Some of my most prized possessions are classic anthologies of ghost and horror stories, and it's long been an ambition of mine to add to this pantheon by editing a few of my own. Well, I've now taken this leap and have commenced editing what I hope will be a series of books from Gray Friar Press, with whom I've long had a good, professional relationship. The series' overall title is TERROR TALES ..., and each volume will be set in a different geographical region of the UK (and maybe beyond, depending on how long the series lasts). The first nine books, TERROR TALES OF LONDON, TERROR TALES OF EAST ANGLIA, TERROR TALES OF THE COTSWOLDS, TERROR TALES OF THE LAKE DISTRICT, TERROR TALES OF THE SEASIDE, TERROR TALES OF WALES, TERROR TALES OF YORKSHIRE, TERROR TALES OF THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS, and TERROR TALES OF THE OCEAN are now available to order - see below for full tables of contents.
The idea behind this series is to combine my interest in the weird and strange with my fascination for localised mythology, folklore and history, and at the same time to present some fantastic new fiction from some of the top horror authors around, alongside one or two timely reprints.
I sincerely hope that more books will follow in this line, though they won't be in quickfire succession - these things take time and cost money, ya know. Those interested can keep checking the blog for updates.
TERROR TALES OF THE OCEAN
The rolling blue ocean. Timeless, vast, ancient, mysterious. Where eerie voices call through the lightless deeps, monstrous shapes skim beneath the waves, and legends tell of sunken cities, fiendish fogs, ships steered only by dead men, and forgotten isles where abominations lurk ...
The multi-limbed horror in the Ross Sea
The hideous curse of Palmyra Atoll
The murderous duo of the Messina Strait
The doomed crew of the Flying Dutchman
The devil fish of the South Pacific
The alien creatures in the English Channel
The giant predator of the Mariana Trench
And many more chilling tales by Peter James, Adam Nevill, Stephen Laws, Lynda E. Rucker, Conrad Williams, Robert Shearman and other award-winning masters and mistresses of the macabre.
Stuka Juice - Terry Grimwood
Ship of the Dead
The End of the Pier - Stephen Laws
The Swirling Sea
Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed - Steve Duffy
The Seventh Wave - Lynda E. Rucker
The Palmyra Curse
Hippocampus - Adam Nevill
The Offing - Conrad Williams
Blood and Oil
Sun Over the Yard Arm - Peter James
Echoes of an Eldritch Past
First Miranda - Simon Strantzas
The Derelict of Death - Simon Clark and John B. Ford
The Decks Below - Jan Edwards
The Flying Dutchman
Hell in the Cathedral - Paul Finch
From the Hadean Deep
Hushed Will Be All Murmurs - Adam Golaski
And This Is Where We Falter - Robert Shearman
It is William Bates who is at the stern and spies something strange in the seas behind us. What is that? he says. I say I do not know, it looks like a black spot upon the surface of the water. I am sure that we will lose sight of it soon, fast as we are now speeding, but an hour later we think to look back, and there it still is - it is larger, if anything, it is ganing on us. It is in pursuit. How it bobs about on the waves.
Before sunset it is close enough that we can identify it, and it is a coffin ...
And This Is Where We Falter
Cold water arced across her face like a slap, returning her to her senses; and to a roughly humanoid shape framed in the doorway.
Its arms seemed too long, with webbed hands clutching the hatch edge. Its legs were bowed and short. A ridge of bone rose across its skull, which was narrow, with eyes set more to the sides than was human. The mouth was wide, with a pronounced peak to a thin upper lip, giving a beak-like appearance ...
The Decks Below
Feeling lighter now as the buoyancy supported the weight of the suit, I made a half-turn on my platform so I could see the keel of the ship and maybe discern what held her in place. I waited for a gush of bubbles to pass so I could get the whole picutre. But what I then saw sent sheets of ice through me. I pushed my face forward against the glass plate, my eyes bulging, my heart thudding.
Gripping the bottom of the ship like a massive sucker was an amorphous piece of flesh, Pulpy and white, it was; almost the shape of a wine glass, its wide mouth clamped onto the keel as if the creature sucked at the timbers. Beneath that, it became fluted, growing narrower and narrower until a stem little thicker than my own waist ran down into the deeps ...
The Derelict of Death
Simon Clark and John B. Ford
TERROR TALES OF THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
The Scottish Highlands, picturesque home to grand mountains and plunging glens. But also a land of bitterness, betrayal and blood-feud, where phantom pipers lament callous slaughters, evil spirits haunt crag and loch, and ancient monsters roam the fogbound moors …
The Black Wolf of Badenoch
The deformed horror at Glamis
The witch coven of Auldearn
The faceless giant of Ben Macdui
The shrieking voices on Skye
The feathered fiend of Glen Etive
The headless killer at Arisaig
And many more chilling tales by William Meikle, Helen Grant, Barbara Roden, Carole Johnstone, DP Watt and other award-winning masters and mistresses of the macabre.
Skye’s Skary Places – Ian Hunter
Phantoms in the Mist
The Dove – Helen Grant
Prey of the Fin-Folk
Strone House - Barbara Roden
The Well of Heads
Face Down In The Earth – Tom Johnstone
The Dreaming God Is Singing Where She Lies - William Meikle
The Curse of Scotland
The Housekeeper – Rosie Seymour
From Out The Hollow Hills
The Executioner - Peter Bell
Saurians of the Deep
You Must Be Cold - John Whitbourn
The Fellow Travellers – Sheila Hodgson
Shelleycoat – Graeme Hurry
The Other House, The Other Voice – Craig Herbertson
The Mull Plane Mystery
Myself/Thyself - DP Watt
Broken Spectres - Carl Barker
The Big Grey Man
Jack Knife – Gary Fry
Tristicloke the Wolf
The Foul Mass At Tongue House - Johnny Mains
The Drummer of Cortachy
There You’ll Be – Carole Johnstone
A person must be a brute if he can sit of an evening warming his hands over the fire and know that under the stone upon which his buckled shoe rests is the mouldering body of his own child. How could he stand the evil scent that must have seeped from under it, rising on the warm air?
“Oh, there are all sorts of vague tales about weird voices, climbers’ ghosts, and so on – the winds make peculiar sounds howling round the crags. But the only creature linked specifically with the Cuillin is the Uraisg. There’s a corrie and a pass named after it. It’s supposed to look like a goat in a man’s shape, all shaggy, with sharp teeth and claws. Very frightening to behold.”
The collectivised farms were famine factories. It wasn’t just sheepdogs who worked seven days a week all their short lives. In the hamlets there were scaffolds: they sagged with examples bearing placards strung round stretched necks. From Lochgilphead I heard the crackle of a distant firing squad.
You Must Be Cold
TERROR TALES OF YORKSHIRE
Yorkshire – a rolling landscape of verdant dales and quaint country towns. But where industrial fires left hideous scars, forlorn ruins echo the shrieks of forgotten wars, and depraved killers evoke nightmare tales of ogres, trolls and wild moorland boggarts...
The stalking devil of Boroughbridge
The murder machine at Halifax
The hooded horror of Pontefract
The bloody meadow at Towton
The black tunnel of Renfield
The evil trickster of Spaldington
The shadow forms at Silverwood
In October We Buried The Monsters by Simon Avery
The Decapitation Device
The Coat Off His Back by Keris McDonald
Haunting Memories Of The Past
They Walk As Men by Mark Morris
The Yorkshire Witches
On Ilkley Moor by Alison Littlewood
The Black Monk Of Pontefract
The Crawl by Stephen Laws
The Woman In The Rain
Ragged by Gary McMahon
A True Yorkshireman by Christopher Harman
The Town Where Darkness Was Born
All Things Considered, I'd Rather Be In Hell by Mark Chadbourn
A Feast For Crows
The Demon Of Flowers by Chico Kidd
The City Of The Dead
The Summer Of Bradbury by Stephen Bacon
Random Flight by Rosalie Parker
Death In The Harrying
The Rhubarb Festival by Simon Clark
The Crack by Gary Fry
The Boggart Of Bunting Nook
A Story From When We Had Nothing by Jason Gould
There was nothing hurried in his approach. It was a steady methodical pace, holding that scythe casually down at his side. His idiot, grinning scarecrow's face was fixed on me as he moved. There was no doubt in my mind as he came on.
He meant to kill me.
As I went, the old tune became the background to my steps, the refrain to my thoughts. I remembered us singing it, the story of comic cannibalism where the man caught his deeath o' cowd, was buried and eaten by worms, which were eaten by ducks, which were eaten by the people. I never knew who the 'we' in the song was supposed to be, the singers or someone else, and now I wondered.
On Ilkley Moor
The figures were so thin that they could not possibly be alive. There was a suggestion of clothes hanging on narrow frames, flesh drooping on bone, eyeless sockets beneath the mourning rags. Air hissed dryly through grizzled throats. Rotten feet shuffled on the soft ground.
TERROR TALES OF WALES
Wales – ‘Land of my Fathers’, cradle of poetry, song and mythic rural splendour. But also a scene of oppression and tragedy, where angry spirits stalk castle and coal mine alike, death-knells sound amid fogbound peaks, and dragons stir in bottomless pools …
The headless spectre of Kidwelly
The sea terror off Anglesey
The soul stealer of Porthcawl
The blood rites at Abergavenny
The fatal fruit of Criccieth
The dark serpent of Bodalog
The Christmas slaughter at Llanfabon
And many more chilling tales by Stephen Volk, Tim Lebbon, Simon Clark, Priya Sharma, John Llewellyn Probert and other award-winning masters and mistresses of the macabre.
Under The Windings Of The Sea by Ray Cluley
Legions of Ghosts
Old As The Hills by Steve Duffy
The Beast of Bodalog
The Druid's Rest by Reggie Oliver
Night Of The Bloody Ape
Swallowing A Dirty Seed by Simon Clark
The Devil Made Him Do It
The Face by Thana Niveau
Hoof-Beats In The Mist
Don't Leave Me Down Here by Steve Lockley
The Werewolf Of Clwyd
Matilda Of The Night by Stephen Volk
The Goblin Stone
The Sound Of The Sea by Paul Lewis
A Quick Pint And A Slow Hanging
The Flow by Tim Lebbon
The Offspring by Steve Jordan
Prophecy Of Fire
Dialled by Bryn Fortey
The Dark Heart Of Magnificence
The Rising Tide by Priya Sharma
The Hag Lands
Apple Of Their Eyes - Gary Fry
Beneath The Sea Of Wrecks
Learning The Language by John Llewellyn Probert
Some went on two legs, some went on four: there were dozens of them, and they seemed to come from everywhere at once, above, below, and all around. The whole chapel was alive with pattering and scuffling and soft thuds, and everywhere a kind of hissing, panting sound, horribly wet somehow ...
Old As The Hills
Learning The Language
John Llewellyn Probert
Matilda Of The Night
TERROR TALES OF THE SEASIDE
The British Seaside – golden sands, toffee rock, amusement arcades. But also the ghosts of better days: phantom performers who if they can’t get laughs will get screams; derelict fun-parks where maniacs lurk; hideous things washed in on bitter tides …
The death ships of Goodwin
The killer clowns of Bognor
The devil fish of Guernsey
The Night Caller of St. Derfyn
The Black Mass at North Berwick
The grisly revenge at Brighton
The tortured souls of Westingsea
Holiday From Hell by Reggie Oliver
The Eerie Events At Castel Mare
The Causeway by Stephen Laws
The Kraken Wakes
The Magician Kelso Dennett by Stephen Volk
Forces Of Evil
A Prayer For The Morning by Joseph Freeman
Hotel Of Horror
The Jealous Sea by Sam Stone
The Ghosts Of Goodwin Sands
The Entertainment by Ramsey Campbell
The Horse And The Hag
The Poor Weather Crossings Company by Simon Kurt Unsworth
The Devil Dog Of Peel
Brighthelmstone by R.B. Russell
The Ghouls Of Bannane Head
Men With False Faces by Robert Spalding
This Beautiful, Terrible Place
GG LUVS PA by Gary Fry
In The Deep Dark Winter
The Incident At North Shore by Paul Finch
The Walking Dead
Shells by Paul Kane
The Sands Are Magic by Kate Farrell
Wild Men Of The Sea
Broken Summer by Christopher Harman.
As he tugged the frayed cord to kindle the bare bulb, he heard a muffled giggle from the region of the bath. He threw his bag onto the hook on the door and yanked the shower curtains apart. A naked woman so scrawny he could see not just her ribs but the shape of bones inside her buttocks was crouching on all fours in the bath. She peered wide-eyed over one splayed knobbly hand at him ...
... they were now hip deep in the water. Getting deeper with each stride: chest-height, then shoulders. Was it Aaron's imagination or did he see his mum and dad's heads turn a little, just before they sank underneath the waves. Before they vanished completely.
In over their heads ...
At first it looked to me like a part of a doll. I reached for it, slowly, tentatively, uncertain whether Pluto might not make a savage bid for its recovery but he just stood there staring at me with his glassily malignant eyes. I picked it up and almost instantly dropped it. It was soft and cold, a real dead thing. It was a severed child's hand.
Holiday From Hell
TERROR TALES OF LONDON
The city of London – whose gold-paved streets are lost in choking fog and echo to the trundling of the plague-carts, whose twisting back alleys ring with cries of ‘Murder!’, whose awful Tower is stained with the blood of princes and paupers alike …
The night stalker of Hammersmith
The brutal butchery in Holborn
The depraved spirit of Sydenham
The fallen angel of Dalston
The murder den at Notting Hill
The haunted sewers of Bermondsey
The red-eyed ghoul of Highgate
And many more chilling tales by Adam Nevill, Mark Morris, Christopher Fowler, Nina Allan, Nicholas Royle and other award-winning masters and mistresses of the macabre.
The Tiger by Nina Allan
London After Midnight
The Soldier by Roger Johnson
Train, Night by Nicholas Royle
The Horror At Berkeley Square
The Angels Of London by Adam Nevill
Capital Growth by Gary Fry
The Black Dog Of Newgate
The Thames – Rosalie Parker
The Other Murderers
The Red Door by Mark Morris
The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
Undesirable Residence by Barbara Roden
Nosferatu In Highgate
The Horror Writer by Jonathan Oliver
Butchery In Bleeding-Heart Yard
Perry In Seraglio by Christopher Fowler
The Monster Of Hammersmith
Someone To Watch Over You by Marie O’Regan
The Black Death Returns
The Outcast Dead by David J. Howe
What Stirs Below?
The Bloody Tower by Anna Taborska
A row of figures, standing silently across the tunnel, with more jostling behind them, as if seeking the best vantage point. They were all dressed - if you can call it that - in sheets, and they all had that same look of gleaming white about the face and hands. There was also that same look of insane glee about their mouths, inasmuch as fleshless, toothless openings can be called mouths.
As the wheezing, threadbare creature stumbled towards him, Simon's screams were much the same as they had been on that rainy day all those years ago. Sawdust trickled from Rupert's empty eyes as it pawed weakly at his legs, the red stitches of its makeshift smile snapping open as it attempted to talk.
The Horror Writer
... having a day job at the Tower of London, Mr. Skeffington would have had ample opportunity to observe both instruments in practice. While the rack stretched people until their limbs were dislocated and then torn from their sockets, the Scavenger's Daughter compressed them - in a foetal position - until they bled from their orifices and their bones broke.
The Bloody Tower
TERROR TALES OF EAST ANGLIA
East Anglia – a drear, flat land of fens and broads, lone gibbets and isolated cottages, where demon dogs howl in the night, witches and warlocks lurk at every crossroads, and corpse-candles burn in the marshland mist …
The giggling horror of Dagworth
The wandering torso of Happisburgh
The vile apparitions at Wicken
The slavering beast of Rendlesham
The faceless evil on Wallasea
The killer hounds of Southery
The dark guardian of Wandlebury
And many more chilling tales by Alison Littlewood, Reggie Oliver, Roger Johnson, Steve Duffy and other award-winning masters and mistresses of the macabre.
Loose by Paul Meloy & Gary Greenwood
The Most Haunted House in England
Deep Water by Christopher Harman
Murder in the Red Barn
The Watchman by Roger Johnson
The Woman in Brown
Shuck by Simon Bestwick
The Marsh Warden by Steve Duffy
Beware the Lantern Man!
The Fall of the King of Babylon by Mark Valentine
The Weird in the Wood
Double Space by Gary Fry
The Dagworth Mystery
Wicken Fen by Paul Finch
Wolferton Hall by James Doig
The Wandering Torso
Aldeburgh by Johnny Mains
The Killer Hounds of Southery
Like Suffolk, Like Holidays by Alison Littlewood
The Demon of Wallasea Island
The Little Wooden Box by Edward Pearce
The Dark Guardian of Wandlebury
The Spooks of Shellborough by Reggie Oliver
He could feel the pull of the wolf strap, so imbued with its power had he once been, and its proximity, its calling, aroused the latent beast within him. He could hear voices, could smell his brother's sick sweat. His mouth flooded with saliva and he spat out a thick rope of drool onto the grass between his feet.
Paul Meloy & Gary Greenwood
When the body suddenly came loose, it turned over with such natural motion that Trevor thought the man might still be alive. But then he saw that where there'd once been a face there was now a jagged crimson cavity. The same was true of the chest. The guy had been hollowed out, gutted, reduced to a grisly shell by parasitic devils that had simply burrowed their way into him ...
Then I heard it - a quiet, furtive movement, magnified by the heavy silence. Something was dragging itself across the stone floor of the mausoleum.
Terror seized me. My heart went quiet. My throat clicked dryly when I tried to swallow. There it was again, a faint rasping sound, something pulling itself over the flagged floor - something hard - like wood, or bone.
TERROR TALES OF THE COTSWOLDS
The Cotswolds – land of green fields, manor houses and thatched-roof villages, where the screams of ancient massacres linger in the leafy woods, faeries weave sadistic spells, and pagan gods stir beneath the moonlit hills …
The flesh-eating fiend of St. John’s
The vengeful spirit of Little Lawford
The satanic murders at Meon Hill
The ghastly mutilation at Wychavon
The demon dancers of Warwick
The cannibal feast at Alvington
The twisted revenant of Stratford-upon-Avon
And many more chilling tales by Ramsey Campbell, Simon Clark, Alison Littlewood, Reggie Oliver, Joel Lane and other award-winning masters and mistresses of the macabre.
In the Dark And In the Quiet by Alison Littlewood
Fury From Beyond
Straw Babies by Gary McMahon
A Bizarre And Terrible Event
Charm by Reggie Oliver
The Grimmest Castle In England
Hoxlip And After by Christopher Harman
The Undead Who Wander The Wye
The Shakespeare Curse by Simon Clark
Oxford’s Black Assize
The Scouring by Thana Niveau
The Cannibal Feast
Wassailing by Steve Lockley
Bloodbath Under A Spectral Sun
The Silent Dance by Joel Lane
What Walks In Ettington Park?
Waiting For Nicky by Antonia James
The Satanic Slayings at Meon Hill
The Horror Under Warrendown by Ramsey Campbell
Worcester’s Most Odious Relic
The Lurker by Gary Fry
The Beast Of St John’s
The Cotswold Olimpicks by Simon Kurt Unsworth
God’s Dire Warning
A Taste of Honey, A Horror Of Stone by John Llewellyn Probert
Lovell’s Long Wait
Bog Man by Paul Finch
A couple of the younger men stepped forward from the gathering and lifted Carmichael up into the lower boughs of the tree, as he giggled uncontrollably. While he was held suspended in the tree, the men began to wind rope and ribbon around him, binding him to the tree, pulling the ropes tighter and tighter with each turn, until the two who had been supporting him could step away, leaving his legs thrashing ...
Hoxlip And After
Heads were bouncing across the floor. Sprays of blood splashed the walls. Other grisly images showed the hunchback drowning priests in the river, or burning thatched inns full of weeping townsfolk, or crushing what appeared to be soldiers between two huge circular millstones.
"Our Mr Hunchie broke out," Clive declared. "He got his revenge on Stratford."
The Shakespeare Curse
TERROR TALES OF THE LAKE DISTRICT
The Lake District – land of mountains and megaliths, night-black lakes and fathomless woods filled with spectral mist …
The eerie entity on Striding Edge
The living corpse of Croglin
The demented clown of Muncaster
The winged horror of Langdale
The drowned bride of Windermere
The hairy brute of Beetham
The nightmares on Burnmoor
And many more chilling tales by Ramsey Campbell, Adam Nevill, Simon Clark, Peter Crowther, Reggie Oliver, Gary McMahon and other award-winning masters and mistresses of the macabre.
Little Mag’s Barrow by Adam L.G. Nevill
The Mad Clown of Muncaster
The Coniston Star Mystery by Simon Clark
The Croglin Vampire
Devils of Lakeland by Paul Finch
The Mumps Hall Murders
The Moraine by Simon Bestwick
The Tawny Boy
The Claife Crier by Carole Johnstone
The Monster of Renwick
Jewels in the Dust by Peter Crowther
The Devil’s Hole
Above the World by Ramsey Campbell
Nightmares of Burnmoor
The Jilted Bride of Windermere by Gary Fry
The Horror at Carlisle Castle
Walk the Last Mile by Steven Savile
The Poltergeist of Walla Crag
Framed by Peter Bell
Night of the Crone by Anna Taborska
The Tortured Souls of Lord’s Rake
Along Life’s Trail by Gary McMahon
The Black Hound of Shap
Striding Edge by Reggie Oliver
... even though the limbs had the appearance of having been removed from another doll, or even a disabled child to add an unwelcome realism where they poked out from the stained and ragged christening gown that fell to its knees, it still wasn't the limbs that repelled her. No, the most unsettling facet of the doll was its hair. The heavy chestnut curls, reminiscent of Charles I's luxuriant wig, were undoubtedly cut from a real human head.
Little Mag's Barrow
The sound rent the breathless space wide. Not a cry this time, but a scream. A furious, joyous, malignant scream. Something reared out of the forest and onto the path. A fast scuttling horror on hands and knees. Black hidden flanks and pointed hood. The trees moaned, the path trembled, and It went on screaming. Scuttling forward and back, forward and back. Undecided.
The Claife Crier
The lamb let out a single terrified bleat and tried to turn away, but it never stood a chance. The humped shape under the scree hurtled towards it, loose stone rattling like dice in a shaken cup, and then rocks sprayed upwards like so much kicked sand where the lamb stood. Its bleat became a horrible squealing noise - I'd no idea sheep could make sounds like that.