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Michael Marshall Smith (who dropped the “Smith” to write The Straw Men) lives in north London with his wife Paula, and is currently working on screenplays and his next book, while providing two cats with somewhere warm and comfortable to sit.
Michael Marshall Smith's surreal, groundbreaking, and award-winning debut which resonates with wild humour interlaced with dark recollections of an emotional minefield. May we introduce you to Stark. Oh, and by the way - good luck. Stark is the private investigator who goes to work when Something Happens to you. And when a Something happens it's no good chanting 'go away go away go away' and cowering in a corner, because a Something always comes from your darkest past and won't be beaten until you face it. And that's not easy in a city where reality is twisting and broken, a world in which friends can become enemies in a heartbeat - and where your most secret fear can become a soul-shredding reality. And the worst of it is, for this nightmare you don't even have to be asleep...
Following on from the quite brilliant The Straw Men comes another high calibre, tense and chilling serial killer tale with those who survived still in the sights of the powerful strawmen. Itâ€™s the lonely and desperate against the unknown, something Michael Marshall is particularly good at. I cannot praise it enough. I donâ€™t know if Science Fiction thrillers are to your taste but you might be interested to know that Michael Marshall is also Michael Marshall Smith, the author of four outstanding futuristic works of which I would particularly recommend Only Forward - and he is British.Comparison: Harlan Coben, Thomas Harris, Michael Connelly.Similar this month: Lee Child, Chris Ryan.
Stark lives in Colour, a neighbourhood whose inhabitants like to be co-ordinated with their surroundings - a neighbourhood where spangly purple trousers are admired by the walls of buildings as you pass them. Close by is Sound, where you mustn't make any, apart from one designated hour a day when you can scream your lungs raw. Then there's Red - get off at Fuck Station Zero if you want to see a tactical nuclear battle recreated as a sales demonstration. Stark has friends in Red, which is just as well because Something is about to happen. And when a Something happens it's no good chanting 'Duck and cover' while cowering in a corner, because a Something is always from the past, Stark's past, and it won't go away until you face it full on.
An unpredictable, poignant, and captivating tale for readers of all ages, by the critically acclaimed author of Only Forward. There are a million stories in the world. Most are perfectly ordinary. This one... isn't. Hannah Green actually thinks her story is more mundane than most. But she's about to discover that the shadows in her life have been hiding a world where nothing is as it seems: that there's an ancient and secret machine that converts evil deeds into energy, that some mushrooms can talk - and that her grandfather has been friends with the Devil for over a hundred and fifty years, and now they need her help.
There are a million stories in the world. Most are perfectly ordinary. This one isn't. Hannah Green actually thinks her story is more mundane than most. But she's about to discover that the shadows in her life have been hiding a world where nothing is as it seems: that there's an ancient and secret machine that converts evil deeds into energy, that some mushrooms can talk and that her grandfather has been friends with the Devil for over a hundred and fifty years, and now they need her help.
Now a BBC America original television show by the writer and executive producer of The X-Files!For ex-cop Jack Whalen, it all begins with a visit from a childhood friend, a lawyer who needs Jacks help. The family of a noted scientist has been senselessly, brutally murdered, and the scientist is nowhere to be found.But Jack has more pressing concerns. The past that drove him from the L.A.P.D. continues to haunt him. And his wife has disappeared during a routine business trip to Seattle. She never checked into her hotel. She isnt answering her cell phone. She is gone.A third missing person, a little girl from Oregon, is found miles away. But it soon becomes obvious that she is not an innocent victim and far from defenseless.Something very strange is happeninga perplexing series of troubling events thats leading Jack Whalen into the shadows. And the secrets buried there are unlike anything he, or anyone, could possibly have imagined.
Taken from The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 22, edited by Stephen Jones.As Smith recalls: "e;This story came about in the simplest way, the way I always enjoy most - something happening in real life that makes you think 'What if?' "e;Our household gets a lot of its food via an online delivery service, and one day when I was unpacking what had just been dropped at our house I gradually realised there was something...not quite right about the contents of the bags."e;There's two things that are strange about that experience. The first is that - given that every household is likely to buy at least some things in common - you don't realise straight away that you've been given the wrong shopping. You don't immediately think 'This is wrong', more like . . . 'This is weird'. The second is how personal it is, gaining accidental access to this very tangible evocation of some other family's life. You can't help but wonder about the people the food was really destined for."e;In real life, I just called up the delivery guy and got it sorted out: but in fiction, you might tackle things slightly differently . . ."e;
What Happens When You Wake Up in the Night - Michael Marshall SmithFor Michael Marshall Smith, this was one of those stories that dropped straight into his head, but the problem was that he didn't want it: "e;It wasn't an idea I liked. It was clearly some part of my brain serving up a notion simply because it could, and because it knew it could frighten me with it."e;It did frighten me, and so I did what I always do when that happens - which is write it down, in the hope it will go away."e;Respects - Ramsey Campbell"e;'Respects' was suggested by a local incident in which a car thief in his early teens killed himself while fleeing the police,"e; recalls Campbell. "e;A lamp standard at the site of his demise is still decorated with flowers years after the incident, and the tributes on the obituaries page of one Wallasey newspaper were at least as grotesque as the ones I've invented - the romanticisation of a petty criminal.Cold to Touch - Simon Strantzas"e;Stories often find their origins in unexpected ways,"e; Strantzas reveals. "e;I was inspired in this case by a photograph of a Zen garden I once used as my computer's desktop background."e;There was something there in the coldness of the photograph, something that brought to mind the barren vistas of the Canadian Arctic, which ended up being the perfect setting for my tale of tested faith."e;The Reunion - Nicholas Royle"e;'The Reunion' is based on actual events,"e; reveals the author, "e;but the story only really came into focus for me when I was invited to contribute to Ellen Datlow's Poe anthology."e;Poe is brilliant. I was at a conference recently where a teacher revealed that she had read Poe's 'The Black Cat' to a lecture theatre full of schoolchildren. She switched off all the lights and used a torch to read by. A number of parents lodged complaints, which she took as a measure of the event's success. My tale is inspired by a different Poe story."e;Granny's Grinning - Robert Shearman"e;I love Christmas,"e; says Shearman. "e;Always have done, and always a bit too passionately. The intensity with which I loved Christmas was delightful when I was eight years old, slightly unusual by the time I was eighteen, and increasingly disturbing thereafter."e;I was the last one to grow up. It suddenly dawned on me one year, looking into the faces of my parents, and of my sister, that they were all older, and fatter, and less and less festive. And that they were trying so hard to keep me happy each Christmas, pretending they wanted all those presents I'd bought, all those sausage rolls and Quality Street chocs. That what I was trying to do, each December, was somehow reach back into the past and resurrect a time that was dead, that was long dead."e;I still love Christmas. But now I recognize - as I still make them perform party games, as I still make them open their gifts and smile and say thank you - that they're zombies now. All of them, zombies. I'll never get my childhood back again, not really, or the innocence of that family get-together. So I'll make do with the dead, and pretend."e;This is a story all about that."e;In The Garden - Rosalie Parker"e;'In the Garden' was written after I challenged myself to write a horror story about gardening,"e; explains the author. "e;It emerged more quickly and easily than anything I've ever written. I think of it more as a prose poem than a story."e;
Talking fridges, human clone farms, flying shopping malls - we must be in the Michael Marshall Smith zone. A world all too close to our own... Spares - human clones, the ultimate health insurance. An eye for an eye - but some people are doing all the taking. Spares - the story of Jack Randall: burnt-out, dropped out, and way overdrawn at the luck bank. But as caretaker on a Spares Farm, he still has a choice, and it might make a difference...if he can run fast enough. Spares - a breathless race through strange, disturbing territories in a world all too close to our own. Spares - it's fiction. But only just...
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