I want this to be a platform for EVERYONE within the horror community; authors, publishers, bloggers, reviewers, actors, directors, artists. I could go on, if you work in the genre then you are more than welcome to apply for the job.
The rules are quite simple…
You are invited to imagine yourselves as warden for an old graveyard, and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
A new shift is about to begin. The warden for the week’s #GraveyardShift is…
The Hellbound Heart By Clive Barker
This is where it all began for me, really; my passion for a certain mythology. Before I saw the film version, Hellraiser, adapted and directed by its author, this set me on the path to a lifelong obsession with the mythos. It’s a story of obsession itself, essentially. Of a hedonistic man called Frank who is looking for the ultimate pleasure, which he thinks will come when he summons the legendary ‘Order of the Gash’; although his definition of pleasure is very different to theirs, as he soon finds out to his cost. There’s also obsession involved when his former lover, Julia, now married to his brother, discovers his remains – brought back from Hell by a few drops of blood. She sets out to restore him so they can be together, but this was never going to be a story with a happy ending whatever happened. Excellent writing that carries you along, fantastic characters – especially the female protagonist and antagonist who are two sides of the same coin – and a concept that was the jumping-off point for so many other tales… including some of mine. I was honoured to be able to adapt it into an audio drama a couple of years ago.
The Hound of the Baskervilles By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I’m a huge fan – as most people will have read when I did the publicity for Servants of Hell – of Sherlock Holmes in all his incarnations…though for me the definitive screen Holmes will always be Jeremy Brett. I came across the original Conan Doyle stories at around the same time as I did Clive’s work, which is probably why the two were forever linked in my mind, but my very favourite tale from the original canon is The Hound of the Baskervilles. It’s the definitive ‘horror’ Holmes, really, with a huge supernatural dog running around killing people… even if it did have a more earthly explanation at the end. I wholeheartedly regard it as a monster, even in that form! It certainly fired my imagination, and I was delighted to be able to bring the hound in question back to roam the corridors of Hell in my own Holmes novel. It was probably also, in part, responsible for RED (published with the sequel Blood RED by SST), as well as the obvious fairy tale influence. There would also be no Crimson Mystery without this one.
The Road By Cormac McCarthy
I’m a massive admirer of this McCarthy novel, and although I think the 2009 film adaptation did a cracking job of showing the harshness of this post-apocalyptic world, the book goes even further. It really gets into the heads of the characters and for my money is much more brutal. I absolutely love the way the focus is on the relationship between a boy and his father, under the worst kind of duress imaginable. The luxury trappings of the modern world are stripped away and it all becomes about the fierceness of love and keeping your loved ones safe; it’s something we’ve all had a little taste of during the pandemic this year. It’s a topic I find endlessly fascinating and have also explored myself in books like Hooded Man, The Rot, Blood Red Sky and others.
Frankenstein By Mary Shelley
The granddaddy of all mad scientist books and films, I first read Frankenstein when I was going through my period of reading everything genre-related back in my teens… What I call my real education, which included the classics, such as Dracula, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and, of course, Frankenstein. Actually, I first read all of them in one volume which had a lurid red and black cover and an introduction by none other than Stephen King. Without this one, we wouldn’t have had so many of my favourite tales and movies, like The Fly, Re-Animator, Splice and too many more to mention. What I absolutely love about this is the way Dr Frankenstein is so sure what he’s doing is right and it comes from a place of wanting to make the world a better place, only for things to go spectacularly wrong. The road to Hell and all that. On the flip side we have the monster who didn’t ask to be created, he’s this kind of outsider figure who doesn’t fit in, and never will. They create this tragic Yin and Yang which fuels the story and makes it so interesting. A truly ground-breaking tale, variations of which are still appearing today. Oh, and we caught the National Theatre stage production during lockdown starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, which was phenomenal, so if you haven’t watched that yet and ever get the chance…
The Rats By James Herbert
I’ve long been an admirer of James Herbert and his work, and feel very privileged that I got to know him before his untimely death. My last abiding memory of him was the signing he did for us at FantasyCon in 2012, where he took time to chat to everybody and was telling tall tales – what else would you expect? What Jim did here with his first chiller (a term he coined himself), The Rats, was take a tired horror trope and create something fresh that was copied again and again. The Rats was probably the first full-on horror book I ever read, and I loved it! The terrifying notion of these giant killer rats plaguing London sent shivers down my spine and had me checking under my bed and in the wardrobe. It still does, frankly. When it was reported a while ago that giant rats the size of dogs had actually been found, I said to myself: Jim was right all along! There was also the sense that when you were reading The Rats you were doing something forbidden. To be fair, I probably was – reading gore and sex scenes at such a tender age – but boy, was it a ride! I can’t mention The Rats, though, without including Lair and Domain, which raised the bar even higher. I’ll never forget the clever and emotionally draining way Jim handled wiping out an entire population at the beginning of the latter.
The Day of the Triffids By John Wyndham
I came to this novel in a kind of roundabout way, via the BBC adaptation in the ’80s starring John Duttine. That scared the living daylights out of me when I was a kid, but it also made me want to hunt out and read the book. Like 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, Triffids is a great example of SF commenting on the present-day and possible nightmare futures. In this instance, it’s where we might end up if we continue to experiment with cross-breeding plants and genetically engineering them. Okay, so the triffids are useful and valuable when everyone can see – their oil in particular – but what about when a comet in the night sky takes away most of the population’s eyesight and the little buggers escape? Then you’re definitely in trouble. I love this one not only because of the unique monsters, seared into my mind as those walking rubber creations from 1981 with ‘tongues’ that lash out and sting you, but also because it’s a great example of another post-apocalyptic scenario where people soon forget how to be civilised and society crumbles into mayhem. While I’m on, I can definitely recommend the official sequel by my old friend Simon Clark, The Night of the Triffids, which takes both the action and the horror to yet another level.
The Silence of the Lambs By Thomas Harris
To me, the serial killer, crime thriller, whatever you want to call it, has always been as terrifying as any horror novel. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the more mystery-based ‘whodunnit?’ type of book (Colin Dexter’s Morse novels, for example, hugely influenced my own Gemini Factor…), but I also have a soft spot – if that’s the right word – for more extreme crime fare. I could have picked books here by Mo Hayder, Boris Starling, Tess Gerritsen, Mark Billingham, Tania Carver/Martyn Waites… The novel I have gone for in this vein is what I consider to be the pinnacle of the police procedural/serial killer sub-genre, though. I have to say, I read this – back to back with Red Dragon – after seeing Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster strut their Oscar-winning stuff, so it was always them saying the lines, but there is so much more to the novel than the movie. More character background, more about Lecter and Starling’s relationship, more about the investigation, more… if you’ll pardon the expression considering Hannibal’s appetites, meat on the bones. Thomas Harris doesn’t write many books, but when he does he turns out belters.
The Chalk Man By C.J. Tudor
I’ve just raved about Caz’s latest book, The Other People, in my PL Kane newsletter, but for this Graveyard Shift I’ll go with her debut novel. If you haven’t read her stuff yet, then I urge you to get on board with it; they’re the perfect combination of mystery/crime and horror – and the fact this got the thumbs up from Stephen King himself should tell you something. Excellent characterisation here in a twisty story about a man haunted by his past and something that happened to him and his friends. There’s also a cracking ending, which took me totally by surprise the first time I encountered it, but I could also read the novel a hundred times and not get bored once.
Achtung Baby By U2
Handily this contains my favourite song of all time, ‘One’, and both of them caught me at a particular time in my life: when I’d just started art college, branching out creatively and finding my feet with painting, photography, filmmaking, sculpture and writing. It was the soundtrack of the art studio back then and I loved it from the moment I first heard it, so it reminds me of great times with wonderful friends – only a couple of which I’m still in touch with. From ‘Mysterious Ways’ to ‘The Fly’ and ‘Ultraviolet’, there’s not a song on this album I don’t cherish.
What else, but a Lament Configuration puzzle box… for in case I find myself at a loose end. Trust me, I won’t.
A man suffering from extreme grief finds that pieces of himself are going missing, while another attempts to cheat death in a very unusual and dangerous way…
One woman gets more than she bargained for during her pregnancy, while another is the target for a unique killer who must feast to survive…
And as one prisoner attempts to escape not only his pursuers but this reality, an unhinged individual attempts to build the perfect family bit by bit…
In this collection of thirteen tales from award-winning and #1 bestselling author Paul Kane (the BFA-Nominated Monsters, Before, The Storm), you’ll find every conceivable kind of Body Horror. This very special book also contains Kane’s first published story ‘Façades’, a novelette set in his PL Kane crime universe (Her Last Secret, Her Husband’s Grave) featuring a brand new PI, the scripts for the theatre version of ‘The Torturer’ (recently turned into a short film starring current Pinhead Paul T. Taylor) and the comic adaptation of ‘The Disease’, plus it comes with an introduction by John Llewellyn Probert (The Compleat Valentine, Made for the Dark) and stunning cover art by Les Edwards (Nightbreed, The Thing).
Get ready to be traumatised!
The Gemini Factor
IT’S A MIRACLE, PURE AND SIMPLE. THE MIRACLE OF TWIN BIRTH.
But in the city of Norchester, being a twin also marks you out as a victim. Because someone is killing them and stealing their body parts. It’s up to Inspector Roy Mason and his Sergeant, Deborah Harrison, to track down the culprit before they can strike again. Their only lead? A man whose own twin was brutally murdered by the killer. A man whose brother is now helping him from beyond the grave.
From the imagination of award-winning and bestselling author Paul Kane (The sellout Hooded Man, Before, Her Last Secret), comes a powerful novel, a supernatural whodunnit unlike any other – in which the very laws of the serial killer procedural are turned on their head. A novel which holds a mirror up to our very souls and asks us just who we are.
You might not be quite ready for the answer…
Paul Kane is the award-winning, bestselling author and editor of over a hundred books – including the Arrowhead trilogy (gathered together in the sellout Hooded Man omnibus, revolving around a post-apocalyptic version of Robin Hood), The Butterfly Man and Other Stories, Hellbound Hearts, Wonderland (a Shirley Jackson Award and British Fantasy Award finalist) and Pain Cages (an Amazon #1 bestseller). His non-fiction books include The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy and Voices in the Dark, and his genre journalism has appeared in the likes of SFX, Rue Morgue and DeathRay. He has been a Guest at Alt. Fiction five times, was a Guest at the first SFX Weekender, at Thought Bubble in 2011, Derbyshire Literary Festival and Off the Shelf in 2012, Monster Mash and Event Horizon in 2013, Edge-Lit in 2014 and 2018, HorrorCon, HorrorFest and Grimm Up North in 2015, The Dublin Ghost Story Festival and Sledge-Lit in 2016, IMATS Olympia and Celluloid Screams in 2017, plus Black Library Live and the UK Ghost Story Festival in 2019, as well as being a panellist at FantasyCon and the World Fantasy Convention, and a fiction judge at the Sci-Fi London festival. A former British Fantasy Society Special Publications Editor, he is currently serving as co-chair for the UK chapter of The Horror Writers Association. His work has been optioned and adapted for the big and small screen, including for US network primetime television, and his novelette ‘Men of the Cloth’ has just been turned into a feature by Loose Canon/Hydra Films, starring Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, You’re Next). His audio work includes the full cast drama adaptation of The Hellbound Heart for Bafflegab, starring Tom Meeten (The Ghoul), Neve McIntosh (Doctor Who) and Alice Lowe (Prevenge), and the Robin of Sherwood adventure The Red Lord for Spiteful Puppet/ITV narrated by Ian Ogilvy (Return of the Saint). He has also contributed to the Warhammer 40k universe for Games Workshop. Paul’s latest novels are Lunar (set to be turned into a feature film), the Y.A. story The Rainbow Man (as P.B. Kane), the sequels to RED – Blood RED & Deep RED – the award-winning hit Sherlock Holmes & the Servants of Hell, Before (an Amazon Top 5 dark fantasy bestseller) and Arcana. In addition, he writes thrillers for HQ/HarperCollins as PL Kane, the first of which, Her Last Secret and Her Husband’s Grave, came out in 2020. Paul lives in Derbyshire, UK, with his wife Marie O’Regan and his family.
Find out more at his site www.shadow-writer.co.uk which has featured Guest Writers such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris, Robert Kirkman, Dean Koontz and Guillermo del Toro.
Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulKaneShadow