Short Sharp Shocks! #50
David Charlesworth: Dark Corners
Reviewed By Richard Bell
Dark Corners by David Charlesworth, for A Short Sharp Shocks! series published by Demain, is a gritty, well-paced tale lavished with menace.
Drug addiction and its cataclysmic effects have been the topic for many books and subsequent movies. Often, the lifestyle is glamorous and exciting with excesses being glorified to the point of the ridiculous. The dealer, like the casinos, always wins.
This is not the case for the addict.
David introduces us to Paddy, the desperate addict and his frantic quest for the means to get his next fix. What transpires in his misadventure is theft, murder and an occult nightmare that drives home the phrase payback is a bitch!
The dialog is snappy and the imagery punchy with a truly grotesque description of supernatural barbarism that will whet the appetite of gorehounds everywhere.
If you like your horror crime, grime and slime then this is, undoubtedly, your fix.
Horror can take a lot of shapes and sizes. For some, it appears in the form of Patrick as he steps out from the shadows, Stanley blade in hand. For Patrick, however, the only thing he fears is not shooting up. So he finds himself scouring the darkest corners of the world for his next hit. Exploring those lost and desolate places that no man should disturb.
David Charlesworth Talks To Demain Publishing
(Originally featured on the Demain Publishing Blog 17th January 2020 HERE)
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Welcome to DEMAIN David – for those that don’t know you, can you please tell us a little about yourself.
DAVID CHARLESWORTH: I’m a 36-year-old Scouser who was born and raised on horror and the macabre by a family of like-minded misfits. Growing up my main passion was art, but unfortunately, I’ve never been able to fully express my feeling and what I see in my mind using a pencil and paints, so I turned to writing instead. I only really got into writing a few years ago―we were actively dissuaded from pursuing literary endeavours in my school.
DP: I really wish I could paint or draw but it seems I haven’t got the talent though I did buy myself a colouring book for Christmas so I’ll have to make do with that. What is your Short Sharp Shocks! about?
DC: Dark Corners is an unabashedly grotesque little tale about the worst humanity has to offer finding out that somehow, there’s something in this world worse than them.
DP: And your protagonists?
DC: Paddy is an amalgamation of multiple people I’ve known and had the displeasure of having to deal with. He’s his own worst enemy, which in turn makes him society’s worst enemy. Only he’ll never admit to it. His woes, his drug abuse, his thievery and murders and everything else… it’s always someone else who caused that to happen.
DP: Ah, I think we all know people like that! When writing Dark Corners did you have to do much research?
DC: With most of my work I think (and I hope this comes across) there is a sense of hyper-realism to everything. For example, there are some scenes involving police procedures in the story and whilst I’ve tried to keep it grounded, for the story to work some things aren’t quite ‘real’. If you catch my drift.
DP: Oh I do, don’t worry. With that in mind, were there any scenes which were particularly difficult to write?
DC: There are! I often feel bad writing gruesome ends for people, even when they deserve it. I often feel maybe I go too far…but then after it’s all said and done I often think maybe I wasn’t extreme enough.
DP: Ha! There’s always some room for a little bit of ‘extreme’ stuff in our work particularly if certain characters deserve it. Sometimes we shouldn’t hold back ha ha…anyway, creatively David what would you say was your biggest success to date?
DC: I self-published a few short stories a year or so ago. I released them unedited and it was just a huge mistake. However, the actual stories were exactly what I wanted to get out of my head and onto paper. They’re being cleaned up now for a re-release soon, hopefully. Lots of weird cosmic shenanigans and kaijus involved.
DP: Awesome, keep us updated with how that goes. Tell us about your inspirations…
DC: I was raised on Clive Barker and he’s absolutely an inspiration. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without the Books of Blood…well, probably a little more sane!
DP: They’re great aren’t they…stories you can return to time and time again. What would you say ‘horror’ means to you?
DC: Wonder. Awe. I love the idea of things being greater than what we understand or can perceive. Unfortunately as wondrous as those things are… nine times out of ten they’re utterly horrifying.
DP: So what scares you?
DC: I’m not afraid of anything. Not saying that to sound like a hardcase, but when I have nightmares I cherish them. Though if I wasn’t too stupid to ponder my own morality I’d probably say the fragility of the human body.
DP: Yeap – ain’t that the truth. So is there a book/film you’re looking forward to?
DC: Color Out Of Space if only to see how utterly bonkers Nic Cage is. That and The Lighthouse.
DP: I can’t wait for Color Out Of Space – not just because of Cage but because it’s directed by Richard Stanley, whose work I just love! We talked about creativity – is there anything you’d like to do but haven’t managed it just yet?
DC: I’m trying to get back into art. It just takes so much time and practice and all of my spare time is already taken up by writing. I’d love to draw my own horror comic one day. There’s so much to do and explore with the medium.
DP: Perhaps I need to take some lessons…two quick ones then. Marvel or DC?
DC: Dark Horse. Hahaha. And Hellbound Media, of course.
DP: Of course, of course! Finally then, what is something your readers might be surprised to find out about David Charlesworth?
DC: Despite looking like a serial killer I’m actually a nice bloke and I’d love to buy you a pint.
DP: Next time I’m in Liverpool, I’ll take you up on that offer! Thanks so much for your time David, it was a pleasure talking with you. All the best with Dark Corners.
You can find out more about David via www.hellboundmedia.co.uk
You can follow David on Twitter @lennylasher
Richard Bell is a poet and writer with a passion for the horror genre. He has work published by Weasel Press, Carmen Online Theatre, Night Gallery, The Horrorzine and the Fragments of Fear series on YouTube, under the name Rick Nightmare.
He lives in a sleepy hamlet in Northern England with his family and galloping insomnia.