Uncle Robert. Paul gives them both a background that the reader can relate to as well. I found myself understanding why they would turn into such monsters. You should always love the villains as much as you love the heroes and that’s one of the reasons why I found Ruth so interesting. Paul also creates wonderful visual imagery through the use of such colours as red and white. They play an important part in the story just as much as the characters. He uses them to provide some very interesting symbolism throughout the story.
Another aspect that I enjoyed were the little nods to the original story Paul would throw in from time to time. Like when Robert brought Angela’s bloody coat as proof that she was dead. And how Ruth would constantly keep Angela out of the public “eye”… Fun stuff! Paul Kane has another winner on his hands with Snow. This is the third book of his I’ve read and every one of them has been a complete joy. He’s a writer that has the wonderful ability to put his own spin on previous stories and make them fresh and new. He’s definitely on my top ten favourite author’s list. I’m so stoked for Sherlock Holmes and Servants of Hell!’
(10/10 review by Rob Ridenour, Clive Barker Podcast)
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First published by Abaddon in the UK, August 2016. Mass Market Paperback, Cover Art by Sam Gretton.
Featuring: ‘Fall Out’ by Simon Guerrier; ‘Children of the Cull’ by Cavan Scott; ‘Flaming Arrow’ by Paul Kane.
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First published by SST in the UK, August 2016. Signed Lettered Hardback (with original remarque by Glenn Chadbourne), ISBN: 978-1-909640-79-5, £39.95. Limited signed paperback, ISBN: 978-1-909640-80-1, £8.95. Cover Art by Legendary Jaws & Empire Strikes Back artist Roger Kastel.
First published by Horrific Tales in the UK, September 2016. Hardback, £12.99. Cover Art by Ben Baldwin.
‘Gee, Paul Kane had a lot to do with this latest book release. I only say this because his most recent release was the outstanding Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell which I heaped praise on here. The Rot is completely different and cements Kane as one of the top writers in the genre of dark fiction, in my opinion. First thing to admire about this novella, published by Horrific Tales Publishing, is the artwork from Ben Baldwin – quite superb and really gets the juices pumping for a tale of grim, desperate post-apocalyptic fiction. The story is told in the first person via a series of blog recordings by ex-pilot Adam Keller. A man experimenting with a new body suit called a S.K.I.N. As testing commences things take a sudden and drastic turn for the worst and Keller is forced into a desperate situation.
There is a lot to like about The Rot. Adam Keller is a great character, there are no zombies as such and the idea of the S.K.I.N is original and very interesting. It is a grim and dark book filled with dread and hopelessness and just when you think that there is maybe a glimmer of light at the end of the long tunnel, Kane pulls the rug from underneath your feet, plunging you deeper into a world that is literally falling apart. There are some memorable scenes of gore and Kane manages to pack a lot into this novella without overcrowding it. Aside from Keller, there are only brief appearances by other characters and the ones that do feature aren’t around for very long for a variety of different reasons. The ending to this sad tale is really the icing on the cake and delivers a real punch in the guts after an absorbing and draining read. Paul Kane is a writer whose latest work I will always seek out. He shows a consistency with both the quality of his storytelling and the originality of his ideas. Another great read and another tick in the box for the impressive Horrific Tales Publishing.’
(The Grim Reader)
‘The Rot is written in the style of a journal. In it, we follow an ex-RAF pilot, Adam, who – because of an experimental suit – finds himself immune to a disease that seems to affect everyone and everything around him. He calls this “The Rot”. It’s bleak in the way The Road is bleak. Everything is Adam’s enemy and it is all he can do to survive…The story is solid… The dialogue is intelligent and the descriptions vivid. I got a sense that Kane wanted the book to ask philosophical questions, especially near the end.... The Rot is a strong speculative horror novella and worth a read.’
‘The Rot is the tale of one man trying to survive the end of life as we know it. Paul Kane has deftly combined elements of The Road and The Crazies to create a desolate world where nothing can be trusted. The Rot is bleak, there is no other way to describe it. This story had me hooked from the start. Told as a series of recorded journal entries made by Adam as he travels across an ever-changing landscape, trying to survive the crazed people and animals. Adam is slightly sarcastic and likeable, I kept hoping that he would make it to a safe place and find other survivors, or even the slightest glimmer of hope for a happy ending. I highly recommend this hopelessly grim 4 star read.’
‘In recent months I’ve already had the opportunity to review two excellent horror novels from Horrific Tales Publishing – after these, I could barely wait for their next publication, titled The Rot, already available for purchase since the end of September; an excellent post-apocalyptic thriller from writer Paul Kane, another star of the horror genre, who is yet to be known in the Hungarian horror community, but already has over 60 novels, including a few award-winners in his portfolio. The Rot starts out pretty clichéd – a mysterious virus gets unleashed, which destroys the majority of living beings, and the main character is recording audio logs, hoping that there are other survivors out there, who can use the files to improve their chances. However, the majority of these clichés disappear in a few pages – neither is our hero the typical survivor, nor the virus a variant of the well-known zombie disease. Adam didn’t survive thanks to a mysterious immunity or outstanding survival instinct – he is an ex-airforce pilot, who was the subject of several scientific experiments, requiring human test subjects. A few days before all hell broke loose, his body was shielded with the SKIN – a nanotechnology-based ultimate survival tool, which, besides increasing the owner’s vitality, stamina and regenerative capabilities way beyond ordinary, can also indefinitely recycle the products of human metabolism, making the owner capable of surviving without food or drink even in the least habitable environments
The virus itself is also unique in its own way – during the novel we never find out, what exactly caused the extinction of the human race, whether it was a biological experiment, or the planet’s final answer to the pollution and overpopulation. The virus is not a simple disease – more like a contagious rot, which destroys any organic or inorganic matter, attacking living beings without any premonitory signs (starting with the nervous system, stripping down the victim to its most primal animal instincts), crushing buildings and turning water into poison. The tragedy is beautifully quick and cruel – the end simply happens, erasing everything and everyone without a trace – and the only survivor can do nothing else beyond observing as a lonely and devastated spectator, as the entire world is destroyed in only a few weeks. Naturally, the obligatory elements of similar stories appear – the band of unlikely survivors, the scientist searching for the cure – however, Kane ends these plotlines in a more cruel and cynical way than George R.R. Martin does with the elements of classic fantasy and folktales. The Rot doesn’t use simple scare scenes, it’s not even a horror novel in the traditional sense. It simply introduces the writer’s vision on a possible apocalypse – a vision where the reward of the luckiest (or unluckiest) is to watch as everything rots, perishes. Like the previous publications from HTP it’s not a heavy, or deep horror story – but an incredibly entertaining, well-written one, with some very interesting twists for fans of this genre. Highly recommended.’
(Cinegore, 8/10 – read original Hungarian review here)
‘When is a zombie novel not a zombie novel? That’s a question horror fans have been arguing over since the undead first crawled out the grave. It is a matter that has thrown up some great debate over the years. Personally, I’m of the opinion that it doesn’t matter, the only real issue is “is it a good book?” Paul Kane’s The Rot, the latest in Horrific Tales premium novella series, is certainly a zombie novella by any other name. The world has gone to rot, both literally and figuratively thanks to some unknown pathogen that has the dual effect of turning all those it infects into crazed self-mutilating rampant killing machines reduced to their most animalistic nature. Where the tribalism of humanity has been reduced to the most basic pack mentality, with hordes of the rotted hunting out the last few remaining survivors of the human race.
Kane expertly introduces us to secondary characters throughout the story and we feel the pain that Adam feels as their fates are laid down on the page. There is a section near the end of the novella that is truly heartbreaking, and the narrative style of the book adds an extra layer of emotional depth to an already emotive section.
(Ginger Nuts of Horror)
‘Introducing Paul Kane’s novella we have fellow author, Tim Lebbon, who offers up an appetite-whetting four-page introduction in which he talks of his and our draw to apocalyptic fiction, how Kane’s offering takes us down a whole new path, and the careful balancing act at play within the novella. It’s a fabulously praise-filled foreword that sets the mood perfectly for the bleakness to come. I use the word “bleak” but trust me, there’s a hell of a lot more to Kane’s novella than just a bleak apocalyptic vision where humanity is gradually reduced to nothing. Yeah, it’s fucking depressing at times. Emotions are conveyed in the rawest, most delicate and damaged of states. Yet at times there’s also the beginnings of hope – clawing at the grit and grime – attempting to break through. There’s so much honest-to-god humanity within the pages – you feel crushed and cut down, only to be resuscitated and nursed to some iota of health…at which point the incessant cycle starts up again. The story itself is written via our protagonist – Adam Keller’s recorded version of events, recalled over the three months following the outbreak to where he is now. Undoubtedly one of the novella’s key strengths is the prose of this first person narrative. It helps deliver that much-needed human element. There’s an honesty to the dialogue. A believable voice. It pulls you in – putting you behind Keller’s eyes and inside the character’s head.
‘Adam is a fighter pilot chosen to test a self-sustaining skin suit. It re-circulates all his water and waste so the wearer doesn’t need to eat or drink. It was meant only to be worn for one week, but when the world falls apart, it is the only thing keeping Adam from the rot that is infecting the world. Some contagion has entered the world, turning men and women into mindless and ultra-violent madmen. But it isn’t just the people, it’s all things. Buildings and machines are decaying, even the very ground is disintegrating. Adam may be the only man left untouched, protected by his suit. The cause is unknown and he may be the only one left to find a stop to the destruction, if he can survive.
There is a feeling of I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. The bleak separateness of the landscape and everyone out to kill him. Has the world simply evolved and now Adam is the outsider, trying to hold onto the past. The listener doesn’t know. One might be tempted to call this a zombie novel, but the infected people are not dead, just maddened by the disease, though they do act like them. The dark hopelessness of the novel is quite compelling and fits a certain genre. It is a quick listen, but feels full, the world well described and Adam well developed as the reluctant last man on Earth. The novel is performed by Chris Barnes. He does an excellent job, catching Adam’s moods and intense loneliness. He does more than simply read the book, he acts, and it is well done. There are few other character voices, but they are done well and easily differentiated. Excellent. The Rot fits into several categories at once: Zombie, Sci-Fi, Horror and Dystopia. It is a dark novel with literary overtones and will appeal to this audience well. An excellent book that leaves the listener thinking about it long after its completion. Recommended!’
(AudioBook Reviewer 4.5/5)
Alone (In the Dark)
Published by BJM Press, January 2001. Chapbook.
Featuring the stories: ‘Alone’; ‘Biorhythms’; ‘In the House of Magritte’; ‘Net Curtains’; ‘The Last Temptation of Alice Crump’; ‘The Weeping Woman’; ‘Pay the Piper’; ‘The Cyclops’; ‘Sabbat’; ‘Master of the White Worms: A Dalton Quayle Adventure’; ‘Remembrance’; and ‘Eye of the Beholder’...Plus the Song Lyrics: ‘Dangerous World’.
‘ Its twelve stories cover a fair range, from visceral horror through edgy urban nightmares to offbeat notions like a man taking conscious control of his autonomic body functions, or a tour through the image-filled House of Memory of the artist Magritte. Kane is best when taking risks with these bizarre flights of imagination.’
(David Langford, SFX Magazine)
‘Paul Kane has an outstanding imagination, which puts him in a class above most of the small press writers on the scene today. This collection will, hopefully, be the first step towards getting him the recognition he so richly deserves. Check it out, this could well be the start of something big.’
(David Price, Terror Tales Online)
Touching the Flame
Published by Rainfall Books, July 2002. Trade Paperback, £8.99/$13.99
Featuring: ‘Burnt Fingers’ an introduction by bestselling author Simon Clark; ‘The Torturer’; ‘Astral’; ‘The Face of Death’; ‘Shadow Writer’; ‘Prey’; ‘Star-Pool’; ‘Visiting Hour’; ‘Facades’; ‘At the Heart of the Maze’; ‘The Bones Brothers’; ‘Nightlife’; ‘The Hypnotist’s Gaze’; ‘Grandpa’s Chair’; ‘The Disease’; ‘Blackout’; ‘St August’s Flame’; ‘The Persistence of Dali’; ‘Eye of the Beholder; and ‘Melted Wax’ story notes by Paul Kane.
‘Wonderfully dark and satisfying.’
(The Dark Side Magazine)
‘‘I’ve read several Paul Kane stories before and find his writing style to be consistently good, and his tales very entertaining. He stands out as one of the better writers I’ve read... This collection supports my continuing belief that Paul Kane is a talented writer, one I expect will only go from strength to strength in the years to come.’
‘On a par with what the big boys are cranking out these days.’
Published by Creative Guy Publishing, August 2003. Trade Paperback, $11.99/£6.99
Featuring: ‘Introduction’ by Pete Allen of CGP; ‘Oliver’s Twist’; ‘Master of the White Worms’; ‘A Suspicious Mind’; ‘The Bones Brothers’; ‘Yibble’; ‘Dracula in Love’; ‘The Sheepshank Revelation’; ‘The Ugly’; ‘The Last Temptation of Alice Crump’; ‘All the Rage’; ‘Temple of Deadly Danger’; ‘Spells Trouble’.
Reprinted January 2005 (CGP - 4003) Trade Paperback $12.95/£7.50/$17.95
‘Horror fans with a sense of fun will enjoy this collection of short stories from Paul Kane. In his third offering to the bookshelves, FunnyBones sees Paul depart from his usual world of dark fantasy - to inject a wicked sense of humour into his tales of horror. Bringing together stories like “Dracula in Love” and “The Bones Brothers” - along with a gruesome twist on the lyrics of Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds” - the author terrifies whilst tickling the funny bone. Supernatural crime-fighting hero Dalton Quayle, already a firm favourite with Kane fans, also puts in an appearance in this new collection.’
(The Derbyshire Times)
Master of the White Worms
The Q-Files Vol. 1 . Published by Creative Guy Publishing, August 2003. E-Book Extra. ISBN: 1-894953-17-7
Featuring: ‘Master of the White Worms’; ‘The Sheepshank Revelation’; ‘Paul Kane in Conversation with Amanda Edwards’; ‘Paul Kane Gallery’; ‘Don’t Mention the War’ (Non-Fiction Article).
‘What can I say? This book is bloody brilliant… I can only say I wish there had been more of Dalton Quayle.’
(Susie Hawes, The Sword Reviews)
‘ Author Paul Kane’s story, “Master of the White Worms” manages to inject into the classic “Penny Dreadful” a simultaneous dose of humor, mystery, punnery and schlock horror, conjuring up the best parts of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H. P. Lovecraft, and P. G. Wodehouse. From the cigar-smoking soon-to-be widow Mrs. Meadows to the buxom and befuddled assistant Mrs. Hudsucker, even the supporting characters in Kane’s tales have a certain magical quality...not unreminiscent of circus midgets, two-headed snakes or the famed bearded lady. A genuine joy to read, Kane’s Pemberton and Qualye stories bring back the grand tradition of armchair detectives while restoring a chuckle to oft-dry Victorian-style fiction.’
(Ted Magnuson, author of The Moses Probe - reviewing for KnowBetter.com)
‘“Master Of The White Worms” and “Dalton Quayle And The Sheepshank Revelation” are the memoirs of Doctor Humphrey Pemberton and the adventures of Dalton Quayle, the most famous of supernatural detectives. All three are smile raisers. Rating: 5 Stars.’
(Michael McCarty The Dark Krypt)
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Dalton Quayle and the Temple of Deadly Danger
The Q-Files Vol. 2 . Published by Creative Guy Publishing, November 2004. E-Book. ISBN: 1-894953-16-9 $4.25
‘If the title reminds you of “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” it should, and a familiar whip-cracking fellow named Harrison even makes an appearance, along with his pet worm Reggie, in this Dalton Quayle, Dr. Humphrey Pemberton, tale.
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Published by Eloy Edictions, January 2006. Trade Paperback, 14 Euros.
Featuring: ‘Verbrannte Finger’ by Simon Clark; ‘Der Folterer’; ‘Astral’; ‘Das Gesicht des Todes’; ‘Shattenschriber’; ‘Beute’; ‘Sternteich’; ‘Besuchszeit’’; ‘Fassaden’; ‘Im Herzen des Labyrinths’’; ‘Die Bones Brothers’; ‘Nachtleben’; ‘Der Blick des Hypnotiseurs’; ‘Opas Sessel’; ‘Die Krankheit’; ‘Verdunkelung’; ‘Der Flame des Sankt Augustus’; ‘Die Beharrlichkeit Dalis’; and ‘Im Auge des Betrachters’.
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The Shadows Trilogy
Published by Screaming Dreams, E-Book, December 2007. Cover artwork by David Magitis.
Features: Introduction by Paul Kane; ‘Shadow Writer’; ‘Blackout’; and ‘The Convert’.
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Published by Creative Guy Publishing. Trade Paperback, October 2008 $14.95 / £8.95. Cover art by Les Edwards. ISBN: 978-1-894953-53-5
Featuring: ‘Cause and Effect: An Introduction to Paul Kane’ by Christopher Fowler; ‘Strobe’; ‘Guilty Pleasures’; ‘Suit of Lies’; ‘The Opportunity’; ‘Homeland’; ‘Remote’; ‘Nightmare on 34th Street’; ‘Yin and Yang’; ‘Check-out’; ‘Biorhythms’; ‘Kindred Spirits’; ‘R.S.V.P.’; ‘Life Sentence’; ‘1, 2, 3…1, 2, 3’; ‘Dig (This)’; ‘The Anniversary’; ‘The Convert’; ‘Life-like’; ‘The Procession’; ‘Reunion’; ‘The Protégé’.
‘Paul Kane is a young writer with a lot to say and a burning need to say it. Reading these stories is a bit like watching a Twilight Zone marathon – one witty, surprising, ingenious story after another, each one delivering its shock of fear, pity, astonishment, or irony before giving way to the next little amazement. Also, I’m impressed by the range of Paul Kane’s imagination. It seems there is no risk, no high-stakes gamble, he fears to take. In this collection, a flipped-out Santa Claus encounters the police a breath before Yin and Yang get down and dirty. Kane’s foot never gets even close to the brake pedal .’
( Peter Straub – Bestselling author of Ghost Story, Mr X, Lost Boy Lost Girl, In the Night Room and Black House, with Stephen King)
‘How big is the rock I’ve been living under to have missed out on such a wonderful talent?!? What sets this collection apart from all the others is its undeniable creativity and originality. You won’t find tired retreads of common genre themes; hell, you won’t even be able to pigeonhole Kane into any one genre. Peripheral Visions runs the gamut from horror to suspense to dark fantasy, and the author nails each and every one of them. Take, for instance, “Yin and Yang”. Never before have I read a more eloquent story about the dichotomy of the forces of nature. It was not only my favorite story of the collection, but is one of the best short stories I’ve ever read. Kane also gives readers a liberal dose of thrills and chills….
And I can’t finish this review without praising Kane on his ability to write top-notch short-shorts. I don’t recall another author being able to pack so much story in so few words. Three pieces -- “The Opportunity”, “R.S.V.P”, and “The Protégé” – only cover six total pages of the book, yet they pack a wallop seldom seen by stories of this length. Paul Kane has a helluva toolbox at his disposal – characterization, visualization, creativity, success with multiple themes and genres, the ability to tell a good story at any length. Simply put, the man is wildly talented. I give Peripheral Visions a 9 out of 10 and highly recommend grabbing a copy.’
(Andrew Monge, Horror Drive-In)
“Strobe” and “Biorhythms” were memorable for their unexpected transcendental theories. “Biorhythms” had a grotesque and lethal ending but was incredibly happy and spiritually exhilarating. There were also some classic Edgar Allan Poe/Alfred Hitchcock-styled, bizarre tales such as “Suit of Lies”, “Homeland” and “the Anniversary” to mention just a few. “Remote” and “Guilty Pleasures” were both fantastic. “Guilty Pleasures” was about a guilt demon that haunts sinners, threatening to drive them mad. “Remote” was a vivid story about out-of-body experiences going one step further; the ability to affect things while in remote locations. I like that Kane is not afraid to take sharp turns or end with the villain as the victor. He can make you believe the story could end happily and then it turns lethal. Or put the victim in a dire predicament and then shove them to a blissful state for eternity. I also admire his ability to quickly introduce familiar traits in people to give them instant dimension.
I think several of his stories could have expanded to exciting and easily popular novels and/or screenplays. For this reason, I will always look forward to reading more from Kane.’
(Alesha Brunell, G.A.S.P.etc.com)
‘The stories all start out in real life, then end somewhere horrifyingly closer to home. Any reader will find it difficult to read this without looking over his shoulder to check on the shadows in the corner and what they’re hiding. Each of these stories are thought-provoking, disturbing, and stay with you after the book is over. You will find yourself looking at people differently, wondering what they could be capable of doing. You may even wonder what you are capable of doing. Paul Kane is a wonderful writer who is following in the footsteps of the man to whom this collection is dedicated – Clive Barker – and he will carve out his own niche someday soon amongst fans of horror.’
(Kerri Silva, Horror Bound Magazine)
‘‘It’s very hard to classify this book. Paul Kane’s short stories are a mixture of different genres with a strong leaning towards the inner space of the mind. These stories particularly are brilliantly conceived and written.
Paul Kane has a very economic style of writing but he can pack so much into a few pages. His words are well chosen, his plots clearly and concisely outlined. The seven-page “Strobe”, for instance, sets up an overpowering addiction to a flashing light in the first couple of pages then tracks the degeneration through stronger and stronger lights until the final…whatever… is reached… He is also good at turning the conventional ideas on their head and examining the outcome…
I found “Life Sentence” particularly poignant. It explores the possibility that, as life-prolonging technology improves, dying may become illegal, as may even wanting to die. Paul manages to convey the desperation of wanting to die and the utter futility of trying. He gives the whole euthanasia debate a new, subtle, vicious twist. And the most chilling story of all is the shortest – “Protégé”.
Because each story is so different in its plot and approach this is a very easy book to come back to later. Each story explores a new idea and if, like me, you like to read in short bursts between other demands on your time, this book is very easy to enjoy. Ghosts, zombies, environmentalists, obsessives, blackmailers – they are all here in their own little beautifully crafted stories. This is a book worth reading for its good stories and for Mr Kane’s incredible imagination.’
(Bob Estreich, Synergy Magazine)
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The Adventures of Dalton Quayle
To order The Adventures of Dalton Quayle click here.
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The Butterfly Man and Other Stories
‘Despite his friendly demeanour, Paul Kane is a vicious man; as exemplified in the gut-wrenching twists concluding his stories, where he cheerfully shreds apart our hopes and expectations for the protagonists’ survival with gleeful abandon. Nowhere is this more evident than in Paul Kane’s latest collection The Butterfly Man and Other Stories, which comprises eighteen of his short stories. As any writer will tell you, short stories are a vastly different narrative art-form to a conventional full-length novel; requiring concise prose, tight plotting, and often a focus purely on character. It is a testament to Paul Kane’s writing ability that all of the stories constantly remain fresh and his characters are always distinct from one another.
(One Metal Magazine)
‘My first exposure to Paul Kane’s work was the rather brilliant post apocalyptic remix of Robin Hood that he wrote for Abaddon Books as part of the Afterblight Chronicles series. The trilogy was set in my adopted hometown of Nottingham, and I loved every minute of it... The Butterfly Man & Other Stories contains eighteen horrific tales that should delight any horror fan. I have been sat here for the last half an hour trying to decide which of the stories were my favourites, a near impossible task when all of them are so damn good. After much umming and ahhing here, in no particular order, are my personal picks from this collection:
(The Eloquent Page)
‘When I think of butterflies it brings to mind gentle, attractive creatures that bring a splash of colour to warm, sunny days. Despair, urban decay and violent death? Not so much. Paul Kane’s collection of horror stories may have a bright and cheerful-sounding title, but its insides are more than macabre enough.
‘There are times when reading books for this blog, that I feel kind of embarrassed. This is one of those books, for an author who has been as widely published and prolific as Paul Kane, I’m embarrassed to say that prior to this collection...I had never read any of his work. Yes I had heard his name mentioned by those more in the know than I am. The Butterfly Man collects some of Paul’s finest works from recent years plus the addition of ”The Cave of Lost Souls”, Paul’s very first published short story. The 18 stories here range from the very light hearted to some very deep, harrowing and moving tales.
‘When I first received Butterfly Man for review, I planned to read just a few stories a day, as the collection has 18 stories and appears quite long. But once I started, I was transfixed. I ended up spending the entire day reading. And once I finished, I probably could have rattled off synopses of every story, without looking at the book again once – they’re that unforgettable... Five of the stories here are originals to the collection. “The Greatest Mystery” is the first. Narrated by Dr. Watson, this is a Sherlock Holmes tale with a particularly sinister twist....As it’s written true to Dr. Watson’s voice and is a fitting addition to the Holmes legend, I believe that if you like Sherlock Holmes, you’ll like “The Greatest Mystery.”...
‘I chose to review Paul Kane’s seventh collection for this edition of The Short Review because I felt it might present something different, a challenge, to me as a reader new to fantasy/horror; a thick, bubbling brew which includes comic horror, the surreal, vampire literature and straight horror. OK, it’s not the sort of stuff I read every day, but would it be enough to entice me into the circle of fans? Looking at the online image of the extraordinarily beautiful cover, I thought it might be possible...The elements I expected are all in there, fighting for supremacy – tormented souls, ghosts, angels, avenging spirits from beyond the grave, the Spirit of Death, monsters of the night, side by side with chocolate-box sexy women...
The Spaces Between
‘A collection filled with delights of the macabre and the mystical!’
(From the Introduction by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Bitten and Thirteen, Kelley Armstrong)
‘Kudos to Paul Kane! What a powerful volume added to his ongoing oeuvre, a diverse and wide-angle on the eternally fascinating dark side.’
‘This collection from Spectral Press brings together 16 short stories on the subject of ghosts and hauntings from one of my favourite modern horror writers, Paul Kane. Also included here is the film script for Wind Chimes as well as the story itself (which I’ll come to later).
‘GHOSTS is a collection of sixteen stories and one poem from Paul Kane, drawn from his back catalogue and based on the theme of, well, ghosts. The suitably atmospheric cover is by Les Edwards and it is, of course, another beautifully produced book.
It’s a strong collection of stories, written in clear, precise prose – there aren't too many stylish flourishes here, this is straightforward story-telling… It’s difficult in these post-modern times to make a ghost story scary and the tale that probably best achieves this is “Homeland”which uses the haunted house trope to good effect.
Dickens provides the starting point for two of the stories in the collection. “Humbuggered”is an updated version of A Christmas Carol which didn't quite work for me, whereas “Signals”was my favourite story in the book. The story it references is “The Signal-man”– which just happens to be my favourite Dickens ghost story (and which is definitely the best of the BBC’s adaptations). I was a little apprehensive starting Signals – a high risk of sacrilege and all that – but actually really enjoyed this clever sequel to the original. GHOSTS is the first in Spectral’s Collections series and provides a strong start to what will hopefully be a long line to come.’
‘I’m embarrassed to admit not knowing much about the work of Paul Kane, but let’s face it: you can’t read everything. So I came to his hefty collection of short fiction with no preconceptions, beyond a simple awareness of his high rating shared by readers and fellow writers. My ignorance had the serendipitous effect of providing a fresh perspective. As Nancy Kilpatrick writes in her Introduction, Kane explores a wide variety of ghostly manifestations, each written with inventive verve and eclectic personality so lacking in much recent “ghost fiction,” which seems reliant on bad TV and movies and “clever” gimmicks. I’m pleased to report this collection has none of those failings, and can’t remember when I’ve more enjoyed a single-author collection.
‘Too, such narrative diversity showcases Kane’s adaptability. “Homeland,” wherein a gruff clean-up crew tasked to handle the residence of a deceased hoarder, literally have their hands – and fears – full. (Having once worked in disaster-restoration, this really chilled me.) Kane is adept at fusing physical detail with emotional, bringing his settings to life, no matter how unpleasant. In “Funeral for a Friend,” we are reminded that the passed-on can be unwilling to pass over the sins of the living…a morality tale for the New Shallow who’re too busy to live. “Wind Chimes” is a lacerating tale of loss, redemption, and…never mind. Kane’s own script for what became a short film, directed by Brad Watson, ends the book, and even includes a Watson Intro. The book’s front-matter helpfully (for late-comers like me) lists books published – and edited – by the author.’
(William J. Grabowski, Beware the Dark magazine)
‘Has one or two stories that maybe should have been left out, but is more than made up for the fact that “Funeral For a Friend” blew me out of orbit and is a sublime piece of writing and shows why Paul is a much needed author in this genre of ours.’
(8/10, mini-review by Johnny Mains, editor of Best British Horror)
A compilation of supernatural tales that lift the curtain on the ever-present spectre of death and what may lie beyond. After the death of a hoarder the crew sent to clean up his house encounter more than they bargained for… A hotel room with a deadly secret… A selfless charity worker who is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve who hope to persuade him to change his ways… An unexpected guest at a funeral… Social media updates from beyond the grave… GHOSTS is an enthralling collection of stories – some with a humorous touch, some thick with heartbreak and some which will chill to the bone – all of which will trouble the reader long after they have finished the final page. Although in theory short story collections are designed to be dipped into, this one is as compelling as a novel and no sooner has one story ended than the next drags you into its sphere of influence.
The protagonists of all these stories are immaculately drawn – convincing and very realistic with foibles and neuroses like the rest of us. This makes it all the more shocking when they come up against the unexplained and the downright terrifying. In some of the stories the supernatural element is an extrapolation of very real human tragedy – the death of a parent or child – and in others it has a terrifying life all its own. Two of the stories here are sequels to perhaps a couple of the most famous ghost stories of all time – Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and “The Signal-man”. Some might consider it audacious to tackle these but they both work superbly – Humbugged as a dark comedy in which the ghostly visitors are attempting to get Scrooge’s descendant to stop being so compassionate and Signals as a grim tale of inevitability and destiny with an atmosphere as oppressive as the original and a circular logic about it which is as satisfying as it is horrifying.
A haunting selection of tales that all feel like classics, GHOSTS will probably draw the reader back to it again and again…’
(Chris Limb, The British Fantasy Society)
Published by Alchemy Press, July 2015. Trade Paperback, £10.99 ISBN: 978-0-9929809-7-9, Signed limited hardback edition with free ‘The Weeping Woman’ DVD, £20. Introduction by Nicholas Vince, cover artwork by Clive Barker (cover design by Christian Francis).
‘Question: What is the first thing you think of when the word “monster” is used? Is it the old black and white hammer films? Video nasties of the 80's? Or something else completely? Whatever it may be there will be something in this collection for you… There is enough diversity to keep you hooked for “just one more” and you can’t always be sure where that “just one more” will be taking you. There is humour here, in places, but the darkness is never far away. A prime example being “Guilty Pleasures” which tells of a Guilt Demon visiting people with, as you might expect, guilty secrets, whispering in their ears. The demon itself came across, to me, as a more of a cheeky rascal type than an evil hellspawn, but the ending certainly dried up the chuckles. “Guilty Pleasures” is followed by “Speaking in Tongues” which, again, had a vein of humour in the way the lead character interacts, unwillingly, with people but the reasoning behind it all is Body Horror at its best (see what I mean about diversity). There is “old school” horror here (“Nightlife”, “Dracula in Love”), Body Horror (the aforementioned “Speaking in Tongues”, “The Disease”), and all points in-between. Plenty for everyone – and cover art by Clive Barker!... I think it is safe to say Paul Kane is one of my “go to” guys for horror shorts and this is a worthy addition to his oeuvre. If you've read his works before you will want to own this and if you are new to him this is as good a starting point as any.’
(Ebookwyrm, 5/5 review)
‘Monsters is a well-written and thoroughly enjoyable collection of stories. I loved all the different ways the author interprets the idea of monsters. The collection contains stories about common horror monsters including werewolves, vampires and zombies. The author writes about these well used creatures in fresh and interesting ways. One of the best examples of this is the zombie story, “Pay the Piper”. I loved how the traditional take about the Pied Piper and the idea of zombies blends in this story. The collection contains a triptych of werewolf stories; three stories dealing with the same characters at the start, middle and end of the collection (“Nightlife”, “Half-Life”and “Lifetime”). These stories were among my favourites. Others included “The Disease”, “A Chaos Demon Is For Life”, “St August’s Flame”, “Guilty Pleasures”, “Speaking In Tongues”and“Rag And Bone”. I enjoyed all of the stories but these stood out a little more. Monsters is an excellent collection of horror stories.’
(Book Lovers’ Boudoir 5 Star Review)
‘Paul Kane shits books: eight novels, seven novellas, nine short story collections, and thirteen edited/co-edited books. Best known for his Hooded Man series, retelling Robin Hood in a post-apocalypse world, Monsters collects together 17 stories and a dark ditty that have mostly been written for genre magazines and other collections over the past 16 years. They say don’t judge a book by its cover – but when the cover art has been painted by Clive Barker, it’s certainly worth a second glance. The monster on the cover – all rainbow whorls, grinning teeth and eye sockets – stands side on, looking over its right shoulder at the reader. Standing out against a jaundiced background, it is watching us as we watch it – seemingly posing the question, “Who exactly is the monster here?”…“St August’s Flame” deposits a random businessman with lots of money in an Egyptian desert in the middle of a storm. He quickly finds himself at a monastery during Earth Hour (candles only, folks), and somewhere in the catacombs beneath there may or may not be the eponymous flame (doing my best to avoid spoilers here). When the businessman finally gets his hands on it (oops) it reveals a lot more of the future than he, or indeed anyone else, can handle. Three connected stories – “Nightlife”, “Half-Life”, “Lifetime” – trace the melancholy arc of a werewolf from the North of England and his rapidly shrinking social circle. There’s real pathos here as we watch all the main characters, despite their many lycanthropic advantages and all that goddamn hair, (spoiler alert) right royally fuck up their lives and those of everyone they come in to contact with. “Keeper of the Light” is an original take on the diligent lighthouse keeper – it’s Earth Hour here too – as the protagonist fights to keep the lights on, and other things with sharp teeth at bay. Another favourite was “The Weeping Woman”, which teaches us the important lesson that one should never, ever, under any circumstances, help one’s fellow citizens, especially when they have poor personal hygiene. Kane is clearly at his best when plot-driven. Characterisation is generally brief, protagonists being clothes horses upon which to hang plot twists of varying degrees of originality. But when he is on form there are strong ideas here to raise the heaviest of eyebrows, and make you turn back to that monster on the front cover for company.’
‘A rare thing for a collection of short stories to all hit the mark. There’s usually a dud or two lurking somewhere in the volume. Yet, Paul Kane’s Monsters delivers on all counts with a macabre collection of horror shorts that kept me entertained for hours. That said, there’s normally a few stories that stand out above the others and in this case it’s a collection of three that follow the story of a young group of lads originally out on the pull – or is it a hunt? But of course, things aren’t always what they seem. And that’s the beauty of Monsters: there’s always a twist to be had, something you don’t quite see coming. The cover art, by the way, is by Clive Barker, and nicely encapsulates the strangeness of the collection. If you’ve read anything else by Paul Kane (I’d recommend Sleeper(s)) then you’ll be familiar with the ease in which he writes and the life that he breathes into his characters. Sign of a great writer. But the general mark of a good book, especially a good horror, is the ability of the story to stay with you long after you’ve read it. Something of a cliché in this day and age, perhaps, but nevertheless true. After I put this book down and went about my day, I found myself often thinking about werewolves, vampires, cuddly demons and the rag and bone men of yesteryear. Which to this jaded horror fan is no easy feat. In summary: buy this, read it and remember what it’s like to be scared of monsters!’
(Neil Buchanan, Stormblade Productions)
‘Starting with cover art by Clive Barker, followed with an introduction from Nicholas Vince and ending with a collection of great monster tales, Monsters is a perfect book to sit with when you want a bit of well-crafted gore added to your day. There are no half-ass stories here, they’re all top-of-their-game pieces brought together for the delight and derangement of the readers. With Monsters Paul Kane proves that he’s not only a great novelist, but also a great writer of short stories as well. I highly recommend this book to any fan of horror, any time, anywhere.’
(Zero Signal Magazine)
‘To a new world of gods and monsters! To put it simply I’ve always loved monsters. From the first time I saw Boris Karloff in the 1931 classic Universal Studios monster-fest Frankenstein I was hooked and my obsession only grew from there. If anything was related to monsters I had to have it. Godzilla, King Kong, Dracula, The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Frankenstein (my personal favorite) all became my heroes… This brings me to writer Paul Kane’s wonderful short story collection Monsters which I connected with immediately as soon I saw the cover art which was done by none other than Clive Barker himself. It’s obvious from the first story Paul has a wonderful grasp of the monster genre and knows his shit when it comes to telling a good story. There’s not a tale in this collection that I didn’t like, and I’m not just saying that to plug Paul’s book. This relit my love for monsters in a big way and it also took me back to my childhood when I first started falling in love with this stuff. It also inspired me to pull out my Universal Monster Legacy Blu-ray Collection and I’ve been watching that non-stop the past few days.
The most important thing a writer can do for the characters in his stories is to have the reader relate to them, whether it’s the humans or the monsters. Paul Kane pulls this off brilliantly in every story. Sure, some of the monsters in these stories are evil incarnate but they aren’t mindless killing machines, they do have a purpose in everything that they do regardless if we find their actions are incomprehensible… It was a pleasant surprise that he went so deep with them instead just telling a good scary yarn. The stories that I enjoyed most out of the collection varied in tone but that’s the reason I loved them so much. “A Chaos Demon is for Life”was probably the sweetest demon story that I’ve ever read. It made me want to play with my pets after reading it. “Keeper of Light”was probably the scariest and most disturbing of the bunch. The main character from this story, Harry Ingle, is a new fictional hero of mine. The funniest story was “Speaking in Tongues”. This story was obviously a nod to Clive Barker’s“The Body Politic”. The story I found myself relating to though the most was “Dig (This)”. It made me think of reading the old EC Comics when I was a kid and remembering the times when I was a teenager getting in trouble with my friends and doing stupid things, hanging around places we knew we shouldn’t have. Of course Paul puts a nice supernatural twist on this one that I really enjoyed. I didn’t see it coming.
Paul Kane’s Monsters promises exactly what the title says. If you love monsters then you’ll love this book. You get zombies, werewolves, vampires, demons, possessed tongues and so much more. This book is a winner and it will definitely make my best of 2015 list at the end of year. 10/10.’
(Rob Ridenour, Clive Barker Podcast)
‘Paul Kane’s Monsters has the distinction of a cover by no lesser talent than Clive Barker. After an introduction by Nicholas Vince extolling the virtues and abiding appeal of monsters, we get “The Ugly”, a pithy little poem that further examines our attitude to such creatures, showing how over time they are transformed from something monstrous into sideshow freaks. The collection proper kicks off with “Nightlife”, the story of quiet librarian Neil, who is looking forward to a night out with his mates, only said mates are a pack of werewolves. It’s a story that sells the reader a dummy, making us sympathise with Neil, the dullness of his life and the background from which he came, so that we understand all too well his desire to let rip on occasion, and then having so deftly wrong-footed us reveals what “let rip” means in this context. Gus, the protagonist of “The Disease”, is afflicted by an illness that seems beyond the scope of science, but he is the first of many, the prelude to a quantum shift in mankind’s existence. Harrowing in its detailed description of the onset of the illness and its symptoms, the story subtly intrudes a subtext about the human condition and the true nature of the disease inflicting the world. Lightweight, but well written, the next story takes the form of a letter sent to Kane by an academic with details of an obscure tome that contains a full description of the witches “Sabbat”. It’s intriguing, as the narrator rightly concludes, but doesn’t really go anywhere; is the background to a story, rather than the story itself.
In “Dig (This)”, a story with a strong E. C. Comics vibe going on, three teenagers decide to dig up a corpse in an isolated graveyard, with dire consequences. It’s pure horror, a tale in which setting, characters and gore effects are all well done and guaranteed to entertain the reader of a certain predisposition. As the title might suggest, there’s a rich streak of black comedy running through festive tale “A Chaos Demon Is For Life…”, with Kane going engagingly over the top and having a grand old time referencing numerous monster movies in a romp of a story that is pure pleasure to read. A man seeks “St August’s Flame” and the visions of the future that it provides, but after an intriguing setup the story doesn’t really deliver on its early promise, instead giving us a get into the coffin free card.
Harry is one of the last survivors, a “Keeper of the Light” in a world of universal darkness, and with ravenous creatures lurking in the dark, the story offering us a novel vision of the apocalypse, one reminiscent of Hodgson’s epic The Night Land. Kane works on a more intimate scale though, with the upsetting of this existential apple cart mostly the backdrop in a story detailing one man’s sense of loss and defiance in the face of hopeless odds, so that we can identify with what is taking place on the page. “Dracula in Love” seeks the help of a psychiatrist to deal with his condition, but the course of true blood does not run smooth in this delightful, tongue in cheek tale that engagingly satirises celebrity and the psychiatric profession. In “Half-Life”, the second in a trilogy of connected stories, we revisit werewolf Neil, who is now married and detached from his old gang, but the arrival of a hunter in their lives forces him back into “the life”. It’s a story that grabs the attention instantly, dealing with themes of growing up and reconciliation to who you really are, what you really want, and how the desire for revenge can undo us, but despite these reflective aspects it never stints on the action, with murder and mayhem committed to the page.
“Guilty Pleasures” details some episodes in the professional life of the Guilt Demon, a being that preys on the feelings of others, and who possibly might have misgivings of its own, or perhaps not. It’s a fun story, surprisingly so given the subject matter, but Kane offers us the balm of seeing the guilty pay for their flaws. James starts “Speaking in Tongues”, which mostly consists of swearing at everyone he encounters, but this is only setting the stage for a minimalist take on Barker’s “The Body Politic”, with the real appeal of the story in the payoff. An African expedition meets a fate worse than death when they discover the “Star-Pool”, the story building effectively and then delivering its twist ending, one with implications for all of mankind. “Rag and Bone” is the story of a philanderer getting his well-deserved comeuppance, a piece with plenty of wet work thrown into the mix, but underlying that a conception of the rag and bone industry that gives it an almost mythic status and offers a unique and original monster for the reader’s entertainment. I’d like to see Kane do something more with this creation.
A man on an isolated country road stops to help “The Weeping Woman”, the story a simple gotcha tale, but satisfying despite its lack of any real substance. “Pay the Piper” gives us an alternative version of the Hamelin story, with zombies instead of rats as the menace that the piper can dispel, but there is somewhat more to this piper than meets the eye, Kane filling in his back story to reveal a surprise twist, an ending that I saw coming but which wasn’t any the less satisfying. Eric, the protagonist of “It’s All Over…”, is a horror writer haunted by guilt over the break-up of his marriage and the ghost of his dead wife, who comes to the door every night begging to be let in. The story is another fine exercise in the school of just desserts genre writing combined with a gotcha end note. Of particular note is Kane’s depiction of a self-absorbed and obsessed man with an ego the size of a small planet and no sense of what is truly of value in his life until it’s much too late. And finally, after twenty five years away, Neil returns to his old town in “Lifetime”, helping save a group of young werewolves from both the hunters and their own natural desires to rend flesh, becoming a mentor of sorts to pack leader Troy. It’s an absorbing tale, one that touches on issues of personal responsibility and respect for others, but doesn’t commit the cardinal sin of preaching at the reader. And it’s a great way to drop the curtain on a collection that is never less than entertaining and on occasion offers us that bit more. ’
(Peter Tennant, Black Static #50)
‘Unless genre readers have been living in a fall-out shelter for the past thirty years, Paul Kane’s affiliation with (and great affection for) Hellraiser is no secret. He is quoted by Barker himself as “the resident Hellraiser expert”. But if it still remains unclear then fear not, there are unmistakable nods to this affiliation early on in Kane’s collection, Monsters. A terrific Barker painting stalks the cover, for example, while an introduction from Cenobite Nicholas Vince tells us that monsters come in all forms, with humans often pushing in ahead of the amoral queue. There is always a danger that such franchises cast mighty shadows over the original works of those associated with them. So it was of interest to this reviewer to see if this was the case when reading Kane’s latest offering.
With the exception of the tale “Lifetime”, Monsters is a collection of reprinted stories spanning a 17 year period in Kane’s extensive career. Despite the convoluted publishing timeline there is a surprising consistency in the writing, proving that these tales may well be a mixed bag but they remain as relevant today as the respective decades in which they were written. The narrative is strong and assured, as you would expect from someone of Kane’s calibre, mesmerising the reader with the ease of a sales assistant who has mastered the art of hypnosis. Reviews are inherently subjective, especially when applied to collections. But this reviewer argues that this is part of their appeal, much like the songs on an album, some resonate more than others.
Kane’s whimsical approach to storytelling apparent in “Dracula in Love”, “A Chaos Demon is for Life”, and “Guilty Pleasures” is delightful, at once blending humour and poignant satire. In “Dracula in Love”, the titular count seeks out therapy to address his infatuation with a young woman duped into visiting his castle. Love-struck and off his game, Dracula is advised to talk things through with his beau, with a deliciously dark and humorous outcome. In “A Chaos Demon is for Life …” the parents of a young boy summon a demon for his Christmas present, only for it to run amok in a quirky story laced with outlandish action and Dhalesque imagery. “Guilty Pleasures” is a poignant, delicate tale that tells of a guilt demon and its cynical influence on the lives and decisions of ordinary people. It ends on an ironic, philosophical note, and the story themes do linger in the psyche, easily making it my personal favourite from the collection. “Keeper of the Light” is a sombre, atmospheric tale of a world slowly succumbing to a perpetual darkness that hides terrible things, kept tenuously at bay by a failing system of lighthouses. This is a brooding, powerful story with an ending that leaves the reader with an ambiguous feeling of dark hope.
Overall, Monsters is a solid collection, reaffirming Kane as a writer of quality, a celebration of his longstanding ability to create unique worlds of fear and whimsy. It leaves no doubt that, far from being lost in the shadows of the Hellraiser mantle, here is a writer basking only in a light of his own making.’
(The British Fantasy Society)
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The Spirits of Christmas
Shadow Casting: The Best of Paul Kane
Published by SST Publications, December 2016. Trade Hardcover, £19.95 ISBN: 978-1-909640-85-6, Signed limited hardback edition with remarqued audio CD, stories read by Philip Lunt, £26.95 ISBN: 978-1-909640-84-9. Introduction by Muriel Gray, cover artwork by Vincent Chong.
‘It’s no surprise that his career has been so fruitful and celebrated in such diverse ways, from his unique collaborations with the master of horror Clive Barker, to clutches of award-winning short stories and novels, screenplays and adaptations. Paul Kane has left a very big and important mark indeed. It’s a trail of success wider than the wake of a car ferry… Bloody brilliant!’
(From the introduction by Muriel Gray, bestselling author of Furnace and The Ancient)
‘Shadow Writer – a creepy tale that reminded me of a story I’d read (and loved) by Brian Lumley many years ago… It was a great choice for an opening story, and by the end of it, I did feel a little disconcerted and the hairs began prickling around the base of my skull when I realised (too late...) what Mr. Kane has done with this tale… Strobe – a short psychological tale that explores the questions, “What if I found my drug?” Imagine if you’d found that something that flipped all your switches, turned you on, truly expanded your mind and let you “touch infinity” all at once. And then imagine if that drug was freely available to you...
Rag and Bone – shows Kane’s versatility in switching from essentially a psychological thriller to this one, apparently effortlessly. And I loved the underlying mythology – the urban myth – which in some ways reminded me of Clive Barker’s “Midnight Meat Train.” Unsurprisingly, given that this is Paul Kane I’m reading. Biorhythms – Geez, this story reminds me of myself when I was a purely fitness-focused twenty-something. You know, one of those “the body and mind are temples” types. I imagine a lot of research went into this tale of a man in search of perfect control of his identity and all that makes him human.
Yin and Yang – A tale that deals with the personification of Yin and Yang; what would they look like in human form? At times dark, at others sad, even humorous, but as the opening sentence warns us, “The end of the world, the end of the universe, began with a kiss.”… Men of the Cloth – It seemed to me that for this story Paul Kane draws on the literary influences of Ramsey Campbell: it is certainly Campbellian in terms of the theme and style of writing, although it is also reminiscent of Clive Barker’s Rawhead Rex (the movie, not the short story)… The Butterfly Man – If you’d just had a baby and thought he may not have much time on this earth, you’d treasure every moment you had with him. And so does the mother in this story that asks the simple question, “what if time really did fly by?” but it gets complicated by the fact that for everyone else, time is a fairly normal parameter...
Homeland – A very creepy tale about possessions, and what they make of us. In this case the possessions have become a hoard. One man’s treasure, but seen as trash by the environmental clean-up crew brought in to “tidy up” after an old man’s death. Very cinematic, I couldn’t stop reading this one. A Chaos Demon is for life – What could be better than to give a child his very own puppy for Christmas? Why, give them a chaos demon instead! Watch as their relationship builds and blossoms, marvel as the little tyke (called Freckles) grows and experiments, working out whether a DVD tastes good or not... hilariously reminiscent of Clive Barker’s “The Yattering and Jack”.
Dead Time – I’m not a fan of those movies or stories where there’s a load of z.... you know, z.... zom.... those undead things that shamble about looking for brains. Except I loved this, as I did Cockneys vs Zombies and Sean of the Dead. That’s how much! Signs of Life – Is our life determined by the stars? Do people who believe the zodiac and forecasts they read truly believe their fate is pre-destined, or do they follow the path the newspapers mark out for them so that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy? A very interesting idea about how several lives are affected by their star-signs, culminating in a significant meeting of their paths, perhaps as foretold in the stars... They Eye of The Beholder – What begins as an apparent Lovecraft-style tale soon becomes a generational tale of life, birth, death, their meaning and purpose, or lack of. It also hints at what influence “The Controllers” might have on all of the above... The Beholder being one of those supreme beings that are hinted at and referenced elsewhere in Kane's work.’
(Steve Dillon, creator of The Refuge series)
‘A few months ago I introduced you to The Rot, a post-apocalyptic novella from writer Paul Kane, which mixed the classic subgenre with some unique elements and twists. In the past we’ve received the majority of our foreign literature from Horrific Tales Publishing, however, after The Rot review, Mr. Kane sent us a press release of his latest book, titled ShadowCasting, which amongst many of his most successful stories also contains the story “Dead Time”, adapted for the Fear Itself series (as New Year’s Day). If I have to name a book with a similar structure to Shadow Casting, my closest guess from recent memory would be Clive Barker’s Books of Blood, mostly because of the different subgenres represented by the tales, spanning from horror to fantasy through dark humour…
It contains 12 stories altogether, and picking any of them as better or worse than the others would be a near impossible challenge. Still, just to list some of my favourites: “Shadow Writer” is immediately a good start, where the protagonist gets invited to interview his favourite horror author. However, his journey to the secluded master proves more and more menacing, and the meeting is about something much more than a simple interview. Another story, “Biorhythms”, is a prime example of body horror with its main character trying to get complete control over every single process and movement in his body, to handle them like everyday activities, and although he succeeds, controlling his body becomes much more challenging than he ever dared to imagine. Lastly “Men of Cloth” is a nice tribute to classic gothic cinema, featuring a family returning to the father’s old birthplace, an isolated, small village in England, of which his mother refused to speak; following his father’s death, they left for America during his early childhood. This wasn’t a coincidence as the family has a lot to learn about the strange, twisted local folklore, and the things it made the villagers do…
Of course, all the other stories are similarly unique, unusual, either paying tribute to a well-known subgenre, or twisting it beyond surreal (the only reason I didn’t place “A Chaos Demon is for Life” among the others above is because spoiling a single word of it would be a crime). Despite the different styles and structures, Kane’s writing remains on a consistent level through the stories, creating chilling, unnatural beings, sympathetic protagonists and surreal, comical situations with the same success… In summary, Shadow Casting only enforced my opinion based on The Rot, that Kane is one of the most promising modern authors, and I can only hope that sooner or later we can see some of his works on Hungarian shelves. For fans of the Fear Itself series, the book is more than worth it if only for the “Dead Time” story, but even for those who are not part of that fanbase, Shadow Casting is a very unique, high quality compilation, worthy of any horror reader’s attention.’
Published by Black Shuck Books, March 2017. Trade Paperback, £10 ISBN: 9781543090789, Signed limited hardback edition with free ‘The Opportunity’ DVD, £25, ISBN: 2370000504920. Introduction by Paul Finch, cover by Steve Shaw.
‘Paul B. Kane’s Nailbiters is one of the most thrilling short story collections of the year, because it contains many tales of crime and psychological terror. The author delivers such delicious chills and thrills with his stories that readers will be instantly captivated by their disturbing atmosphere. I’m glad I had an opportunity to read Nailbiters, because it’s an excellent collection. I have to confess that I’m not very familiar with the author’s stories, so Nailbiters served as an introduction into his fiction. I can mention that this collection was a memorable reading experience that left me wanting more, because I found all of the stories good and kept turning pages in order to find out what happens at the end of each. It’s been a while since I’ve read this kind of fiction in such a thrilling format.
The contents can be classified as crime fiction, thriller fiction and psychological horror fiction, but on the whole they can be classified as dark fiction. These genres seamlessly interlink with each other in some of the stories, because the author blends them on purpose to awaken feelings of terror and unease in his readers…These stories have several elements in common, but all of them are original, thrilling and inventive. Many of them are intriguingly disturbing, because the author writes boldly and unflinchingly about serial killers, disturbed people and death. Here’s more information about some of the stories and my thoughts about them… Grief Stricken: I found this revenge story fascinatingly unsettling, because the author offers readers a glimpse into the darkness that may be found inside all of us. Check-out: The author writes perfectly about Janet and her life. He paints a stark and bleak picture… It was chilling (and touching) to read about how Janet felt about her life and her work, because all the years of neglect and mental abuse seemed to have scarred her. This story is an excellent example of a psychologically effective story that is difficult to forget once you’ve read it.
The Opportunity: A well written short story about a stalker who’s waiting for the right opportunity to do something nasty. Cold Call: A story about Martin who works at CompliCalls and sells things over the phone and becomes the target of a person who begins to make calls to him. This story has an excellent and chilling ending. The Torturer: Here’s a word of warning to squeamish readers: If you’re easily shocked or have a weak stomach, you should perhaps think twice before reading this story, because you may find it shocking and disturbing… Gemini Rising: This is one of the best and most memorable serial killer stories I’ve ever read, because it has a deeply disturbing feel to it. The Anniversary: This brilliant story gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “for better or worse, in sickness and in health”. I enjoyed the ending very much, because the author has a wonderfully pitch-black sense of humour. 1, 2, 3...1, 2, 3: This is an interesting and a different kind of a story about OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).The Greatest Mystery: This story is an excellent and inventive take on Sherlock Holmes stories and demonstrates the author’s writing skills. I’m happy to say that this is one of the best Sherlock Holmes stories I’ve read to date. Baggage: A well written story with a satisfyingly twisted ending.
Graffitiland: An excellent and interesting story with a touch of noir. There’s something about this story that reminds me a bit of the Sin City graphic novels and films. The Protégé: The ending of this short story is fascinatingly brutal... Nine Tenths: Ren is a thief who breaks into an apartment and finds out that he’s made a big mistake. I liked the ending of this story very much… Blackout: A gripping story about Kelly and her fear of the dark. This story has some of the best descriptions of what it feels like to be alone in the dark I’ve seen in ages, because the author writes about how Kelly reacts to being alone in the middle of a blackout and starts to imagine things. The Cyclops: One of the best stories in this collection… A Nightmare on 34th Street: I think that readers will find this Christmas story intriguing and memorable, because it’s something different. It’s not your normal kind of a Christmas story… Sin: The references to the film Seven add a nice touch of style to the storyline. This excellent and surprising story is one of the highlights in this collection and will impress many readers…
Published by The Sinister Horror Company, July 2017. Trade Paperback, £8.99 ISBN: 978-1-99974-0-8, Limited hardback edition with free ‘One for the Road’ DVD, £20, ISBN: 2370000545657. Introduction by A.K. Benedict, cover by Les Edwards.
‘Death is author Paul Kane’s collection of ten short stories and one play, all with a central theme of mortality. From its title and subject matter, you’d be forgiven in thinking this is going to be a set of grim tales, seeing characters encountering a cloaked figure with a scythe, or walking into a bright light. In every single one of the stories, Kane toys with the usual clichés or avoids them altogether; there are also laughs to be had, with a wicked sense of humour on display from start to finish. Be warned if you’re in a public place – nobody expects a giggle from someone reading a book with the grim reaper on the cover.
The standard of writing remains high from start to finish, although two highlights stand out. “The Return of Mortis-Man” is a pulp superhero tale packed with thrills and spills, as well as some truly poignant moments, a story that will have anyone familiar with comics raising a wry smile all the way through it. It has numerous obvious inspirations, yet remains utterly unique. “The Lazarus Condition” appears to be almost superficial at first, as police attempt to solve the return of a man who has risen from the dead and taken it upon himself to visit his elderly mother. This causes understandable problems, but what could have easily been a standard procedural with a twist is made into so much more; packed with depth and emotional resonance, it’s incredibly moving.
Kane possesses the ability of making readers care about his characters, even in the shortest of these stories, and can get us on their side in just a few words. He’s adept at pulling the rug out from under anyone who thinks they’ve got the twist ending figured out, whether it’s by adding a second turn of the screw or going in a completely different, yet fitting, direction. Death is a first-class collection from a first-class writer, one who can create moments of great terror and amusement, one after the other. An absolute delight from start to finish, it’s a superb introduction to anyone who hasn’t read Paul Kane’s work before and will surely appease his long-term fans as well.’
(Starburst magazine, 9/10)To buy the Kindle click here and for the trade paperback click here.
Shadow Writers Vol. 1
Published by Rainfall Books, September 2002. Trade Paperback, £7.99/$12.99. ISBN: 0-9540877-5-5
Featuring: ‘In the Shadows’ Introduction by Paul Kane; ‘Behind the Painted Face’ by John B. Ford; ‘The Mask’ by Alison L.R. Davies; ‘To Make You King’ by Mark West; ‘The Power’ by Paul Melniczek; ‘Sibling Rivalry’ by Hertzan Chimera; ‘Living Doll’ by Peggy J. Shumate; ‘Make It Rock & Roll’ by Lisa Negus; ‘Soul Searcher’ by Derek M. Fox; ‘Beachcomber’ by Robert D. Rowntree; ‘Trophy’ by Shannon Riley; ‘Decay’ by Quentin S. Crisp; ‘The Journeyman’ by David Price.
‘There are some absolute gems of short fiction here. If this book is anything to go by then it’s fairly safe to say there should be good times ahead for anyone who reads horror.’
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Read a review here
Shadow Writers Vol. 2
Published by Rainfall Books, December 2003. Trade Paperback, £7.99/$12.99. ISBN: 0-9546178-2-7
Featuring: ‘ShadowTime’ Introduction by Paul Kane; ‘Dead Eye’ by Amy Grech; ‘Whizz’ by Paul Finch; ‘Chalice’ by Sue Phillips; ‘Scar Tissue’ by Neal Asher; ‘Pretty Enough’ by Suellen Luwish; ‘They Wait’ by Simon Bestwick; ‘The Afterthought’ by Sarah Crabtree; ‘The Hungry Ones’ by Joe Rattigan; ‘Exploration’ by Steven Deighan; ‘Cain’s Moon’ by Susanne S. Brydenbaugh; ‘The Heart of Darkness’ by Eddie M. Angerhuber; ‘Schism’ by Steve Gerlach.
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To read a review of Shadow Writers Vol. 2 click here
Terror Tales # 1
Published by Rainfall Books, August 2003. Trade Paperback, £12/$16.99. ISBN: 0-9540877-6-3
Featuring: Editorial Introductions, ‘Life After Death’ by John B. Ford and ‘Do Have Nightmares’ by Paul Kane; ‘In the Company of Demons’ by Teri A. Jacobs; ‘Under Mock Orange’ by Scott Thomas; ‘Where They Went Wrong’ by Christopher Fowler; ‘Quayle the Bibliophile’ by Mark Samuels; ‘Seen But Not Heard’ by Joe Rattigan; ‘Plastipak Ltd’ by Neal Asher; ‘In the Flesh’ by Sarah Crabtree; ‘The House of Solemn Children’ by Michael Cisco; ‘The Skull’ by Eddie M. Angerhuber; ‘Lonely Hearts’ by Steve Harris; ‘Forests of the Night’ by Michael Pendragon; ‘Kane’s Korner Special: Birmingham Report’ by Paul Kane; ‘Me, My Bike...And the Inevitable’ by Simon Clark; ‘The Insect Assembly’ by John Paul Catton; ‘Sound Bites...?’ by Derek M. Fox; ‘Dark Family Values’ by Stanley C. Sargent; ‘Images of Angels’ by Sue Phillips; ‘Dark Debate’ with Lisa Negus, Robert D. Rowntree, Stephen Gallagher, Simon Clark, Paul Finch and Tim Lebbon; ‘Book Reviews: Stranger and From a Buick 8’ by Paul Kane and Derek M. Fox; ‘Film Reviews: Darkness Falls and 28 Days Later’ by Christopher Teague.
‘An enjoyable book featuring many good stories by a bunch of fine writers.’
Terror Tales # 2
Published by Rainfall Books, May 2004. Trade Paperback, £12/$16.99. ISBN: 0-9546178-4-3
Featuring: Editorial Introductions ‘The Taste of Pure Evil’ by John B. Ford and ‘Horror R.I.P?’ by Paul Kane; ‘Bleed for Me’ by Marie O’Regan; ‘Victoria’s Secret’ by Michael Marshall Smith; ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ by Sarah Crabtree; ‘The Other One’ by Paul Finch; ‘Blueskin’ by Lisa Negus; ‘Comparative Anatomy’ by Stephen Gallagher; ‘Know Thyself’ by Tim Meads; Kane’s Korner, ‘Zombies’; ‘Sent Down’ by Gemma Files; ‘The Spirit of Rock and Roll’ by David Price; ‘The Tripod’ by Jeffrey Thomas; ‘Sermon’ by F. Paul Wilson and John B. Ford; ‘Time to Scare Gramma’ by Peggy J. Shumate; ‘Book Reviews: Nobody True and About James Herbert’ by Paul Kane, ‘Conscience’ by Martin Roberts; ‘Exclusive extract from ‘Conscience’ by John Skipp; ‘Small Press Focus: Earthling Publications - Interview with Paul Miller and Reviews of Godhead Dying Downwards, Brotherhood of Mutilation, Exorcising Angels and Babylon Falling’ by Paul Kane; ‘Film Reviews: May’ by Tim Meads, ‘Alien: Director’s Cut and Scary Movie 3’ by Christopher Teague.
Terror Tales # 3
Published by Rainfall Books, February 2006. Co-edited by John B. Ford. £12. ISBN: 0-9549923-5-0
Featuring: Editorial Introductions by John B. Ford & Paul Kane; ‘The Causeway’ by Stephen Laws; ‘I’m Always Here’ by Richard Christian Matheson; ‘Blast from the Past’ by Simon Clark; ‘A Short Guide to the City’ by Peter Straub; ‘Whispers’ by Marie O’Regan; ‘The Tripod Pt 2’ by Jeffrey Thomas; ‘Kane’s Korner: Moonstruck’ by Paul Kane; ‘Where it Roots, How it Fruits’ by Chaz Brenchley; ‘Feels Like Stephen King’ by Steve Deighan; ‘0.5 MG’ by Conrad Williams; ‘The Happy Misanthropist’ by John Travis; ‘What Elroy Did On His School Holidays’ by Jonathan Oliver; ‘The Summer House’ by Vicki Yates; ‘A Slave of Melancholy’ by Mark Samuels; ‘Bus Driver’ by Kevin Anderson; ‘Dead to the World’ by Allen Ashley; ‘Book Reviews: The Water Room by Christopher Fowler, In This Skin by Simon Clark, Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney and I Am Legend by Richard Matheson.
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Top International Horror
Published by Rainfall Books, February 2004. Trade Paperback, £8/$12. ISBN: 0-9546178-3-5
Featuring: ‘White Knuckle Ride’ Introduction by John B. Ford and Paul Kane; ‘Third Shift’ by Kevin Anderson; ‘Grandfather’s Faces’ by Michael T. Huyck Jr.; ‘Nightmind’ by Darren Franz; ‘The Invite’ by Mary Romano; ‘The Creeper’ by Alexis Child; ‘The Withering’ by Bruce Golden; ‘Three Silver Bullets’ by John Ludlow; ‘The Screaming At Hexenkoph’ by Sherid Adams Signs; ‘Rideby’ by Thomas Stone; ‘The Boy in the Corner’ by Phil Locascio; ‘Clutter’ by Karole M. Svitak; ‘Craven’ by Destiny West; ‘The Perfect Varnish’ by Thomas Wagner; ‘Thrust’ by Melissa Patterson; ‘Remembrance’ by Christopher Fulbright; ‘The Hidden Room’ by Eddie M. Angerhuber.
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BFS Calendar 2005
British Fantasy Society Publications, co-edited by Marie O’Regan. £7.99
Featuring: Cover artwork by Les Edwards; Introduction by Clive Barker; ‘January’ by James Barclay and Alfred Klosterman; ‘February’ by Kim Newman and Chris Leaper; ‘March’ by Graham Joyce and Lara Bandilla; ‘April’ by Steve Lockley and Michelle Blessemaille; ‘May’ by Neil Gaiman and Russell Dickerson; ‘June’ by Cherith Baldry and David Bezzina; ‘July’ by Chaz Brenchley and Steve Lines; ‘August’ by Katherine Roberts and Tina Roberts; ‘September’ by China Mieville and Bob Covington; ‘October’ by Juliet E. McKenna and Kathy Hardy; ‘November’ by Jon Courtenay Grimwood and Ian Simmons; ‘December’ by Mark Chadbourn and Sarah Zama.
British Fantasy Society Publications, co-edited by Marie O’Regan.
Featuring: ‘A Year in the Chair’ by Nicki Robson; ‘Suspension of Disbelief’ by Jeff Gardiner; ‘I, Robot’ by Paul Kane; ‘Robert Holdstock - A Lifetime of Creativity’ by Sandy Auden; ‘An Interview with Neal Asher’ by Paul Kane; ‘Muriel Gray’ by Marie O’Regan; ‘Lord Dunsany’ by Jeff Gardiner.
Dark Horizons #47
Edited by Marie O’Regan. Published by the BFS, Spring 2005.
Featuring: ‘The Stone Circle’ by Barry Woods; ‘The Black Lake’ by Tony Richards; ‘Abattoir Girl’ by Allen Ashley and Andrew Hook; ‘Manny and the Monkeys’ by Simon Woodward; ‘The White Witch’ by JPV Stewart; ‘Harrowfield’ by Neil Williamson.
BFS Horror Calendar 2006
British Fantasy Society Publications, co-edited by Marie O’Regan. £8.99
Featuring: Cover Artwork by Paul ( Lord of the Rings) Campion. January ‘Evil Clowns’ by John Connolly and James Ryman; February ‘Old Dark House’ by Stephen Laws and Lew Lehrman; March ‘Demons’ by Muriel Gray and David Magitis; April ‘Vampires’ by Christopher Fowler and Mike Bohatch; May ‘Zombies’ by Simon Clark and Bob Covington; June ‘Magic’ by Clive Barker and Paul Campion; July ‘Medical Horror’ by Stephen Gallagher and Russell Dickerson; August ‘Death’ by Neil Gaiman and Ian Simmons; September ‘Haunted Woods’ by Ramsey Campbell and Michelle Blessmaille; October ‘The Corpse’ by Poppy Z. Brite and Michael Ian Bateson; November ‘Supernatural Painting’ by Graham Masterton and Lara Bandilla; Demember ‘Werewolves’ by Kelley Armstrong and Lizzy Shumate.
Albions Alpträume: Zombies
Published by Eloy Edictions, January 2006. Co-edited byWalter Diociaiuti. 13 Euros. ISBN: 3-938411-04-X
Featuring: ‘Zombies’ An Introduction by Simon Clark; ‘The Beach’ by Tim Lebbon; ‘Night After Night of the Living Dead’ by Christopher Fowler; ‘Face at the Window’ by Stuart Young; ‘Starky’s Town’ by Simon Bestwick; ‘Risen Wife’ by Mark West; ‘A Force of Evil’ by John B. Ford; ‘The Burning Doorway’ by Simon Clark; ‘Beautiful Stranger’ by Tony Richards; ‘Life Sentence’ by Paul Kane; ‘Raw Materials’ by Derek M. Fox; ‘Somebody in the Garden’ by Paul Finch; ‘Salvation’ by Maynard and Sims.
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Dark Horizons #48
Edited by Marie O’Regan and Jenny Barber. Published by the BFS, Spring 2006.
Featuring: ‘The Ones We Leave Behind’ by Mark Chadbourn ; ‘Caw’ by Alessio Zanelli; ‘Masquerade’ by Debbie Bennett; ‘Salastor’ by John Howard; ‘Flowers in the Cellar’ by Lavie Tidhar; ‘Baby’ by Simon Messingham.
The British Fantasy Society: A Celebration
British Fantasy Society Publications, co-edited with Marie O’Regan, September 2006, £11.99
ISBN: 0953 868 16 8
Featuring: Introduction by Stephen Jones; ‘The Luxury of Harm’ by Christopher Fowler; ‘Lost Souls’ by Clive Barker; ‘Whisper Lane’ by Mark Chadbourn; ‘The Man Who Drew Cats’ by Michael Marshall Smith; ‘The Cycle’ by John Connolly; ‘Days of the Wheel’ by Peter Crowther; ‘Now You See Him, Now You Don’t’ by Juliet E. McKenna; ‘Progeny’ by Mark Morris; ‘The Sustenaince of Hoak’ by Ramsey Campbell; ‘Every Day A Little Death’ by Chaz Brenchley; ‘This is Illyria, Lady’ by Kim Newman; ‘Ashputtle’ by Peter Straub; ‘Webs’ by Neil Gaiman; ‘The Raffle’ by Simon Clark; ‘Scarrowfell’ by Robert Holdstock; ‘Building Sixteen’ by Brian Aldiss; ‘Dust’ by Richard Christian Matheson; ‘Sundance’ by Robert Silverberg; ‘My Repeater’ by Stephen Gallagher; ‘Partial Eclipse’ by Graham Joyce; Afterword by Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan; plus personal recollections and stories about the BFS and FantasyCon by the contributors.
‘If Interzone imposed the reviewing methodology used by governments to assess the efficacy of public services – evaluating the whole in terms of the average of scores given to each of its components – Kane and O’Regan’s celebration of the British Fantasy Society would top the league table of fantasy anthologies. There is certainly much to commend it. There isn’t a single duff story: none of them merits less than a B and several are worthy of an A+.’
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FantasyCon Souvenir Programme 2008
British Fantasy Society Publications, co-edited with Marie O’Regan, designed by Lee Thompson. Cover artwork by Dave McKean.
Featuring: ‘Welcome’ by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane; ‘FantasyCon Anecdotes Part One’ by Peter Crowther, Sarah Pinborough, Steve Volk and Michael Marshall Smith; ‘To the Death’ by Christopher Fowler; ‘Dave McKean’ by Neil Gaiman; ‘Dave McKean Biography and Bibliography’ by Dave McKean and Paul Kane; ‘Dave McKean: A Gallery of Works’ by Dave McKean’; ‘Karl Edward Wagner Special Award: Ray Harryhausen’ by Stephen Jones; ‘The Long Fingers of Dr Who’ by Simon Gurrier; ‘Ghosts of India Extract’ by Mark Morris; ‘Not So Obvious: An Appreciation of Christopher Golden’ by Tim Lebbon; ‘Christopher Golden Bibliography’ by Christopher Golden and Paul Kane; ‘Baltimore Extract’ by Christopher Golden; ‘Fallen Extract’ by Tim Lebbon; ‘Christopher Fowler’ by Roger Gray; ‘Christopher Fowler Bibliography’ by Paul Kane; ‘The Victoria Vanishes Extract’ by Christopher Fowler; ‘James Barclay’ by Mark Yon; ‘James Barclay Bibliography’ by Paul Kane; ‘FantasyCon Anecdotes Part Two’ by Paul Cornell, Christopher Fowler and Simon Clark; ‘Ravensoul Extract’ by James Barclay.
Pocket Books(Simon & Schuster), co-edited with Marie O’Regan. Cover artwork by Clive Barker (‘Vestimenti’ Cenobite). September 2009, $16.00/£10.76
ISBN-10: 1439140901 ISBN-13:978-1439140901
Featuring: ‘Foreword’ by Clive Barker; ‘Introduction: Raising Hell, Again’ by Stephen Jones; ‘ Prisoners of the Inferno’ by Peter Atkins; ‘ The Cold’ by Conrad Williams; ‘ The Confessor’s Tale’ by Sarah Pinborough; ‘ Hellbound Hollywood’ by Mick Garris; ‘ Mechanisms’ by Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola (illustrated by Mike Mignola); ‘ Every Wrong Turn’ by Tim Lebbon; ‘ The Collector’ by Kelley Armstrong; ‘ Bulimia’ by Richard Christian Matheson; ‘ Orfeo the Damned’ by Nancy Holder; ‘ Our Lord of Quarters’ by Simon Clark; ‘ Wordsworth’ graphic insert by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean; ‘ A Little Piece of Hell’ by Steve Niles; ‘ The Dark Materials Project’ by Sarah Langan; ‘ Demon’s Design’ by Nicholas Vince; ‘ Only The Blind Survive’ by Yvonne Navarro; ‘ Mother’s Ruin’ by Mark Morris; ‘ Sister Cilice’ by Barbie Wilde; ‘ Santos del Infierno’ by Jeffrey J. Mariotte; ‘ The Promise’ by Nancy Kilpatrick; ‘ However…’ by Gary A. Braunbeck and Lucy A. Snyder; ‘ Tis Pity He’s Ashore’ by Chaz Brenchley; ‘Afterword’ by Doug Bradley; ‘Special Bonus Material: Wordsworth Graphic Short Story Original Script’ by Neil Gaiman.
‘With an introduction from Clive Barker himself, this anthology of short stories inspired by Pinhead and his merry band of Cenobites has obviously won respect where it matters most. Even more impressive, however, are the number of heavy-hitters involved in this project, each of whom gives their own well-informed spin on all things Hellraiser. From The Stand director Mick Garris (whose “Hellbound Hollywood” brings fear to a film set, and even references Candyman) to 30 Days Of Night’s Steve Niles (who documents some graphic fleshfilleting in “A Little Piece Of Hell”), this is far from a quickly bashed-out horror hack-job. Another highlight is Barbie Wilde’s “Sister Cilice”, which offers a uniquely female spin on the mythology. Other members of the fair sex (including Buffy novelist Yvonne Navarro and Otherworld author Kelly Armstrong) also take a bash but Wilde, who played the Female Cenobite in the movies, tells the most insightful tale. Then there’s “The Cold” by Conrad Williams, best known in cult circles. Williams manages the impressive task of bringing Barker’s supernatural sadomasochism into a more grounded, “real world” scenario and it proves to be one of the most compelling and well-realised shorts on offer here... For any Barker buff Hellbound Hearts should provide more pleasure than pain.’
(Four Star Review in SFX magazine)
‘Kudos MUST go to Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan who have pulled out of the bag a magnificent clutch of tales and have managed to coax from the authors many rich, dark and some truly frightening stories that have added a new and complex light to an already vastly complex universe. It’s a great read and I hope that Pocket Books, the publishers, commission a second volume soon. 9.5/10.’
(Johnny Mains, All Things Horror)
‘ It is truly amazing how Clive Barker’s work could go on to inspire so many different terrifying tales. Each and every one is worth reading and it was painful to try and pick out just a few to talk about when all of the stories are so stellar. Each of the authors captures the aesthetic and themes of the Hellraiser mythos, all the while tweaking it just enough to make it their own. What truly makes this anthology so exciting is how many different directions authors can go with Barker’s legacy. From Native American lore to the future of science behind “Shadow DNA”, there is really no limit to how writers can reinterpret and retell the Hellraiser mythos... Horror fans that relish shocking literature as well as Clive Barker and Hellraiser fans are sure to enjoy Hellbound Hearts. Don’t torture yourself, get your copy today!’
‘The stories collected in Hellbound Hearts remain true to the nightmarish mythology that inspired them. They are subtle and suggestive, violently unrestrained, and penned by writers perfectly suited to the task. Kane and O’Regan have done a wonderful job. Hellbound Hearts will delight and disturb the fans of Hellraiser, and those who first discovered The Hellbound Heart in George R. R. Martin’s Night Visions 3. Hellbound Hearts is highly recommended.’
(Jason Rolfe, HorrorBound)
‘Hellbound Hearts is collection of Hellraiser influenced stories that’s dear to my heart. Being a fan of Barker and all things Hellraiser, I must say it’s great to see that the legacy or mythos is being carried forth... I come out of this book feeling as if the writers dug deep to pull out these stories of damnation and suffering. There is a black abyss that lies deep in the hearts and minds. Hellbound Hearts is a doorway into that notion. Hellbound Hearts will sit proudly next to all things Cenobitovian and Barker, whether directly inspired or indirectly awakened it stands on its own as a collection to have.’
‘I love collections, I love Clive Barker and I love Hellraiser! I love this collection! This book of stories inspired by Clive Barker’s Hellraiser mythos has some great stories from the likes of Tim Lebbon, Christopher Golden, Conrad Williams, Simon Clark and many more. The number of British authors providing stories is amazing, and just goes to show the power of the horror genre in the UK. My personal favourite is Simon Clark’s story, but I have to say that I really enjoyed the mini comic provided by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, just a shame it’s printed in grainy black and white. The original script is also included, providing a great insight into comic writing. An original collection which goes to show the depth of Barker’s Hellraiser universe.’
(Adrian Brady, Morpheus Tales)
Terror Tales # 4
Published by Rainfall Books, December 2009. Co-edited by John B. Ford. ISBN: 978-0-9563991-0-6
Featuring: Editorial Introductions by John B. Ford & Paul Kane; ‘12 Bolinbroke Avenue’ by Peter James; ‘A Reel Devil’ by Roger Gray; ‘Harlequin Valentine’ by Neil Gaiman; ‘Charlie’ by Eric Steele; ‘The Man Who Collected Barker’ by Kim Newman; ‘The Hand of Glory’ by Simon Clark; ‘Kane’s Korner: Buffed Up’ by Paul Kane; ‘Haven’ by S.D. Hintz; ‘Falling Into the Arms of Death He Found A Beautiful Place’ by Jeff VanderMeer; ‘Ritual’ by Ann Wood; ‘Drifting Apart’ by Peter Crowther; ‘Circus A Go-Go’ by Carl Carter; ‘Discards’ by Tony Richards; ‘Voices Through the Walls’ by Lee Clark Zumpe; ‘Shirts’ by Allen Ashley; ‘Blizzard in Blue’ by John Saxton; ‘A Quiet Weekend Away’ by Mark West; Book Reviews: Stone Cold Calling by Simon Clark, Moontown by Peter Atkins, The Adventures of Mr. Maximillian Bacchus and His Traveling Circus by Clive Barker; Film Reviews: Splinter, 100 Feet and Midnight Meat Train.
Alt.Fiction 2010 convention booklet, co-edited with Marie O’Regan, designed and typeset by Marie O’Regan.
FantasyCon 2011 Souvenir Programme, co-edited with Marie O’Regan. Cover design by Paul Kane, internal design and typesetting by Marie O’Regan.
FantasyCon 2011 Pocket Programme, co-edited with Marie O’Regan. Cover design by Paul Kane, artwork by Les Edwards.
The Mammoth Book of Body Horror
Constable & Robinson, co-edited with Marie O’Regan. March 2012, £7.99
ISBN-10: 1780330391. ISBN-13: 978-1780330396
Featuring: ‘Introduction’ by Stuart Gordon (Director of Re-Animator and From Beyond); ‘Transformation’ by Mary Shelley; ‘The Telltale Heart’ by Edgar Allan Poe; ‘Herbert West: Re-Animator’ by H.P. Lovecraft; ‘Who Goes There?’ John W. Campbell; ‘The Fly’ by George Langelaan; ‘Tis the Season to be Jelly’ by Richard Matheson; ‘Survivor Type’ by Stephen King; ‘The Body Politic’ by Clive Barker; ‘The Chaney Legacy’ by Robert Bloch; ‘The Other Side’ by Ramsey Campbell; ‘Fruiting Bodies’ by Brian Lumley; ‘Freaktent’ by Nancy A. Collins; ‘Region of the Flesh’ by Richard Christian Matheson; ‘Walking Wounded’ by Michael Marshall Smith; ‘Changes’ by Neil Gaiman; ‘Others’ by James Herbert; ‘The Look’ by Christopher Fowler; ‘Residue’ by Alice Henderson; ‘Dog Days’ by Graham Masterton; ‘Black Box’ by Gemma Files; ‘The Soaring Dead’ by Simon Clark; ‘Polyp’ by Barbie Wilde; ‘Almost Forever’ by David Moody; ‘Butterfly’ by Axelle Carolyn; ‘Sticky Eye’ by Conrad Williams.
‘Here we have an anthology that squeezes the best out of body horror the way that puss can be squeezed from a necrotic wound, and all for our perverse enjoyment of this disturbing and oh so dark craft. Each story has been exquisitely crafted by the undisputed masters of the genre. And, to be frank, it’s impossible not to like. From the poetic prose of Mary Shelley, the drug induced hysteria of Poe, the wild, paranoid ramblings of Lovecraft, to the brutal honesty of David Moody. This book will drag up feelings of dread, shock and revulsion upon its reader. Even to hardened horror fans such as ourselves, the Mammoth Book of Body Horror still manages a nasty surprise or two.
So who’s in it? Short answer: everyone. It opens with Mary Shelley’s“Transformation”, a tale of body swapping with a twisted dwarf-like creature destined to go wrong. Starting off with the likes of Shelley – better known as the creator of Frankenstein, as if you needed telling – reminds us where the concept of body horror has its roots. Although earlier myths and legends of bodily dismemberment abound, Shelley is one of the first to get it down in short story form. From here we’re introduced to Edger Allen Poe’s“The Tell-Tale Heart” and from there we jump to Lovecraft’s“Re-animator”. The next stopping point is “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell and its worth pointing out that this is the tale that inspired three films, most notably John Carpenter’s The Thing and finding it here is like running into an old friend from out of town. A real treat.
There are far too many stories to go into in much depth for the purpose of this review. Highlights include, Stephen King’s “Survivor Type”: how much a man is prepared to sacrifice when washed up on a desert island. “The Body Politic” by Clive Barker: guaranteed to ensure you will never look at your hands the same way again. Ramsey Campbell’s “The Other Side” dips into a surrealist horror that has the trademarks of an acid trip gone horribly wrong – or, cough, so we’re told. Brian Lumley’s “Fruiting Bodies” will stay with you long after the lights have gone out. Neil Gaiman injects a dark sense of humour with his short story “Changes”. And so the stories go, each exploring the fear of what can go wrong with our bodies: the unseen menace of a brain tumour, the creeping doom of cancer, the fear of being different, and the secret pleasure of standing out from a crowd.
(Starburst, 10/10 review)
‘Oozing sores, wandering hands, sticky eyes and legs that fall off are just some of the gory corporeal glories you can expect from Mammoth’s latest collection. This 25-story compendium gathers tales of “transformation, mutation and contagion” from genre royalty including Clive Barker, HP Lovecraft, Stephen King, Mary Shelley and Edgar Allen Poe, along with writers who though less familiar are often just as compelling. The stories offer icky pleasure for those fascinated with a subgenre concerned with the body turning against itself. Some are funny and disgusting (Richard Matheson’s nuclear fallout nightmare ‘”Tis The Season To Be Jelly!”, Barbie Wilde’s bowel-with-a-brain-of-its-own yuk-fest “Polyp”); some smartly satirical (Neil Gaiman’s excellent cure-for-cancer vision “Changes”, Christopher Fowler’s fashion industry cautionary tale “The Look”); some depressing and disturbing (Nancy A Collins’ horrific, lingering “Freaktent” and Stephen King’s stand-out gross-out “The Survivor Type”).
For horror movie buffs it’s a must-have, pulling together the original stories which inspired The Fly, The Thing and Re-Animator. “The Fly”, a far closer blueprint for Kurt Neumann’s 1958 version than it was for Cronenberg’s version, is poignant rather than repellent, while John W Campbell’s ice station paranoia piece “Who Goes There?” (the longest piece in the collection), is a masterpiece of tension building. Only Lovecraft’s “Herbert West – Re-Animator” – a morbidly humorous necromancy myth – jars in its originally serialised format, with each short chapter beginning with a full recap of the previous ones – though Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon sheds further light on this in a warm and fascinating intro.’
(Four Star Review in SFX Magazine)
One of the things that many long-time readers wonder about as they grow older is whether the stories that thrilled them as youths will remain available to be discovered by today’s young horror readership. Volumes go out of print, stories are forgotten or neglected, and an entire generation can miss out on, say, W W Jacob’s “The Monkey’s Paw”. It is therefore with some delight that Kane and O’Regan have reprinted some classics here that have been away from our shelves for too long. After stories by Mary Shelley, Poe and of course H P Lovecraft’s “ReAnimator”, all of which can be found in collections in any high street bookshop, The Mammoth Book of Body Horror begins to show its real worth with reprints of John W Campbell’s “Who Goes There?” and George Langelaan’s “The Fly”... A tiny funny by Richard Matheson “Tis the Season to be Jelly” is next, followed by Stephen King’s “Survivor Type”, the tale of a surgeon stranded on a desert island and having to resort to increasing acts of self-mutilation in order to stay alive. Stories by Robert Bloch, Ramsey Campbell and Brian Lumley follow. Lumley’s “Fruiting Bodies” is a deservedly award-winning tale of rot and decay in a crumbling seaside village, while Bloch’s story concerns a man who finds he has bought the secret residence of silent actor Lon Chaney (which comes complete with makeup case and haunted mirror) and Campbell’s is the tale of an unhappy teacher who keeps seeing the figure of a dancing clown on the other side of the river to his flat. Needless to say, when he decides to investigate further the consequences are (bodily!) horrific, and it could have led to the inspiration for a famous J K Potter illustration, but you’ll have to read the end of the story for yourselves to find out which one.
The book concludes with a number of stories that have been specifically written for the volume. These are by a mixture of authors both familiar and unfamiliar. Of the eight stories it came as no surprise that one of the stories was by old hand Graham Masterton, “Dog Days”, who delivers a deliciously outrageous tale of one man and his dog (not to mention the girlfriend). However, no more will be said about it so as not to spoil the surprise. David Moody was another surprise with his very well written and entertaining EC comics-style story “Almost Forever”. The following tale, Alice Henderson’s “Residue”, starts off a bit unsurely, but as it goes on it evolves into a whole bundle of alien-style fun and it comes highly recommend. Overall, then, Kane and O’Regan’s Mammoth Book of Body Horror is a very fine read indeed. There were only a couple of stories that didn’t work, and the only real criticism is that the book ends on a rather grim downer of a story that really isn’t in keeping with the tone of the rest of the book at all. Otherwise, it’s a book that works beautifully as an introduction to the genre for those who aren’t that familiar with it, offering a fine selection from many of the very best writers the genre has ever had, as well as a decent mix of new tales... if one were to recommend a good horror anthology to a friend who wanted to see what good horror stories were like, this would instantly come to mind. It does our beloved genre proud and there’s no greater praise than that.’
(This Is Horror)
‘A gripping collection which offers for the first time a chronological overview of the popular contemporary sub-genre of body horror, from Edgar Allan Poe to Christopher Fowler, with contributions from leading horror writers, including Stephen King, George Langelaan and Neil Gaiman. The collection includes the stories behind seminal body horror movies, John Carpenter's The Thing, David Cronenberg's The Fly and Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator. When you consider just how many of these Mammoth Books are published each year, it really is amazing that the quality of the stories presented in this edition are of such a high standard. It is a testament to both the writers and the editors... The table of contents reads like a dream team of authors. How the editors decided on which six authors names were featured on the front cover I don't know... I normally have two ways in which I attack an anthology, the first is to go to my favourite author, and the second is to start at the beginning, I usually do this when there are no authors that I am familiar with. TMBODH threw a spanner into the working of this process, I just didn't know where to start...
Barbie Wilde's story “Polyp”... is a wonderfully disgusting story, that manages to both shock the reader and make them giggle. Barbie has created a brilliant twist on the creature feature genre. I really enjoyed how the tale went from being a very personal story into an apocalyptic cliff hanger. After reading this story which in all reality was chosen at random, I knew this book was going to be great read. I'm going to skim over most of the first half of the book, the stories here are all classic of the genre...One thing I will say, is having these stories altogether in one volume is brilliant Of the other stories my personal highlights were Christopher Fowler's “The Look”, this really was a chilling, and uncomfortable read into the darker side of fashion, and just how far a fashion designer will go to get the look. Simon Clark's, “The Soaring Dead” reaffirmed my love for his writing, the twist ending of this story about greed, property, and an ancient mysterious plague was brilliant piece of story telling. Honourable mentions must go to David Moody's “Almost Forever”, and “Black Box”, by Gemma File.... The Mammoth Book of Body Horror is a must buy for any horror fan. You would be hard pushed to find a more comprehensive, and satisfying anthology of horror stories this year.’
(Ginger Nuts of Horror)
‘It's surprising that a history of body horror in literature hasn't been done before now – so thanks to Marie O' Regan and Paul Kane for this treasure trove of stories, ranging from some classics in the genre, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “Survivor Type” and “The Body Politic” to some stories that will almost certainly become classics of their time – the absurdist, very entertaining shocker “Polyp” to the brilliantly executed “Sticky Eye” - one of my favourite new stories in this anthology... A corker of an anthology - always a pleasure to read “Survivor Type” again and an honour to finally read “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell – the basis for The Thing and, if I'm not mistaken, this is one of the very first appearances of this short story in an anthology. 9.5/10.’
(Johnny Mains, Occasionally Horrific)
‘Body horror is the sub-genre of the horror entertainment world that deals with the more gooey and sticky side of things. You know what I mean? Stuff such as John Carpenter’s The Thing, most of David Cronenberg’s output and that classic from Brian Yuzna, Society, are fine examples. Films in which something is happening (usually in full coloured, brightly lit rooms) to you or your friend’s body. Films that take pride in showing every gory, juicy, bloody and gruesome detail of brutal and often very painful metamorphoses. This delicious compendium of 25 of the very best Body Horror stories covers the entire history of the sub-genre in written form by re-introducing us to such respected stories as John W. Campbell’s “Who Goes There?” (which has been filmed as The Thing From Another World (1951), inspired The Thing in 1982 and the prequel effort from last year) as well as truly classic pieces such as Mary Shelley’s “Transformation”.
I’ve not read a lot of Clive Barker’s work but his entry “The Body Politic” has inspired me to right this wrong. His story concerns a man whose hands have a life of their own and though it reminded me of some classic B-movie fodder it’s his charismatic style that gives it a polished, witty and dark edge. “Region Of The Flesh” by Richard Christian Matheson is a very short but inventive descent into madness and melancholy. “Tis The Season To Be Jelly”, from his dad Richard Matheson, is just bizarre with some precious moments of dark comedy. Would love to see this one as a 5-minute short.
More comedy arrives in the-form of Graham Masterson’s “Dog Days”, which is a bit predictable but huge fun and again one that reminded me of those fabulous monochrome B-movies from the 1950s. Stephen King’s “Survivor Type” is a more straightforward piece of horror and is as detailed as any work that this prolific author has written. Packed with character background, King tells the story from the point of view of Richard Pine who is alone on an island. His descent into madness plus the terror of self mutilation and drug consumption is told with a wicked sense of macabre humour. Stand out is George Langelaan’s “The Fly”. I’m a fan of the cinematic interpretations of this story, but had never read the original piece. This is subtle horror with a neat body horror injection that is subtle yet effective beautifully written and worthy of several readings. The introduction by Stuart Gordon, the man who gave the world Re-Animator (the story that inspired it, “Herbert West – Re-animator” by H.P. Lovecraft is also in this book) tells of his first introduction to the world of Lovecraft, his thoughts on The Thing and the chat he once had with Wes Craven in a toilet. By putting these stories together in one handy volume, Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan have given we horror fans a very welcome present, a collection of memorable and disturbing tales that, thanks to their boldness, will give us many sleepless nights. More please!’
(The Dark Side Magazine)
‘With a name like Mammoth Book of Body Horror, you can reasonably expect a high proportion of gruesome to be contained within – and yes, there is. But where this anthology really excels is the variety of horror tales presented – from classics by Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft to more modern fare from the likes of David Moody, Michael Marshall Smith and Nancy A. Collins... “The Body Politic” by Clive Barker delivers a concept that is both creepy and just a bit clever. It tells the tale of what happens when hands develop independent thinking and stage a revolution against their body oppressors. The thought of all those hands scuttling around is likely to stick with you long after you’ve finished reading and Barker’s delivery manages to make you side with the hands against the unpleasant protagonist.
(Jenny Barber, Shiny Shorts)
‘“25 stories of Transformation, Mutation and Contagion” runs the tagline for this collection, and it does exactly what it says on the uh… tin. Comprising of a selection of classic tales by established authors (Lovecraft’s ‘Herbert West – Reanimator’, George Langelaan’s ‘The Fly’ & Stephen King’s ‘Survivor Type’) and newer scribes (Neil Gaiman’s ‘Changes’, Barbie Wilde’s ‘Polyp’ & Christopher Fowler’s ‘The Look’), editors Kane and O’Regan have done an excellent job of selecting a variety of intelligent and well written stories which cut to the quick of our deepest fear; that our own bodies can revolt against us, by disease or design.
The anthology covers a variety of styles from the eloquence of Poe’s ‘The Telltale Heart’ to Wilde’s grotesque ‘Polyp’, which borders on black humour, with its notion of a cancerous polyp which gains sentient intelligence and escapes from its host’s body. Other authors pursue a less gory and more indirect approach to mental and physical corruption, such as the aforementioned Fowler’s acerbic take on the world of Fashionista body modification, Axelle Carolyn’s rather beautiful tale of burn induced metamorphosis, ‘Butterfly’, and both Conrad William’s ‘Sticky Eye’ and Nancy A. Collin’s ‘Freaktent’ which for spoiler reasons I won’t say any more on, other than I found these two tales the most disturbing of all.
(Mass Movement Magazine)
FantasyCon 2012 Souvenir Book
Co-edited with Marie O’Regan. PS Publishing, Hardback, September 2012. Cover art by Edward Miller.
Featuring: ‘Joe R. Lansdale’ by Stephen Gallagher; ‘The Folding Man’ by Joe R. Lansdale; ‘Muriel Gray’ by Christopher Fowler; ‘Shite-Hawks’ by Muriel Gray; ‘Dancing with Euripides: Brent Weeks’ by Alasdair Stuart; ‘The Black Prism’ by Brent Weeks; ‘Mary Danby - Frightener’ by Mike Ashley; ‘The Engelmayer Puppets’ by Mary Danby; ‘Special Stuff: The Perfect Career of Mark Gatiss’ by Mark Morris; ‘The Vesuvius Club’ by Mark Gatiss; ‘Robin Hardy: A Fantasist in a Wicker Wonderland’ by John L. Probert; ‘The Wicker Tree: The Devil Makes a Call’ by Robin Hardy; ‘Your Master of Ceremonies… Tim Lebbon’ by Christopher Golden; ‘The Deification of Dal Bamore: An Echo City Story’ by Tim Lebbon.
FantasyCon 2012 Pocket Programme
Co-edited with Marie O’Regan. Paperback, September 2012. Cover art from The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Constable & Robinson/Running Press).
Featuring: ‘Welcome to FantasyCon’ by Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan; ‘Welcome Back, Jim! (James Herbert)’ by Stephen Jones; Thursday-Sunday Grids/TimeTables; FantasyCon 2012 Panellists; Film Programme; Masterclasses; Royal Albion Maps; Entertainment; Book Launches/Signings/Parties; British Fantasy Awards 2012 Nominees; Readings.
A Carnivàle of Horror: Dark Tales from the Fairground
PS Publishing, co-edited with Marie O’Regan. Hardback, September 2012, £19.99. Cover art by Ben Baldwin.
Featuring: ‘Introduction’ by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane; ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ by Ray Bradbury; ‘A Flat Patch of Grass’ by Muriel Gray; ‘Some Children Wander By Mistake’ by John Connolly; ‘Spurs AKA Freaks’ by Tod Robbins; ‘Tiger, Tiger’ by Rio Youers; ‘Blind Voices’ by Tom Reamy; ‘Mister Magister’ by Thomas F. Monteleone; ‘Twittering from the Circus of the Dead’ by Joe Hill; ‘The Pilo Family Circus’ by Will Elliott; ‘Face of the Circus’ by Lou Morgan; ‘Escardy Gap’ by Peter Crowther and James Lovegrove; ‘The Circus of Dr Lao’ by Charles Finney; ‘In the Forest of the Night’ by Paul Finch; ‘All the Clowns in Clowntown’ by Andrew J. McKiernan; ‘Nine Letters About Spit’ by Robert Shearman; ‘To Run Away and Join the Circus’ by Alison Littlewood.
Buy this title from PS Publishing here
Beyond Rue Morgue
First published by Titan in the UK, July 2013. Co-edited with Charles Prepolec. Mass Market Paperback, £7.99 / $17.99
Featuring: ‘Introduction’ by Paul Kane and Charles Prepolec; ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ by Edgar Allan Poe; ‘The Sons of Tammany’ by Mike Carey; ‘The Unfathomed Darkness’ by Simon Clark; ‘The Weight of a Dead Man’ by Weston Ochse & Yvonne Navarro; ‘The Vanishing Assassin’ by Jonathan Maberry; ‘The Gruesome Affair of the Electric Blue Lightning’ by Joe R. Lansdale; ‘From Darkness, Emerged, Returned’ by Elizabeth Massie; ‘After the End’ by Lisa Tuttle; ‘The Purloined Face’ by Stephen Volk; ‘New Murders in the Rue Morgue’ by Clive Barker.
‘Where would we be without the works of Edgar Allan Poe? He basically created a genre, and his works have gone on to influence and inspire millions and even still to this day, his work is as relevant as it was when it first hit. So, when I got the opportunity to check out Titan Books’ Beyond Rue Morgue: Further Tales of Edgar Allan Poe’s 1st Detective, I pretty much jumped at the chance. So, as I’m sure many of you are aware, Poe originally released his short tale “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” in Graham’s Magazine in 1841, and the tale is included in the anthology… The tale itself pretty much created the term detective, and without this, we would not have such icons as Sherlock Holmes or even the adventures of one Hercule Poirot. So, the anthology itself continues the legacy of C. Auguste Dupin, as further tales are brought forward by some of the best authors of today, including, Clive Barker, Mike Carey, Simon Clark, Joe R. Lansdale, Jonathan Maberry, Elizabeth Massie, Weston Ochse & Yvonne Navarro, Lisa Tuttle and Stephen Volk. The stories in the anthology vary as the adventures Dupin continue, as he faces some new enemies, some human and some are more supernatural, but either way, the stories included are intriguing, and if you love the character or are simply new to Dupin, I think you will love this and find them totally engrossing.
It’s not only a great book filled with great stories, it’s an awesome tribute to Edgar Allan Poe, the man who basically created the first literary detective for the world to see, and Paul Kane and Charles Prepolec, who put the book together have done a fantastic job at incorporating the stories from such great authors… It’s a fascinating read with some great short stories which just flow so well. I will tell you now, you will have a hard time putting this sucker down once you’ve picked it up.’
(Horror-Movies.ca 5/5 star review)
‘The stories continue the adventures of “ratiocination” of Dupin. We also follow his grandson, who becomes a Pinkerton detective and even his great-granddaughter. Yes, there’s a Sherlock Holmes connection too. This may upset some readers but Beyond Rue Morgue brings in the supernatural. In fact, we go a bit Cthulhu. I don’t mind at all. I feel it’s in keeping with the spirit of the character and of Poe. Besides, I enjoyed the story. Beyond Rue Morgue: Further Tales of Edgar Allan Poe’s 1st Detective was put together by the editors Paul Kane and Charles Prepolec. Kane is a sci-fi, fantasy and horror author who co-edited the horror anthology Hellbound Hearts. Prepolec is a freelance writer (and reviewer!) who’s worked on the Sherlock Holmes anthologies Gaslight Grimoire and Gaslight Arcanum. If you combine all those genres then it’s little surprise you come up with an anthology like Beyond Rue Morgue. Beyond Rue Morgue manages to be tightly focused on Dupin and his line and yet broad in scope. I’ve got to recommend this book.’
‘Great stories from this anthology – and there are quite a few – include “The Sons of Tammany” by Mike Carey, which features Boss Tweed and good ole fashioned American political corruption. Or “The Purloined Face,” which takes the interesting step of stating that Edgar Allen Poe did not die in Baltimore, but lived on in Paris and worked detective cases as Auguste Dupin – as well as mentoring a burgeoning detective by the name of Sherlock Holmes. But the real gem of the anthology is “New Murders in the Rue Morgue,” by Clive Barker. Barker’s story takes the often-repeated trope in the anthology of having one of Dupin’s relatives be the star, but, unlike the others, has that as less a feature, and more a bonus… Aficionados of Poe and mystery will probably want to pick this one up.’
‘Before there was a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, there was Edgar Allan Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin the sleuth from Paris, France… Editors Paul Kane & Charles Prepolec have brought together an amazing group of award-winning authors to the table featuring new adventures of Auguste Dupin by Mike Carey, Simon Clark, Joe R. Lansdale, Jonathan Maberry, Elizabeth Massie, Weston Ochse & Yvonne Navarro, Lisa Tuttle and Stephen Volk… It’s plain fun to read new stories and see how modern writer’s take of Poe’s iconic character. If you don’t have time to read a 500 page novel, might I suggest reading a collection of short stories: Beyond Rue Morgue – Further Tales of Edgar Allan Poe’s First Detective.’
‘The book is detailed in beautiful Halloween colours of orange, black and white… The intricate stories manage to continue the epic story of Dupin alongside his grandson and even great-grandmother. However, Beyond Rue Morgue manages to bring in something that readers have never had the luxury of experiencing until now, the supernatural! The new addition is blended seamlessly into the tightly focused stories and delivers an overall satisfying experience for readers. The anthology not only includes modern touches but contains the original short tale by Poe, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, that was released in 1841. The original story followed C. Auguste Dupin who tries to connect the clues between two murders in Paris. The original story made way for the detective novels of today such as Sherlock Holmes. The intriguing and well-written stories continue the adventures of Dupin from a group of talented writers who manage to blend what we loved from the original story with modern day touches. If you love a good detective novel, then pick up Beyond Rue Morgue: Further Tales of Edgar Allan Poe’s 1st Detective and check out these fascinating stories for yourself. ‘
(BGG After Dark)
‘Beyond Rue Morgue is an inspired celebration of one of fiction’s most enduring characters. Eight contemporary writers deliver new short stories and the collection is book-ended with two reprints. The first reprinted story is, of course, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, Poe’s classic locked-room mystery in which Madame L’Espanaye is found in her fourth floor Parisian apartment with her throat cut and her daughter throttled and partially stuffed up a chimney. The unnamed narrator, present in all of Poe’s Dupin stories, describes Dupin’s process of ratiocination leading to the solving of the mystery. It proves to be as weird as it is inventive… Beyond Rue Morgue is clearly more a playful pastiche than a critical appraisal of Poe’s writing, but its stories are never less than entertaining and are of a standard that most similar Sherlock Holmes collections struggle to match. And if they lead new readers back to Edgar Allen Poe and his “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, so much the better.’
(Crime Fiction Lover)
‘Contrary to how it may seem, Sherlock Holmes was not the first literary detective. That honour belongs to Edgar Allan Poe’s Le Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin, who was a detective before the word “detective” was even invented… Now, over 170 years after his debut, the character’s legacy continues, as he returns in an anthology of new stories by top tier writers titled Beyond Rue Morgue: Further Tales of Edgar Allan Poe’s First Detective… The anthology features the original Poe story as well as 9 other stories, each in a very different style, but all connecting to Dupin and the macabre mystery he debuted in. Who are the authors? The list includes names like modern horror classic Clive Barker, Joe R. Lansdale, Stephen Volk, Lisa Tuttle, Elizabeth Massie, Weston Ochse & Yvonne Navarro, Jonathan Maberry, Simon Clark and renowned comic book author Mike Carey. It’s a very exciting pantheon of writers (gathered by editors Paul Kane & Charles Prepolec) and almost everybody brings something really unique to the table.
‘Dupin is exceptionally intelligent, eccentric thinker who takes in all the evidence of a case that others might overlook, and manages to logically dismiss all the alternatives before coming to the correct conclusion. He was solving gruesome and complex crimes long before the likes of Sherlock Holmes came on the scene, and yet is a character of much less fame when compared to well known fictional detectives such as Holmes or Poirot. This book is a collection of short stories that pays tribute to Dupin…. I think my favourites of the stories in this collection were the ones that explored the legacy of Dupin’s long lost relatives and their inheritance of his crime-solving skills, more than the ones that featured Dupin himself… For me this wasn't just the discovery of a literary detective I had yet to read, but also of many authors I hadn't read before. A very interesting book to dip in and out of, especially for fans of old fashioned crime and unconventional detectives.’
‘A collection of adult fan-fiction (without, of course, the negative connotations), Beyond Rue Morgue: Further Tales of Edgar Allan Poe’s 1st Detective is exactly what it sounds like: a group of talented writers dreaming up stories of Dupin, the other mysteries he could have solved and more… Beyond Rue Morgue is a great collection of short stories of new, re-imagined adventures for Dupin – ranging from old-school mysteries told in first person to stories with subtle commentary on race and media, to introducing the audience to both Dupin’s grandson, to “meeting” Edgar Allan Poe – and introduces an unusual and creative connection with Sherlock Holmes, creating some ~super meta~ situations (“The Purloined Face” by Stephen Volk is highly recommended). It is a good read for both new fans and old Dupin readers, containing fascinating stories that are just as interesting as the original three. For fans of detective stories, the authors within these pages don’t disappoint. Many of the stories leave you thumbing the pages in anticipation, wanting to know what’s going to happen next, who the killer or the thief was. Beyond Rue Morgue offers an interesting and unique homage to the world’s first literary detective, doing so while respecting the original work and the man behind it. It proves that Le Chevalier has not been forgotten, that his legacy still exists, and that fans are as intense and dedicated as ever. I recommend this anthology to Poe fans and new adventurers in the mystery department, as well as those who just like to dip their toes in the detective pool but don’t want to commit to an entire book.’
‘Let’s start with the good ones, because when I speak of the good in this book, it’s remarkable. My personal favourite came in a story titled “The Gruesome Affair of the Electric-Blue Lightning” by Joe Lansdale. Being a fan of the Victorian styled horror (meaning Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll, and the like), I had absolutely no qualms with this story. The author’s voice, the sheer reality of his characters contrasted against his fantastical story, gave me the chills up and down. A tad gory, but as long as you’ve got a strong stomach or a weak imagination, you’ll see it through.
But this was not the only tale to receive high marks. As far as sticking to the pacing and set of a Dupin story went, the award goes to “The Unfathomable Darkness”. Though “The Sons of Tammy” claimed to set itself in the 1890s, it read to me as the classic 1930s gumshoe story, which kept me in arms because of his intriguing perspective of Dupin – the first pages read him as a dumpy detective, but trek on! Once the boiler gets hot, the author writes a character reminiscent of the original.
(Geek News Network)
‘A fascinating collection of short stories from various authors paying homage to the first detective in literature. Before Sherlock Holmes deduced his way onto the page, Edgar Allen Poe created a cool, analytical mind that found solving murders to be the height of fun. Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin was detecting before the word “detective” was even coined. He has a similar mind to Holmes, to the point that you have to wonder if Doyle was a Poe fan… The ones that really stuck with me are probably “The Sons of Tammany,” which takes Dupin to New York; “The Weight of a Dead Man,” which follows the grandson of Dupin, a Pinkerton detective trying to track down a Caravaggio; and “The Purloined Face,” possibly my favourite, where Sherlock Holmes is the apprentice to Edgar Allan Poe posing as Dupin. Connecting Holmes to Dupin was brilliant and it illustrated the similarities between the two whilst suggesting that Holmes learned it all from the best. But what I loved most about it was having Poe become Dupin after faking his own death and the exploration of the demons that Poe carried from his past. Of course, each of the other stories is captivating in its own right. Each one has something that will keep you reading until the very end. There are a few that get a bit outlandish… but none of them are all-out bad or poorly written.
Edgar Allan Poe fans will no doubt enjoy seeing one of his most famous characters given new life and the respect he deserves for founding many of the tropes of the detective genre. Mystery fans will love following Dupin’s deductions and trying to guess ahead of him. If you like a bit of horror, there’s plenty of that too. Beyond Rue Morgue is an excellent collection for anyone who loves a bit of mystery in life. And occasional apes.’
(With An Accent)
H.P. Lovecraft in Britain: A Monograph by Stephen Jones
British Fantasy Society Publications, June 2008. Chapbook £12.99 / $25.99. Cover artwork by Les Edwards.
Featuring: ‘Introduction’; ‘Dark Debut’; ‘Terrors and Tribulations’; ‘License to Chill’; and ‘Postscript’.
A Dick and Jane Primer for Adults
British Fantasy Society Publications, June 2008. Edited by Lavie Tidhar. Chapbook (Members Only). Cover by John Keates.
Featuring: ‘Me Dick, You Jane - Introduction’ by Jeff Vandermeer; ‘Dick and Jane and the Irrational, Mysterious Nature of Reality’ by Liz Williams; ‘Dick Does Time’ by Adam Roberts; ‘Envy’ by Neil Ayres; ‘Flash Jack’ by Richard Kunzmann; ‘Like Leaves Falling’ by Chris Butler; ‘Mike’s Article’ by James Lovegrove; ‘Somewhere in the Street’ by Ed Clayton; ‘The Hushes’ by Conrad Williams; ‘We Go Down To The Woods Today’ by Marion Arnott; ‘See’ by Roger Levy.
Houses on the Borderland
British Fantasy Society Publications, September 2008. Trade Paperback, £11.99 / $ 24.99 . Cover by Les Edwards. ISBN: 095386818-4
Edited by David A. Sutton. Featuring: Introduction by David A. Sutton; ‘Today We Were Astronauts’ by Allen Ashley; ‘The Listeners’ by Samantha Lee; ‘The School House’ by Simon Bestwick; ‘The House on the Western Border’ by Gary Fry; ‘The Retreat’ by Paul Finch; ‘The Worst of All Places’ by David A. Riley’.
To Order Houses on the Borderland click here
Published in Planet Prozak Issue 3, October/November 1998 (ISSN: 1463-6563)
‘The Cave of Lost Souls’
Published in Terror Tales Issue 4, Christmas 1998.
Published in Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque Issue 4 January 1999 (ISSN: 1464-2972).
‘St August’s Flame’
Published in Strix Issue 14, February 1999. Subsequently reprinted on the Strix Website June 2001
Published in The Dream Zone Issue 2, April 1999 (ISSN: 1464-6609). Subsequently reprinted on The Dream Zone Online Website 2000-2001 after being voted by readers one of the most popular stories printed in The Dream Zone during 1999.
‘I can’t tell you what a buzz I got from reading this story. The imagery is awesome.’
(John B. Ford, BJM Press and Rainfall Books)
‘The Last Temptation of Alice Crump’
Published in Dead Things Issue 1, June/September 1999 (ISSN: 1465-9115). Subsequently reprinted on the Terror Tales Online Website for its launch on 18th September 2000, and in the collection Alone (In the Dark).
Second Place Winner in the Black Hill Books Horror Short Story Competition 1998-1999 (Judged by Guy N. Smith). Subsequently published in Graveyard Rendezvous Issue 20, Summer 1999.
‘The Bones Brothers’
Published in Dead Things Issue 2, October/December 1999 (ISSN: 1465-9115). Subsequently reprinted on the Dead Things Website.
‘A marvellous romp of a story, with every word well judged, and a fitting tribute to the original. Great fun.’
(Peter Tennant, of Zene)
Published in Enigmatic Tales Number 7, Winter 1999. Subsequently reprinted in Rear View Mirror Webzine Issue 2, Summer 2001.
‘As a rule I generally find stories about writers to be too banal and self regarding for my taste. This story though is a fine exception. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and its clever idea.’
(M.P.N. Sims – Author of Shelter and Demon Eyes with L.H. Maynard)
‘At the Heart of the Maze’
Published in The Dream Zone: Special Nightmare Edition January 2000 (ISSN: 1464-6609).
Published in Sci-Fright Issue 6 (1st Year Anniversary & Millennium Edition) February 2000.
‘The Weeping Woman’
Published in Terror Tales E-Mail Magazine Issue 2, Sent Out 29th April 2000. Subsequently reprinted in the collection Alone (In the Dark).
Published in the In Sheep’s Clothing anthology July 2000 (ISBN: 1-85929-017-5).
Published in Penny Dreadful: Tales & Poems of Fantastic Terror Issue 13, Midsummer 2000.
‘All the Rage’
Published on the Terror Tales Online Website, for its launch on 18th September 2000.
‘Dracula in Love’
Published in Dead Things Issue 5, October/December 2000 (ISSN: 1465-9115).
Published on the Terror Tales Online Website, for Hallowe’en 2000.
‘In the House of Magritte’
Published in The Dream Zone Issue 8, January 2001 (ISSN: 1464-6609). Previously printed in the Alone (In the Dark) collection.
Published in Hidden Corners Issue 1, March 2001. Previously printed in the Alone (In the Dark) collection.
Published in Hidden Corners Issue 1, March 2001.
‘The Face of Death’
Published in Beyond the Borderline Webzine Issue 1, May/June 2001
‘Oliver’s Twist’ ‘Chucking Out’
‘To Save Us All’ ‘Erosion’ ‘*he Hooplah’
‘The Password’ ‘Magic Moments’ ‘Yibble’
‘Why Does it Always Reign on Me?’
All Published in 100 Drabbles (Edited by Sue Phillips) Small Press Books, 2001.
Published in Hidden Corners Issue 2, June 2001.
Published in Hidden Corners Issue 3, September 2001
Published in the Riding the Night-mare anthology, September 2001 (Hb ISBN: 0-7543-2640-3, Pb ISBN: 0-7543-2643-8)
Published in the Spell Casting anthology, September 2001 (Hb ISBN: 0-7543-2654-3, Pb ISBN: 0-7543-2655-1)
Published in The Chronicle Issue 7, from Eternal Night. November 2001.
Published in Nemonymous Issue 1, November 2001.
‘...Much more my disco mirrorball is “Strobe”, in which an epileptic deliberately seeks out the strobe-effects which bring on his petit mal seizures. Although warned against the world of light, the protagonist believes that only the conscious experience of a grand mal seizure will grant him the transformation he seeks...’
(Mike O’Driscoll - The Alien Online)
‘An unusual tale of addiction. At a nightclub, a man called Lang suffers an epileptic fit. He recovers, but is haunted by the memory of a vision he experienced while in the grip of that seizure. By subjecting himself to flashing lights, he is able to recreate that fit. Introduced to a bright, hallucinatory world, he finally turns his back on the real one. Reminiscent of the destructive LSD craze of the 1960s, it is a powerful piece of writing.’
(The Fix #3 March 2002)
‘In contrast, “Strobe” is a highly original and disturbing tale of a most unusual addiction. A man with photo-sensitive epilepsy experiences extraordinary visions during his seizures. The hallucinations are so powerful he gets hooked and resorts to using strobe lighting repeatedly in order to trigger his potentially fatal condition.’
(Unhinged Online #4 May 2002)
‘“Strobe” is immediately vivacious with a strong voice.’
(Jai Clare - Terror Tales Online)
Published on the Art of Horror site. December 2001.
Published on the House of Pain site. February 2002.
Published on the Horrorfind site. February 2002.
‘Master of the White Worms’
Published in The Swamp. February 2002.
Published in The Chronicle Issue 11, from Eternal Night. March 2002.
‘The Hypnotist’s Gaze’
Published in Wicked Hollow Issue 2, April 2002.
Published in the Tourniquet Heart anthology, edited by Christopher C. Teague, April 2002. Prime Books (Pb ISBN: 1894815106). Anthology Nominated for British Fantasy Award 2003.
To order this book, click here
Published on the House of Pain site. May 2002 .
‘Pay the Piper’
Published on the House of Pain site. May 2002. Reprinted in Zombies edited by Robert N. Stephenson. Altair Australia Books ISBN: 978-0-9804566-0-8.
‘ Dalton Quayle and the Sheepshank Revelation: Pt 1’
Published in The Swamp, May 2002.
‘The Persistence of Dali’
Published in The Dream People, Vol 1, Issue 3, June/July 2002.
‘ Dalton Quayle and the Sheepshank Revelation: Pt 2’
Published in The Swamp, July 2002.
‘ Dalton Quayle and the Sheepshank Revelation: Pt 3’
Published in The Swamp, September 2002.
Published in Redsine Issue 10, October 2002. Prime Books (Pb. ISBN: 1-894815-03-3). Story received an Honourable Mention in Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror.
Written with John B. Ford. Published in The Evil Entwines anthology. Hardcastle Publications, March 2003. (Pb. ISBN: 0-7795-0037-7). Reprinted by Rainfall Books.
To buy The Evil Entwines click here
Published in Darkness Rising Volume Six: Evil Smiles. Prime Books, April 2003 (Pb. ISBN: 1894815394) Story received an Honourable Mention in Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror.
Published in The Derelict of Death and Other Stories. Rainfall Books, June 2003 (Pb. ISBN: 0-9540877-3-9)
Published in Darkness Rising Volume Seven: Screaming in Colours. Prime Books, July 2003 (Pb. ISBN: 1894815602) Story Recommended for British Fantasy Award 2004.
‘Suit of Lies’
Published in The Wildclown Chronicles - Year 2, Issue 1, 2003. Click here to read this story.
‘Nightmare on 34th Street’
Published in Scary Holiday Tales To Make You Scream. Double Dragon Books. August 2003. (E-Book and Pb ISBN: 1-55404-074-4)
Published in When Darkness Comes. Crystal Serenades Publications, May 2004. (Pb: ISBN: 0-9545237-2-5)
Published in Demonology: Grammaticus Demonium. Double Dragon Books, October 2004. (Pb: ISBN: 1-55404-164-3) Story Recommended for British Fantasy Award 2005.
Published in the Assembly of Rogues anthology, edited by Martin Roberts, April 2005. Rainfall Books (Pb ISBN: 1894815106). Story Nominated for British Fantasy Award (shortlisted 2006)
Published in Albions Alpträume: Zombies edited by Paul Kane and Walter Diociaiuti, January 2006. Eloy Edictions (ISBN: 3-938411-04-X)
Published in Estronomicon Issue 6, December 2006. Clikc here to download
Published in The Lazarus Condition, Tazmaniac Books, July 2007 (see Novella section).
Published in Dark Animus issue 10/11, November 2007.
‘I am always a sucker for a zombie story and “Dig This” places the zombie tale in a new and intelligent context where nothing is as it seems.’
Published in The Shadows Trilogy, Screaming Dreams Press December 2007 (see ‘Collections’ for details).
Published in Read By Dawn Volume 3, Bloody Books, May 2008 (ISBN: 978-1905636259)
‘ Read by Dawn comprises twenty eight short horror stories, all but one from writers unknown to me, thus demonstrating Ms. Hartley’s preparedness to showcase new and emerging talent like no other. Starting with Paul Kane, the one writer whose work I’ve previously read, his “ Windchimes”is at first a subtle and sad ghost story of parental loss but that smacks you in the face with betrayal in the penultimate paragraph, before warming you with its final poignant words. The absolute standout story in this volume.’
(Mathew F. Riley, BookGeeks.co.uk)
To buy Read By Dawn Vol 3 click here
‘The Suicide Room’
Published in Voices, Morrigan Books, September 2008 (ISBN: 978-91-977605-0-8)
To buy Voices click here
‘A Chaos Demon is For Life’
Published in Estronomicon Christmas Special, December 2008.
Winner of 2008 ‘Dead of Night’ Award (Editors Choice)
To read this click here
Published in Return of the Raven , Horror Bound Books, May 2009.
To buy Return of the Raven click here
Published in Estronomicon Spring/Summer Issue, June 2009.To read this click here
Published in DeathRay Issue 21, Oct/Nov 2009.
‘Perfect Presents: An Arrowhead Short Story’
‘One for the Road’
Published in the Darc Karnivale anthology, edited by David Byron and Corey R. Scales. Story illustrated by Nick Rose. Published by Evil Nerd Empire, January 2010.
To buy Darc Karnivale click here
To read, click here.
‘Signs and Portents’
Published on the Horror Drive-In website, August 2010 – plus interview with Paul.
Click here to read this.
Click here to read this.
Published in Festive Fears: Global Edition, Tasmaniac Publications (ISBN: 978-0-9806367-6-5), December 2010
(Illustration by Andrew J. McKiernan – above)
‘Dalton Quayle and the Teatime of the Evil Resident Living Dead
Published in Tales of Moreauvia Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 3, December 2010.
‘Speaking in Tongues’
‘Keeper of the Light’
To order Fear of the Dark, click here.
Published in Bite Sized Horror, edited by Johnny Mains – Obverse Press, May 2011
Click here to read.
‘The Greatest Mystery’
‘This is one of the more gripping stories in the book.’
(Nevermet Press’ Clockwork Reviews.)
‘Words to the Wise’
‘“Words to the Wise” is an odd tale. Samuel Kellerman is afraid of the written word, so afraid in fact he is convinced that books are out to kill him. This could easily have turned to be a silly mess of a story, however what you get here is a rather funny, yet twisted tale of fear. I really enjoyed this story – imagine if the Phantom Tollbooth, was written for adults. Yes, that's how good this story was!’
(Ginger Nuts of Horror)
Published in Hauntings, edited by Ian Whates, cover art by Ben Baldwin –NewCon Press, June 2012
‘Rag & Bone’
Published in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror # 23, edited by Stephen Jones – published September 2012, by Constable & Robinson.
‘The Rainbow Coat’
Published in Dark Moon Digest: Young Adult Horror Issue #1, edited by Stan Swanson – published Summer 2013.
Published in Terror Tales of the Seaside, edited by Paul Finch – published November 2013, by Gray Friar Press.
Published in Noir, edited by Ian Whates – published April 2014, by NewCon Press.
‘He Is Legend’
Published in Zombie Apocalypse! Endgame, edited by Stephen Jones – published October 2014, by Constable & Robinson/Running Press.
‘Michael the Monster’
Published in Darke Phantastique, edited by Jason V. Brock – published November 2014, Cycatrix Press.
‘The Shadow of Death’
Published in Expiration Date, edited by Nancy Kilpatrick – published March 2015, by Edge Publishing.
Published in The Other Side of the Mirror 1996 (ISBN: 1-57553-117-8).
Published in Pumpkin Poetry 1997 (Hb ISBN:1-85930-428-1, Pb ISBN: 1-85930-423-0).
Published in The Road of Life 1997 (Hb ISBN: 1-85786-658-4, Pb ISBN: 1-85786-663-0)
‘Epitaph’ ‘Last Rights’ ‘Pain’
‘Sounds of Slaughter’ ‘Stalking the Stalker’
‘Spells Trouble’ ‘Suspect Minds’ ‘The Raising’
‘The Stranger’ ‘The Ugly’ ‘They Watch’
‘Thoughts of a Decapitated Head’
‘Dangerous World’ ‘Grey Lady’
All published in Cemetery Poets: Grave Offerings. Double Dragon Books (Hb. ISBN: 1-55404-009-4)
‘Paul Kane is a first-rate storyteller, never failing to marry his insights into the world and its anguish with the pleasures of phrases eloquently turned.’
(Clive Barker – Bestselling author of The Hellbound Heart, Abarat and Mr B. Gone)
‘Paul Kane’s world is a world of horror and wonder. A world of monstrous things beautifully carved in words by one hell of a talented and visionary writer.’
(Simon Clark – Bestselling author of The Dalek Factor , Lucifer’s Ark and This Rage of Echoes)
‘Paul Kane is helping to pump hot new blood into the horror genre. He could well become the first of the next new wave. Read his stories now.’
(Christopher Fowler – Bestselling author of Psychoville , Full Dark House, The Water Room and Calabash )
‘A writer who adds touches of intelligence and grace, bridging the gap between archetypal narratives and recognisable life...people we can believe in, facing situations we can imagine, reacting in ways that are truthful...without ever betraying or losing faith in the underlying narrative form.’
( Stephen Gallagher - Bestselling author of Valley of Lights and Down River, and scriptwriter of mini-series such as Chimera, Oktober , Eleventh Hour starring Patrick Stewart and Lifeline starring Joanne Whalley)
‘Paul Kane has considerable writing talent which I hope he continues to develop.’
(Graham Masterton – Bestselling author of The Manitou , Flesh and Blood, Descendent, Edgewise and Manitou Blood).
‘Paul Kane probes everyday life with the skill of a surgeon to find the darkness, the humour and the raw weirdness buried beneath the surface.’
(Mark Chadbourn – Bestselling author of The Eternal, The Age of Misrule Series and Jack of Ravens)
‘Paul Kane is a rare talent, with a fiendish imagination.’
(Stephen Laws – Bestselling author of Ghost Train, Chasm and Ferocity)
‘Paul Kane is a name to watch. His work is disturbing and very creepy.’
(Tim Lebbon – Bestselling author of The Everlasting , bestselling author of and Dusk and Dawn)
‘In Paul Kane’s fiction, a common thread is often that other forces (flawed, imperfect) have control over our lives - and emotions. There’s a reality beyond reality: and that’s the core of real soul-withering horror. Also, he knows darkness doesn’t work without the light, and humanity and love are at stake. His stories not only, at his best, put him neck and neck with Ramsey Campbell and Clive Barker, but also in the company of greats like Machen and MR James. You don’t rest easily after reading a Paul Kane story, but strangely your eyes have been somewhat opened.’
(Stephen Volk – screenwriter of Gothic, Ghostwatch and Afterlife, author of Dark Corners)
(Brian Keene – Two time Stoker-winning author of The Rising and The Conqueror Worms)
‘Kane is a writer yet to let his fans down.’
( Zone Horror – formerly The Horror Channel)
‘It is obvious that his talent for writing and active imagination have paid off.’
‘Paul Kane writes with a grit and surety of one who gets to grips with the darkness inside man. The mark of Kane is one you won’t want to miss.’
(Derek M. Fox - Author of Recluse and Jackdoor)
‘Paul Kane always manages to entertain with his unusual twist on fiction.’
(Graham Jennings, Hidden Corners)
© Paul Kane 2003-2017. All rights reserved. Materials (including images) may not be reproduced without express permission from the author.