Why horror?

Here’s Rupert again being GRIM

Rupert Smith

GrimFINALA journalist recently asked me why it’s taken so many years and a dozen or more novels to get round to writing horror. The answer is that I never really needed to do it till now. I had a subject – the strangeness of small towns – and I needed a way of writing about it. I could have done a literary novel with a broad canvas and lots of subtle twists and turns (or at least I could have tried) – but that wouldn’t have captured the sense of threat and alienation that I feel in those places. So I tried a horror story – and that did the job. Of course people in quaint English coastal towns don’t do the disgusting, deadly and illegal things that are depicted in Grim, but I always feel as if they could.

I’ve turned my hand to a few different genres…

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Thor and his Dark World… A Renfield Review

Are they in love?

Word Bullets

tumblr_msw3ilELAW1shbp5ko1_500On Tuesday Spawn and I ventured out into the cold darkness of winter, quite appropriately as it happens, to see Thor 2. Now I kinda loathed Thor mark 1. Aside from the infrequent exposure of la Hemsworth’s outrageous bodily fortune I found it thin on the ground. Narrow. Despite the magnificence of Asgard, the delightful gloomy cold of Jotunheim and, of course, la Hiddles unparalleled brilliance as Thor’s snotty half-brother, the part frost giant, possible god of mischief Loki, Thor 1 fundamentally failed to grasp my attention. It bored me. I laughed once, at the cup smashing moment, and the rest of the time I spent squinting at the screen, wondering why on earth it was Brannagh was expecting me to invest in. His attempt at a sweeping epic? Odin’s beard? Gold bullion?

I suspect half the problem for me was the eventual reduction of action to the one tiny…

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Massacre Winter Contest Winner: Hurrah for…

Massacre Publishing

Firework MassacreMatt Harrah!

His entry Burning Questions is the winner of our first flash fiction contest and Matt receives the prize of an Amazon voucher. You will be able to read Matt’s winning story in the first edition of Massacre Magazine, due December 2013. We will also post the story on the website shortly after.

Some of the submissions were so good we decided we’d have to also choose a runner up, and we are pleased to announce Jake Sheridan takes that second place. His story will also appear in Massacre Magazine.

If you didn’t win, don’t worry. Some were very close indeed, so keep joining in and one day it could be you.

Thank you to all those who entered.

photo credit: angela7dreams via photopincc

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Review: Lies You Wanted to Hear


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Author: James Whitfield Thomson

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark

What would you do if you believed your child was in mortal danger? How far would you go?

Lucy’s two young children have been gone for nine years now, an unbearable burden that haunts her even more because of her role in what happened.

You can hardly glimpse that carefree girl Lucy was before she married Matt. She was a magnet for men who were bad for her—men like Griffin. With shattering, unthinkable turns that will wrench every mother’s heart, this suspenseful story probes the issue of how well you know the person you married. How much can you trust them with your heart—and with your future?

That’s what the publisher’s blurb promises, but does the book deliver?

Without doubt it is a good book and quite an achievement for a 67-year-old debut novelist. The writing is confident and eminently readable, though not extraordinary. But whereas the blurb suggests this is Lucy’s story, it is most definitely equally Matt’s. And why will it wrench every mother’s heart and not every father’s?

Lucy is a bit of a bad girl. She has a penchant for drugs and rough sex, so falling for a cop might not be the best idea in the world—but she does just that while recovering from an emotional break up with Griffin, a nasty piece of work to say the least. Matt offers her steady reliability, and she takes it.

They get married and have two children, but during a bout of postnatal depression things take a turn for the worse. Matt’s perfect parenting skills begin to annoy Lucy, and their marriage comes under intense strain as she grows to resent him.

Feelings of inadequacy overwhelm her, and she starts an affair with old flame Griffin. Matt and Lucy split, and there is a tussle over the kids. Matt reckons— and no doubt readers will agree—that Lucy’s behaviour is endangering the children, so faced with losing custody of them he kidnaps them, changes all their identities, and starts a new life.

Dr. Thomson raises the thorny issues of separation, divorce, and the presumption in favor of granting custody to the mother, and he does it well enough. The story alternates from Lucy’s point of view to Matt’s and back again, giving the reader an insight into both sides, but the case in Lucy’s favour is not convincing—if indeed that was the intention.

So does the book deliver? Well, kind of. The marketing suggests something darker and far more disturbing, but perhaps that wasn’t ever the author’s intention.

This review appears in the New York Journal of Books and is reproduced here with their kind permission.


Contains gore, a butchered dog, rape, and murder

So says Diana Lord at the Monster Librarian of my horror novel Diavolino. She liked it!

“This book started slowly, in building up the characters and setting the mood, but once it got going, it was relentless, non-stop action.  There were plot twist and turns that kept this reader guessing who was on what side – good or evil – and which side would win in the end.  Recommended for adult readers”

Check out the full review here:


Diavolino_254X299 3d

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