Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Grieving Stones by Gary McMahon [5 stars]

From the Description
A small therapy group arrives at Grief House hoping that a combination of isolation and hard work will help them begin the healing process each of them so desperately needs.
But their presence has awakened something in the old dwelling. Something linked to the ancient stone megaliths at the rear of the property and a terrible crime, committed centuries before.
Before the weekend is over, the group will learn the secrets of the Grieving Stones, and come to understand the true meaning of transformation.

Publication Date: July 16, 2016

Publisher: Horrific Tales Publishing

Publication Length: 94 pages

I received an ARC of this novella in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this book.

The Grieving Stones is old school horror at it's finest. The setting is atmospheric and the story is filled with genuinely creepy moments making it a highly effective ghost story. The lush descriptions and folklore of the area around Grief House and The Grieving Stones give the story a fantastic sense of history that is reminiscent of classics like Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House or Matheson's Hell House. The main character, Alice, is fascinating to follow as she unravels the secrets of Grief House and the Staple sisters. The punch dummy was very unsettling but the 'Backwards Girl' is truly frightening, I may have nightmares about her. I was sorry to finish this phenomenal novella. I would have loved to spend more time being terrified by the ghosts surrounding Grief House. A highly recommended 5 star read.

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About the Author
Gary McMahon is the author of several novels and short story collections. His acclaimed short fiction has been reprinted in Best Of anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic. Latest releases include a novel called "The End" (NewCon Press) and a chapbook titled "There's A Bluebird In My Heart" (White Noise Press).

He lives, works, and writes in Yorkshire, where he shares his life with a wife, a son, two cats, a bicycle, too many books and DVDs, and an obsession with Shotokan karate. You can find out more on his WEBSITE and GoodReads

Praise for Gary McMahon
"The Concrete Grove is a tense, ghoulish, creeping horror guaranteed to give you recurring nightmares! Brilliant characterization, economic prose and with genius control of building tension, the climax of The Concrete Grove will leave you reeling! There's a new wave of brilliant horror writers - and McMahon's right there at the top of them." - Andy Remic

"Gary McMahon is one of the finest of a new breed of horror writers. His work combines spare, elegant writing with an acute sense of the growing desperation felt by those having to deal with the crime and crumbling infrastructure of our urban centers. Illuminating these themes with a visionary's sense of the supernatural makes THE CONCRETE GROVE one exciting read."- Steve Rasnic Tem

"Gary McMahon is a spellbinding storyteller. "The Concrete Grove" is as feverish and unnerving as it is gripping: a bleak orchard of humanity where you hardly dare to look at what dark things hang gleaming and winking in the branches of the trees." - Graham Joyce

"This book is an outstanding mix of urban horror and dark fantasy, hints of King’s The Dark Tower series, hints of Holdstock’s pagan fantasy but above all the realization of McMahon’s talents as the outstanding British horror writer of our times."- The Black Abyss

"Here is a book with horror oozing out of its very pores and McMahon lumps it all altogether to give his readers something that is deeply unsettling."- Graeme's Fantasy Book Review
"McMahon is another new/old name to be added to those leading the resurgence of British horror fiction. Like Conrad Williams and Tim Lebbon, McMahon has been active in the small and indie presses for years, but now that horror is hip again, these writers are breaking out into larger markets. Pretty Little Dead Things follows Thomas Usher, a man whose life is both ruined and transformed one night when he is involved in a head-on collision. While his wife and daughter die in the crash, Usher emerges with a gift: he can see the recently deceased. He investigates the murder of a businessman's daughter and the abduction of a child two cases that turn out to be linked. The story of a grieving man who hates life looking into various shades of human awfulness is always going to be relentlessly grim, but despite the miserablist tone, this is a compelling novel, the puzzle structure of the whodunnit remixed to great effect with the dread of the best horror. Not so much hard-boiled as hard-nuked, this novel puts McMahon firmly in the front ranks of the new wave of British horror."- Keith Brooke, The Guardian

"I loved it. Subtle, moving and beautifully written" - Michael Marshall Smith

"Gary McMahon’s vision is as bleak as a Yorkshire moor, but it glows with a wintry light that illuminates the dark we live in. His prose and his sense of place are precise and evocative, and his characters are as real as you and me. He’s one of the darkest
which is to say brightest new stars in the firmament of horror fiction."- Ramsey Campbell

" ‘Pretty Little Dead Things’ is a very disturbing read. Gary McMahon seems intent on taking readers through the looking glass and tearing down the walls between the living and the dead. He creates dark, hallucinatory images that burn in your brain forever. One very creepy dude, and this is his creepiest to date."- Christopher Fowler

"Gary McMahon’s horror is heartfelt, his characters flawed and desperate, and this book is a rich feast of loss, guilt, and redemption. His vivid ideas are given life in beautiful prose, and the book leaves you staring into shadows that weren’t there before. His talent shines, and is set to burn brighter still."- Tim Lebbon

"Thomas Usher is a great character treading a twilight world between Manhunter and Most Haunted; conflicted by grief, haunted by blame, a ‘magnet for ghosts’ who sees the skull beneath the skin. In Pretty Little Dead Things, Gary McMahon nails genuine horror as few British writers can
or dare. He gets under your skin, then burrows even deeper. Terrifyingly, dangerously, hauntingly so."- Stephen Volk (creator of TV’s Afterlife)



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