Posts Tagged ‘Gary McMahon’

Imposter Syndrome edited by James Everington and Dan Howarth

December 12, 2017 - 11:26 pm No Comments

Imposter Syndrome edited by James Everington and Dan Howarth
Published by Dark Mind Press on 25th November 2017
182 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

What if you see some who looks like you? or you think you are living with the wrong family? These questions and more are answered by 10 authors in this anthology.
I Know What They Look Like by Gary McMahon: A taxi driver picks up a fare and gets more than he bargains for. A great opening to the book and really sets the scene. Strange things tend to happen at night, evil lurks in the shadows. Whilst reading this I was imagining it set as a black and white movie, and felt the apprehension when he picked up his fare and was completing his 1st task.
In the Marrow by Laura Mauro: Most little girls imaging they see faeries, and come up with ways to trap them. Hazel and Tara were no different. However, when Tara became ill, Hazel knew exactly how to cure her. As I was reading this story, I did wonder if Hazel was making the story up to cope with Tara’s illness. A beautifully written story.
Who is that on the Other Side of You by Timothy J Jarvis: Croker and Learmouth are on an expedition to Antarctica. Spitting imagine of each other except for a birthmark. The story of the expedition is writing in actual time, whilst their history was written in the format of a diary. This enabled the story to flow and helped describe the characters in detail. An intriguing story about adventure and betrayal.
What’s Yours is Mine by Holly Ice: After visiting her mom, Sophie finds out a secret that will affect her whole life. Whilst it was early on that Sophie found out her mom’s secret, the author writes it in a way that you think that due to her mom’s illness she is making it up. Throughout the story bits of Sophie’s past is revealed and slowly you realise just how big the secret was. The ending could have been a bit more graphic for me, but I enjoyed how this story was planned out
The Insider by Neil Williamson: A story based on the online world. Raymond is in Italy on business and a similar twitter account is causing him problems. This story explored how it is so easy to pretend to be someone else online. It shows how folk can hide behind a keyboard and post to get a rise from other users.
Other People’s Dreams by Stephen Bacon: Waking up after being involved in a bombing not knowing your past is scary enough, but add to that the graphic dreams, you can understand why he needs to see a doctor. Coming across a double gives him a new purpose in life. I really enjoyed this story, the graphic dreams, memory loss and the psychobabble. It had me wondering throughout what type of man the main character was, was he a murderer. The obsessive nature of the character once he found his double was scary. The author kept you guessing where the story was going.
Hold my Hand and I’ll Take You There by Ralph Robert Moore: This story follows Noah as a boy he battles a life-threatening illness, as a man he falls in love with Audrey, a woman who is suffering with mental health. This was one of the most moving stories that I have read. As a mom reading about young Noah’s suffering was heart-breaking, but the author gave me hope when Noah met Audrey. A twist had me stopping reading for a minute as I did not expect where the story was going. A great read.
The Wrong House by Tracy Fahey: Tom wakes up one morning and finds out that he is in the wrong house with the wrong family. Following Tom over a couple of days, the reason for his feeling is revealed. From the opening paragraph, you know something is wrong, but you do not know whether it is Tom or the house. Scenarios kept running through my mind as I was reading. The author has a way of telling a story that draws you in and makes you want to read more so you can find out what is happening. A heart-rending ending that explains the whole story.
Little Heart by Georgina Bruce: I have always wondered what goes through a child’s mind when their parent is a famous actor. The story explains detachment and how even as an adult it affected her. This story had a film noir feel to it and with scenes involving the film, added intrigue to it. A story that if you read it again, you will find something new.
Virtually Famous by Phil Sloman: From the start this story got me hooked. The opening line “He died a thousand times today and would die a thousand more”. Chet Tyler was fixated on his own game and whilst some gamers wanted to be him others wanted to kill him. The fascination Chet had with the game was unnatural. The author has the knack of making you unsure whether you are reading the gaming or Chet’s experience. The lines of fact and fiction is blurred. You know Chet had a substance abuse but was he imagining it. All this made me want to read more. A page turner with a great ending.
This anthology was a great read and a brilliant choice of authors.

The Anatomy of Monsters: VOL 1 by Lisa Vasquez, Ramsey Campbell, Gary McMahon, Nicholas Vince, Brian Hodge, Carl Jennings, Donelle Pardee Whiting, Josh Malerman, Steven Chapman, Greg Chapman, Robert Teun

July 25, 2017 - 10:35 pm No Comments

The Anatomy of Monsters: VOL 1 by Lisa Vasquez, Ramsey Campbell, Gary McMahon, Nicholas Vince, Brian Hodge, Carl Jennings, Donelle Pardee Whiting, Josh Malerman, Steven Chapman, Greg Chapman, Robert Teun

Published by Stitched Smile Publications on 7th July 2017

334 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Monsters have always played a big role in storytelling. This anthology has 19 stories some monsters you will recognise straight away. Every story is different and for this review I am going to list my favourites.

I Know I Promised You a Story by Gary McMahon: When an editor receives a biographical story from an author, he learns more about the author than he wants to. At the start of the story you can imagine the editor just sitting thinking he is reading a work of fiction involving the imagination of a young boy, but as the story progress you realise that this is more serious and that lives could be in danger.

Family Tree by Nicholas Vince: When Bryan receives an email from his twin brother Adrian, who he had not seen for over 20 years, what starts out as a family union soon results in a secret that will affect him and his family. Whilst I had an idea what the secret was I could not imagine how Bryan felt when Adrian asked for the favour and the twist at the end with the locket.

Whitechapel by Alisha Jordan: Whilst an old lady is dying she reminisces about her past. We all know what happen in Whitechapel but with a feminine twist and the reasons behind the murders makes this more believable than all the speculation at the time.

Le Mort Vivant by Steven Chapman: A story about a young boy, who believed he was a monster due to his mother. Whilst reading this story I was actually thinking of another monster and it was not till the end that I realised who this story was about. The story was more heart breaking and it shows that monsters are usually created by the intervention of others. As a mom, I could not think of doing this my children and putting them through this trauma.

Nightswimming by Laura Mauro: When a survivor of Katrina, is a victim of domestic violence, she gets her revenge in a unique way. Thanks to Disney this creature has been tamed but this author takes it back to its true form, a scary eerie creature.

To Walk in Midnight’s Realm by Simon Bestwick: Written as a letter, this story explains what happened to John leading up to his death and the task he wants Matt to do. Reading this story, it feels like you are with John on his journey, when he meets the creatures the graphic way his friends died added intensity to the story as you could sense what danger John was in. However, this story was more than a horror story this was a story about love and regret.

With each story, I was trying to guess who the monster was and whilst some are identifiable a lot came from the authors imagination. Set over different time frames, each story took you are a different journey. Whatever type of monster you like I am sure that you will find a story or 2 to enjoy. With some great authors, this book is a must read for horror lovers and whilst I don’t judge a book by its cover, the art work by Greg Chapman is gorgeous

NewCon Press Sampler

January 18, 2013 - 2:19 pm 1 Comment

NewCon Press Sampler
Author: Various
Publisher: NewCon Press
Page count/size: 292KB
Release Date: 6th Jan 2013
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
What can you buy for 77p these days? Not a bottle of coke, not a tub of butter and certainly not a loaf of bread. So, what can you buy?

This excellent collection of short stories A deliberately low-priced anthology providing a taster of what NewCon Press is all about.

Showcasing publications from 2012 and 2013, seven stories from seven premier genre authors: Nina Allan, Tony Ballantyne, Chris Beckett, Gary McMahon, Mercurio D. Rivera, Lisa Tuttle, and Adrian Tchaikovsky. Science fiction, fantasy, and horror at their best.

There are a couple of stand out stories in this piece; Mercurio D. Rivera’S story about a bird-like alien race, a protected species abused by humanity, with a key environmental message. The less I reveal about this story, the better.
Then we have Lisa Tuttle’s ‘The Ragged Claw’ and interesting piece about a so called Utopia and the challenging ten year journey to reach paradise and what the consequences of signing up could be. In Tony Ballantyne’s ‘Janet Verdigris’, we meet his Penrose citizens. This is a new and original slant on the robot sub-genre. Thinking ahead of business relations, Ravel & Benton come to an agreement that they will both produce a child (Goethe & Janet) woven in such a way as to be determined to marry each other. But was ‘love’ inserted into the contract?

In Nina Allans story, ‘The Phoney War’, we meet Nicky, who is waiting endlessly for a train to take her to Dungeness amidst the turbulent world where any day the Earth excepts alien invasion. But is the world worth living in with all of its constrictions? And is the threat real?

I won’t say any more about these stories (I hate spoilers), but needless to say, this is a top notch anthology with some of the most respected authors in the genre. A must buy.

Silent Voices review

April 23, 2012 - 3:14 pm No Comments

Silent Voices
Author: Gary McMahon
Publisher: Solaris Books
Page count: 384pp
Release date: 12th April 2012
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

The second in The Concrete Grove trilogy, Silent Voices starts twenty years ago as three boys stagger out of an old building, unsure exactly where they have been and what has happened to them over the course of a weekend. All Brendan can remember is the trees.
In the present, one of the grown up boys, Simon, returns to the Grove to find his old friends and try to unearth the painful memories that are starting to claw their way back to the surface.

A mysterious package has been sent to Simon containing a book and two news articles about the Concrete Grove. Over the years, his mysterious benefactor has been posting him news from the Grove, tracking him down regardless of where he moves to, drawing him back to the Grove away from his successful life.

The darkness of the Grove is breathing again, the woodlands invading the minds of the three damaged men that the boys have become.

Described by Steve Rasnic Tem as “one of the finest of a new breed of horror writers”, McMahon is a strong and frightening voice in the future of the genre. His novel explores the themes of urban decay and corruption. It is rife with crime, the grubbiness of real life and a virulent evil. McMahon isn’t afraid to challenge the nostalgia of childhood, which is often blurred; childhood friends may not necessarily remain friends through adulthood but those bonds are still strong.

The second novel in the trilogy does not disappoint and McMahon, as usual, is a powerful storyteller. An excellent book.

Interview – Gary McMahon

September 19, 2011 - 11:59 pm No Comments

Gary McMahon, author of the recently released Dead Bad Things (Angry Robot)
took time out from his busy writing schedule to chat to me. AS well as his Thomas Usher novels, McMahon has embarked on an urban horror trilogy starting with The Concrete Grove (The Concrete Grove Trilogy)

Here’s what Gary had to say;

1. How did the ideas for the Grove develop?

Slowly, over a very long time. I first had the basic idea of a kind of possessed council housing estate when I was sixteen. It’s only now that I feel skilled enough to even attempt to write this story.

2. Do you have the full trilogy mapped out in your head including the end?

Nope. I’m just winging it, hoping that everything ties together as a cohesive whole. It isn’t a proper trilogy, strictly speaking, more of a series of interconnected works. I envisage this as being a potentially long-running series of books – that is, if people want to read them and Solaris want to continue publishing them.

3. I recently read Dead Bad Things (see my review at What can you tell us about the second Thomas Usher novel?
The second Usher novel is a direct sequel to the first, and it sets up the dynamic for the rest of the books (which I hope to write) going forward. These first two books form a kind of “origin story”, like you usually get with superhero characters. I really can’t say much more without giving things away, but I will tell you that I’ve taken a few narrative and thematic risks with ‘Dead Bad Things’. I hope they pay off.

You have recently started publishing your back catalogue in electronic format.
4. How do you think the upsurge of ebooks will impact on the traditional book business?

I’ve only released a couple of titles as an experiment, to see how they sell. The results aren’t promising – despite appearing near the top of a lot of those Kindle charts on Amazon, sales haven’t been too strong. It’s difficult to say how much on an impact ebooks will have on the industry in the long run, but the times certainly are a’ changing. All I’m seeing now is a mad scramble, with a lot of crap being shoved out on Kindle along with a lot of really good stuff. It’s increasingly difficult trying to decide what might be worth your time.

5. What’s the weirdest or spookiest thing that has ever happened to you?

I once lived in a house in North London that I’m convinced was haunted. I used to hear banging on the floor under my bed (and the guy in the room below never heard a thing). I felt somebody sitting on the end of the bed almost every night, and used to feel as if someone was in there waiting for me – standing in the corner – whenever I went to bed. What made the whole thing even stranger is that I don’t actually believe in ghosts…and yet, there was certainly some kind of presence there.

6. So what’s next in your creative schedule?

I’m currently working on ‘Silent Voices’, the second in the Concrete Grove series, I have several short stories that have been commissioned at different stages of completion, a Thomas Usher short story collection, and there’s also a Thomas Usher novella that’s recently started to demand my attention. Then there’s ‘The Quiet Room’, my haunted house novel which needs finishing so my agent can try to sell it, and hopefully a third Usher novel. I’m also currently putting together my next short story collection for a respected U.S. publisher, titled ‘Tales of the Weak & the Wounded’.

Many Thanks Gary