Book Rec – Maniac Gods by Rich Hawkins

Where to start with this one…

I first read Rich Hawkins’ fiction in preparation for interviewing him on the This Is Horror podcast back in 2015. I picked up “The Last Plague” and “Black Star, Black Sun”, both of which are excellent. But what struck me was how as good as the writing was in “The Last Plague”, Hawkins had improved by the time he brought out “Black Star, Black Sun”, despite there not being a huge amount of time between the releases.

Fast forward three years and Hawkins has completed his “Plague Trilogy” and released some of the best novellas I’ve read in recent years. So I find myself pleased, yet unsurprised to be recommending his latest release “Maniac Gods”.

I was delighted to pick up a copy of this book from source – aka Justin Park of The Sinister Horror Company at Edge Lit in Derby back in July. The cover art and production of the book are superb.

As ever with Hawkins’ work, he blasts straight into the story, thrusting our protagonist Albie into a village overcome by religious mania, to which his ex-wife and daughter appear to have succumbed. What happens next is a visceral, gut-wrenching examination of a man groping for salvation and reason in his life.

One of the many strengths of this novella is how Hawkins paints vivid characters, that immediately make the reader feel something – it isn’t always empathy, but then it doesn’t have to be. Whenever I’ve reviewed Hawkins’ work in the past, I’ve always talked about his descriptive abilities. This novella is another stellar example of his talent. There is a sick poetry to the way that Rich writes, how he draws the fetid and disgusting. It’s compelling, grim and not for the faint of heart. This is how I like my fiction.

Hawkins’ nails the emotional core of the story. The horror of a missing child and broken family. The despair drips from the page, but in a way that drives the reader onward. He pulls at the heartstrings as well as delivering horror beyond words.

As with all of Hawkins’ work – this book is highly recommended.

Pick up your copy here. Do it!


Acceptances, Videos and Other Nice Things

Hi All

I’m back from a brief hiatus, taking some time out to get married and go on honeymoon. As well as being the happiest few weeks of my life, they’ve also been pretty successful on the writing front.

Firstly, my story ‘Nesting Instinct’ has been picked up for publication at the relaunched Sanitarium Magazine. I’m not sure which issue I’ll be in, but I’ll post about it nearer the time when I have the full details and TOC.

I’ve also had a story ‘The Fifty-Nine Sound’ published by Trigger Warnings Short Fiction. This story is my tribute to my favourite band, The Gaslight Anthem. And my favourite song of theirs… guess what it’s called?

In other happy news, my story ‘Anderson’ will be read and recorded for the excellent The Other Stories podcast. This is a brilliant market that I’ve been dying to crack after coming close to acceptance in the past. My story is part of their War theme which will be launching towards the end of the year.

Lastly – my story ‘Hide. Go Seek’ has been accepted and read out to a paying audience by the Liar’s League. Unfortunately as the event was in London, I couldn’t attend on the night but they have posted the video of poet Math Jones reading my work. I love this clip. It’s 16 minutes long and I really hope people will take the time to check it out.

Lastly – oh, I already said that. Hmm. I lied. I’ve completed edits on a new novella called “Territory”. It’s the story of a close-knit rural community in Finland, plagued by wolves and isolation. It’s a bit of a departure from my usual stuff and is the first time I’ve based a story outside of the north of England. I’m going to start looking for a publisher. Hopefully people will dig it. More news on this as I have it.

Thanks for reading!