{Graveyard Shift} Paranormal Thriller Writer Anthony Steven, Author Of ‘Birth Rite’ Is This Week’s Warden.

You are invited to look after the Kendall Reviews Cemetary, and to choose eight books, preferably horror/dark genre, to take with you to cover your shift; here you can discuss why you chose the books.

As well as the books, wardens are allowed one song/album to listen to. Again, an explanation for this choice is required.

You must also discuss one luxury item you can bring, which must be inanimate and not allow communication.

If you’d like to take part in The Graveyard Shift then please submit an application to gavin@kendallreviews.com

A new shift is about to begin. The warden for the week’s #GraveyardShift is…

Anthony Steven

Nine-year-old David Ryan is in mortal danger.

He has a deadly secret that is unknown even to himself. But there is someone that does know: a relentless killer born of hatred, who draws upon dark powers to destroy God’s chosen ones. He has a deadly secret that is unknown even to himself. But there is someone that does know: a relentless killer born of hatred, who draws upon dark powers to destroy God’s chosen ones.

As David grows into a troubled teenager, he has to confront the truth about himself to have any hope of stopping the malignant spread of evil that is engulfing his small town. He must accept his birth-rite, or the whole world will burn.

This post as the warden of a spooky old graveyard is probably way down on my list of desirable occupations. Unfortunately, I have an extremely vivid imagination which, while a positive characteristic as a writer, will definitely work against me as I look out over the tombstones in the dead of night; jumping at every shadow and starting at every subtle noise. I will probably be a gibbering wreck by the end of my first shift. But here goes…

Books

The Waste Lands by Stephen King

Of all of the Stephen King books I could take into the graveyard, this would be my pick, simply because it’s my favourite novel in my favourite King series, The Dark Tower. The characters are like old friends to me: The Gunslinger, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, even Oy, the Billy Bumbler; engaged on an epic quest through nightmare landscapes as they battle dark magic, science that has turned insane and even fate itself. All in pursuit of the mythical Dark Tower that stands at the centre of space and time. Heady stuff indeed. This is a saga I’ve returned to over and over again, to immerse myself in this amazing world and brilliant, memorable characters.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

I absolutely love Gillian Flynn’s writing. To me it seems effortless, seamless almost, although I’m sure that this isn’t the case at all. I’ve picked this book because I love the juxtaposition of the story, which jumps from the narrative of damaged, unreliable Libby Day and then back in time to the 1990s and the horrific events that shaped her life. This was a period in America when satanic cults and ritualistic murders were a hot topic and Goth teens, in particular, seemed to be viewed with suspicion.

Floating Dragon by Peter Straub

Peter Straub’s prose can be poetic, understated even in terms of writing horror, and I’ve enjoyed several of his books in the past. Floating Dragon really gripped me, however, and stayed with me because of the way it made me feel, particularly during the scary parts. It was like being in a nightmare where reality was sludgy for want of a better word – in slow motion almost – and I found it extremely unnerving and effective as a reader. When violence and evil manifest in this book, it’s like a dash of cold water in the face because you don’t see it coming until it’s too late.

The Other People by CJ Tudor

I read the beginning of this book at the end of CJ Tudor’s previous novel, The Taking of Annie Thorne, and I could barely wait for it to come out. This was because, in the short excerpt, she had already presented a huge cliff-hanger in terms of the story that left me desperate to know what happened next. It’s typical Tudor. She has the ability to make me, as a reader, want to turn the next page constantly. She is the queen of the plot twist and I must say that in this book she outdoes herself. There seemed to be a jaw-dropping revelation at the end of every chapter and I didn’t see most of them coming. It’s a wonderful skill to possess and one that I’d love to hone myself.

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

This book has been featured before in Graveyard Shift, but I couldn’t leave it out of my list. I found this book during the first lockdown of the Covid pandemic and it really dazzled me with its fresh take on the horror genre. Jack, the most unreliable of narrators, is a flawed, compelling and completely relatable character for the twenty-first century. The story itself is fiendishly clever and Jason Arnopp delivers the denouement with a hammer blow that just left me wanting more.

Domain by James Herbert

This is the third book in the Rats trilogy, and when I read it in the mid-1980s, the threat of nuclear war was an ever-present thought in the consciousness of society. In the wake of watching the shocking BBC drama, Threads, it was something that certainly occupied my mind when there was a round of sabre-rattling between the USA and the Soviet Union as was. This book really played on those fears and threw huge, radioactive rats into the mix just to add to the horror. It was Herbert at his best; gritty, dark and shocking. I think Stephen King said of him that he put his ‘combat boots on’ when he wrote horror, and Domain was a perfect illustration of that.

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

I’m not sure how to describe this book, but I guess I’m not alone in that regard. All I can say is that I read it with an expectation that it was about a serial killer; that perhaps there was also a supernatural element to the story as well. All of this was dispelled as I ploughed through the story, baffled at some points but compelled to read on because of Catriona Ward’s sheer writing ability. At the end, I could only applaud what she did with this story and also be amazed by it.

Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

This last book is something of a departure in that it’s non-fiction and depicts real-life horrors suffered by the author in Auschwitz during the Second World War. I have included it because it is a book that affected me deeply while I was studying to become a psychotherapist. Frankl was working as a psychiatrist when he was rounded up by the Nazis along with millions of other Jews, but despite all of the appalling things that he witnessed, he never gave in to hatred and feelings of vengeance towards his captors. Instead, he trained his mind to take pleasure wherever he could in what his senses afforded him. He remained thankful for any food that he ate and savoured; glimpses of nature, acts of kindness and comradeship within the confines of the concentration camp. His spirit and personality remained remarkably untarnished by his experience, and as a therapist after the War, he developed his theories to help patients who were suffering their own traumas. A short but remarkable book.

Luxury Item

This would have to be a notebook and pen, which I know is two items strictly speaking, but I’d argue that one goes with the other. I like to write ideas for stories down when I get them, and I’m assuming that working in a graveyard would be quite a fertile breeding ground for inspiration in terms of spooky stories. The only problem with this is that I’d probably frighten myself to death in such an eerie setting.

Album

Spectres By Blue Oyster Cult

I love horror and rock music, so Blue Oyster Cult was a group that I gravitated to as a young person. I think that this album in particular grabbed me with its mixture of heavy riffs and sinister lyrics. With songs such as Godzilla, Death Valley Nights and Nosferatu included in the album, I think that you can get the feel of what these cynical New York rockers were all about. I often listen to BOC when I’m editing one of my books and they still engage me every time. Having said all of that, there’s a song on here called I Love The Night, which is about someone becoming a vampire, so I’m sure that I’d spend my entire shift looking over my shoulder after listening to that one!

Birth Rite

Nine-year-old David Ryan is in mortal danger.

He has a deadly secret that is unknown even to himself. But there is someone that does know: a relentless killer born of hatred, who draws upon dark powers to destroy God’s chosen ones. He has a deadly secret that is unknown even to himself. But there is someone that does know: a relentless killer born of hatred, who draws upon dark powers to destroy God’s chosen ones.

As David grows into a troubled teenager, he has to confront the truth about himself to have any hope of stopping the malignant spread of evil that is engulfing his small town. He must accept his birth-rite, or the whole world will burn.

You can buy Birth Rite from Amazon UK & Amazon US

Anthony Steven

I write mainly write horror and paranormal thrillers although I am probably the most squeamish of people when it comes to watching horror movies and normally watch the scary parts through my fingers. Why I write in this genre of fiction is therefore quite ironic, but I’ve always been attracted to horror and thrillers in all their forms, whether on print or large and small screen. I have early memories of secretly watching Appointment With Fear with my older brother on an old black-and- white portable TV on Monday night’s when we should have been asleep. The image of Christopher Lee crashing through French windows in the first Hammer Horror Dracula movie, with blood on his fangs chills me to this day!

Predictably, I am a huge fan of Stephen King, but also love writers such as Dean Koontz, Joe Hill, CJ Tudor and James Herbert. When I was a kid, I was fascinated and enthralled by Robert E Howard’s sword-and-sorcery tales of Conan The Barbarian and several other creations, and then by Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion series. These stories really fuelled my imagination and made me want to write my own stuff. When my older brother introduced me to Stephen King, I was soon lost in even darker worlds and I haven’t wanted to come out of them ever since. My books are, therefore, quite disturbing, gory at times, but I try to also litter them with characters who, while flawed, display the finer human qualities such as bravery, loyalty, and above all love of other people above themselves. I hope that you think that I have succeeded in this.

In my normal life I work for a charity that supports blind and partially-sighted people and I am also a qualified psychotherapist. This is all after spending twenty-five years in the private sector, where I wasn’t just unfulfilled, but also monumentally bored. Working with people directly to help them solve their own problems was definitely a better fit for me.

I live in Cheshire with my wonderfully patient wife and our small dog, Bailey, who loves nothing better than cuddles, food, and waiting until I’m relaxed of an evening before she demands some attention.

Visit the official website, www.anthonystevenauthor.com

You can follow Gary on Twitter @garytwigg1

1 Comment

Leave a Reply to Lisa Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.