Here’s an interesting thing – I’ve discovered the Black Shuck Shadows collections from indie publishers Black Shuck Books. I’d heard about them on the grapevine and scrolling through, number 7 featuring the work of author Simon Kurt Unsworth sounded like the right kind of creepy for that particular evening. I was not disappointed.
It features three horror shorts within another tale, an impressive feat for 70 pages. I will be honest and say we could have maybe done with a couple of pages less scene setting at the beginning, he did get a bit Stephen King there for a minute and I now feel qualified to decide whether to buy a house in the town he has based this little gem in, but it shines nonetheless.
As always with short stories it’s hard to write about them without spoiling them for other readers but for the first time in quite a while I felt a genuine sense of unease reading the three hauntings within the overarching storyline. They hit all my buttons, simple but very effective tales of ghostly goings on that harked back to my introduction to horror by way of well thumbed volumes of the classics discovered in my local library as a child (I was that kid). The main theme gives it an interesting twist and I will be following up by reading more of his work to see where he goes with it.
I also really liked the format – each book in the series features a different author delivering, as they put it, a pocket sized sample from the best in modern horror. If this was anything to go by, they deliver on their promise and again, I’ll be trying another. I highly recommend that you go and get yourself a copy of The Martledge Variations.
Karen is a full time artist living in Whitby (perfect location for a horror fan). Her own monsters have taken over to the point where they actually have their own closet space and so she takes refuge in books and films, some of which she’d like to share with you.