I’m often way behind on my reading, aren’t we all? It took me a horrendously long time for Philip Fracassi’s wonderful collection Behold the Void to make its way to the top of my teetering “to be read” pile. But when I picked it up, holy shit, did it blow me away! “Fail-Safe” and “Altar” immediately went on my list of stories that I would’ve cut my own legs off to have written. Behold the Void is one of those books that grabs you by the face and doesn’t let go.
So when Overnight dropped from the wonderful people at Unnerving, it blew all other books out of the water and I simply had to read it straight away. And it didn’t disappoint. Overnight is a sleazy morality tale about a security guard on a film set that is drawn into a morally dubious arrangement with the “biggest fan” of the film’s lead actress.
The story is crammed with Fracassi’s usual superb wordsmanship and fully-rounded characters. It carries a sense of dread from the start and the set-up provides numerous avenues for the story to run down. For the record, it did not end up where I thought it was going! Another bonus.
Overnight is a quick read but one densely packed with detail and suspense. I won’t reveal more about the overall storyline for fear of spoilers but I would say, the story really delivers on a great premise.
Get yourself a copy on Kindle over at Amazon. Or better yet, get it in a lovely hardback edition straight from the source at Unnerving.
It’s been a little while since I updated this site, largely due to holidays but because I’ve been busy with editing my novel and writing a few short stories.
Today’s recommendation is the The Fisherman by John Langan. Yes, this book is unlikely to be a new find to anyone already involved in the horror community. It has won a Bram Stoker Award as well as being named This Is Horror Novel of the Year in 2016. However, sometimes a book is just so good that you need to tell people about it, even if those people have already heard about it.
The truth is, I’ve owned this book for a while and have been very excited about reading it. We (future wife and beautiful daughter) recently went away to Cornwall on holiday which featured a week of lazing around, seeing sights and stealing reading time. I’d been saving The Fisherman for just such an occasion. A chance to sit (lie down) and relax and appreciate some words. I’m glad I waited.
The Fisherman is firmly entrenched as one of the best books I’ve read. Everything about this spoke to me. I’d previously read a few of John’s short stories and been impressed by his work. This book has made me want to track down the rest and read them immediately.
The Fisherman is the story of two widowers, Abe and Dan, who bond over grief, work and a love of fishing. However, when they decide to seek out the infamous Dutchman’s Creek in the New York State area they live in, things take a turn for the sinister.
The real skill shown in The Fisherman is not only the awe-inspiring horror that Langan produces, which includes some epic Lovecraftian moments. Or the account of the creation of reservoir in the middle of the book that showcases a couple of genuinely scary moments. But the true highlight of the book is its central relationship between the two men. Langan’s portrayal of their grief and their slowly flourishing friendship is incredibly touching, as is the description of Abe’s brief but fateful marriage. Grieving and its psychological impact has long been a wealthy mine for horror writers but Langan never cheapens this emotion or uses it in a way that undermines the characters for shock value.
There is a poetry to Langan’s prose throughout the book. He has a subtle, colloquial way of writing that feels as though someone you have known a long time is telling you a story. The Fisherman is a staggering achievement, one that all horror readers (and writers) should devour immediately. I’m sure most have, but if like me, you have this one on the shelf unread, correct your error today. It’s amazing.