Book 40 – The Coffin Walk by Richard Farren Barber
When Harry leads a small gang of ghosthunters into The Coffin Walk they expect another quiet evening, but as a mysterious figure follows them, and eerie sounds escape from the recording equipment, the evening turns into something darker…
Writing about his Short Sharp Shocks! Richard Farren Barber said of his protagonists: “There’s a lot of history in this group. There are only four of them but they’ve been meeting for their ghost hunting trips for three years and they’ve fallen into an uneasy conspiracy where everyone has their own roles; Harry likes to think of himself as the leader and the others let him think that Steve is just a little apart from the other three and is immersed in his tricks and toys. And Amy…it’s a complex relationship between the narrator and Amy. “
Book 41 – The Straitjacket In The Woods by Kitty R. Kane
When Abi and Jay lose a game at Halloween, their friends have a challenge for them. Simply enter the deep forest where a legendary crazy woman named Pendulous Sedge is said to live, obtain a trophy and bring it back. Nothing, however, can prepare them for what they find after spotting a blood-covered straitjacket hanging from a tree…
Writing about her Short Sharp Shocks! Kitty recently said: “My story is a Richard Laymon inspired tale. It has been kicking around my mind for a long time, I wanted to explore family units with a difference, and spin a Laymonesque style twist within it. My main protagonist is a woman called Pendulous Sedge. It’s the name of a plant that I borrowed. She is my experiment with what can happen to misunderstood people when evil people get hold and abuse them. She is also a shining example of humanity and love in the face of severe horror.”
Book 42 – Heart Of Stone by M. Brandon Robbins
There’s a table in the basement, and there’s a heart on it.
A desperate lover has done a desperate thing, and it’s only the beginning.
Writing about ‘Heart Of Stone’ M. Brandon Robbins said: “I love to write because I love to create. I love creating characters and worlds. I love telling stories. I like maybe people feel something, be it fear or joy or even sadness. If you can make somebody feel something, then you’ve touched their life. There is power in that. In this tale, the protagonist wakes up in a basement to discover they’re tied to a chair and there’s a table nearby with a heart on it. What follows is a story of obsession and distorted views of love, with a heartbreaking act of desperation. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that there’s no happy ending. Monsters don’t deserve love.”
Book 43 – Bits by R.A. Busby
Elementary schoolteacher Nadie Denneby is having a terrible day. Not only has her car been wrecked on the way to work, but she feels like she’s falling apart―literally. At first it’s just a tooth. Then a finger. How many bits of herself can she lose?
Writing about her protagonist Nadie Denneby, R.A. Busby said: “I started thinking about her when I was nearing the completion of my novel. Around that time, I went to an elementary school for a workshop, an experience I found personally unsettling. Friendly flower-covered signs were everywhere: Don’t walk on the right side of the hall; cover your mouth; wash your hands; put your coat in the cubby; sit on the blue squares for circle reading and so on. When I had to use the teachers’ bathroom, I realized I’d come to the true heart of the place. The facilities were as I described them in the story, though I left out the Pottery Barn-style furniture. I started imagining the life of a teacher in this place that was all about regimentation, order, and of course, the complete denial of the female body. I thought, ‘Why, you wouldn’t even be allowed to possess something as embarrassing as toes, with all their clefts, much less anything else. Your body should be smooth all the way down, like Barbie.’ Around then, I had also been thinking of women’s invisibility. Women take on a kind of invisibility past their forties, and I toyed with my protagonist becoming invisible herself, but I didn’t like the idea because (ironically) the process of turning invisible would actually attract attention, and besides, how would you function? Could you still drive? That’s when I came up with the idea that my protagonist was literally falling apart bit by bit, a fact she would feel ashamed of and have to conceal. Nadie Denneby’s name is a double pun, actually, a combination of the Spanish word for ‘nobody’ and the Irish for ‘no one’ (duine ar bith). Throughout her life, Nadie’s obeyed the rules: she’s covered her mouth and walked on the right side of the hall, and as an elementary teacher, she’s instructed children to do the same. Finally, she comes to the realization that a lifetime of obeying the rules―of toeing the line, if you’ll forgive the joke―has brought her nothing.”
Book 44 – Last Meal In Osaka & Other Stories By Gary Buller
Swashbuckle Cove is a closed-for-repair boat ride in a dying seaside resort. Harry Bootle and his brother climb aboard for one last ride, but little do they know what lies beneath the surface. Or how hungry it is.
Last Meal in Osaka:
Influential billionaire Curtis Makin, bored of the finer things in life, books a table at the secretive and exclusive restaurant ‘Ouroboros.’ Will the experience be as good as he hoped? Or will ‘Ouroboros’ claim its pound of flesh?
Rise of the Chiggy-Pigs:
“Don’t touch, whatever you do,” dad said. “If you do, you might just turn into one.” They live at the bottom of the garden, in the cold damp, feasting silently on decay, but someone is about to disturb them…and learn a very important lesson.
Writing about Last Meal In Osaka & Other Stories Gary Buller said: “We have three completely different protagonists in this collection, from the innocent all the way through to unexpectedly nasty. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end very well for any of them…I had to dig deep [when writing the stories] recalling how I felt when similar experiences happened to me. I wouldn’t say this was difficult, but it did bring back memories, not all of them pleasant.”
Book 45 – The One That Knows No Fear by Steve Stred
The One That Knows No Fear: stuntman extraordinaire.
For young Timmy Wilson, this stuntman is his only reason for living. Every Saturday he watches as The One That Knows No Fear cheats death. Now, the stunt show is coming to his hometown and Timmy can’t wait to watch him perform in person.
A coming-of-age, cosmic horror story set in the 1970s, The One That Knows No Fear will keep your heart pounding long after the stunt has finished.
Writing about The One That Knows No Fear, author Steve Stred said of his protagonist Timmy Wilson: “The story really focuses on him. This is a boy who wishes for a father figure to be in his life and because it’s not there, he attaches to this specific Daredevil, the one they call ‘The One That Knows No Fear.’ Timmy really is an innocent kid who just wants to believe that adults are saints, which we all know is far from the truth.”