Posts Tagged ‘Gary McMahon’

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

Review – Dark Dead Bad Things

September 19, 2011 - 11:35 pm No Comments

Dead Bad Things
Author: Gary McMahon
Publisher: Angry Robot
Price: £7.99 (Paperback)
Page count: 334pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Occurring six months after the events in Pretty Little Dead Things, Dead Bad Things (Angry Robot)
is told from three main points of view and follows the journey of these characters as they have to deal with the impact of a child serial killer in Leeds. We have Thomas Usher as one narrator, who was the narrator of the first novel and for his sins, has been able to see the dead since losing his wife and child in a car accident fifteen years ago. Next we have PC Sarah Doherty, a young police woman investigating these murders at the same time looking into the past and deadly secrets of her father Emerson Doherty; both respected and feared by his police colleagues. The third main narrator (there is briefly a fourth) is shamed TV psychic Trevor who has a grudge against Usher for revealing his dark secrets. Despite the number of narrators, you can hear McMahon’s distinctive authorial voice throughout.

This novel is all about secrets, many of them unpleasant. There is an extreme darkness to the tale and it shows a world if urban and moral decay. Truly atmospheric and genuinely creepy, Dead Bad Things (Angry Robot)
has to be read in order to reach the conclusions hinted at in the first novel. There are some great gasp moments, particularly near the end, and the reading of it is somewhat cathartic. This novel is quite simply, a symphony of pain.

If you want to know more about Angry Robot’s latest projects take a look at their website.

If you like the look of this book, check it out at Dead Bad Things (Angry Robot)

Review – Cracking Concrete

June 22, 2011 - 6:59 pm No Comments

The Concrete Grove

Author:  Gary McMahon   

Publisher: Solaris Books

Price:  £7.99 (Paperback)

Page count:  382pp

Reviewer:  Theresa Derwin

Moving into a deprived council estate area, The Concrete Grove, 14yr old Hailey starts to have unimaginable nightmares and experiences that she at first puts down to the loss of her father and the previously well-to-do upbringing she had. But there is something dark hiding in the Grove. Hailey and her Mom Lana both sense it. New neighbour Tom senses it too and investigating the strange goings on at the Grove together, offers him escape from his world as carer for his disabled wife. Together they start to fight against local hoodlum Monty Bright and his criminal empire. Together, they enter an urban world of new nightmares.

The Concrete Grove, book one of a trilogy is a stunning piece of writing with moments that are poignant, disturbing, emotional, distinctly eww and outright scary.  I never imagined that hummingbirds could be frightening until reading this book. 

McMahon shows us the darkness unfurling beneath the Estates – the crime and drug ridden darkness we know of – and the hidden darkness peering around the corner invading our hopes and dreams.  With its symbolic and important imagery of trees and breathing vegetation, this novel is a forest of decay and horror.  Natural earthy symbolism flows through its entire structure from acorns to oaks, to bugs and twigs and everything in between its rotten earth.

McMahon has nailed the art of horror and is at the forefront of the British new wave of ‘mundane’ horror now emerging.

This is simply a stunning novel and I look forward to book two in the trilogy.

If you want to know more about McMahon’s latest projects take a look at his website Gary McMahon.