This is an outstandingly fun little book. It’s one of a series of anthologies, each focussing on a different area of England. I read this while on holiday in the Lakes and I got a delicious thrill from reading about places I’d been or was planning to visit.
For the opening tale, Adam Nevill’s writing is vivid and terrifying. Yet while I enjoyed his story, it didn’t leave me with the lasting unease that some of the others did. I believe I can attribute this to the fact that it was not focussed on a particular place that I could identify on a map, and so was too easy to distance yourself from once you’d put the book down (although it scares the hell out of you the minute you start reading it again).
I am not ashamed to admit that I actively avoided Claife after reading Carole Johnstone’s “The Claife Crier”. I’ve not read any of Johnstone’s writing before and I was surprised at how genuinely chilling the story was, the sense of isolation and hopelessness brilliantly built up. Simon Bestwick’s offering of “The Moraine” I felt was also worth a mention, with its frightening predator with a unique way of catching its prey. Once again, it proves that the monster is scariest when you don’t actually see it.
I enjoyed every single story in this anthology. All were well-written and each had something unique to offer, proving Finch’s skill at editing. If I have one criticism, it is a minor one for his own story, “The Devils of Lakeland”. I felt this would have worked better as a longer piece, although I still enjoyed the mystery of it.
Interspersing the fiction is a page or so containing a short piece of legend or folklore, written by Finch in the style of language you might find in a tourist book of local legends. This was an ingenious idea as, not only does it cunningly double the number of scares in the book, but it adds an air of believability to the fiction. These short pieces remind the audience that what they are reading are stories based on real places and, in some cases, real legends.
The Terror Tales series is steadily growing, with new titles regularly being added. So if the Lake District isn’t for you, there is bound to be a book out there focussing on somewhere you know and love. I would urge you to check them out. You’ll never be able to walk the paths and streets you know again without just a little bit of unease. This is perfect holiday reading.
Reviewed by Charlotte Bond
The Lake District - land of mountains and megaliths, night-black lakes and fathomless woods filled with spectral mist . . . This wild, mountainous region in northwest England is famous for its towering crags, deep woods and majestic lakes. It is still one of the most popular holiday destinations in the whole of the UK, particularly for climbers, hikers, campers and yachtsmen. But some corners of it are extremely remote and even now in the 21st century remain wreathed in rural mystery and spooky superstition . . . This brand new anthology, edited by master of chills, Paul Finch, contains ten works of original horror fiction all set in England's haunting Lake District, and three classic reprints. It also features numerous anecdotal tales concerning true incidents of Lakeland terror which will ensure you'll never regard that scenic part of the world in the same innocent light again . . . New stories from Adam Nevill, Gary McMahon, Simon Clark, Simon Bestwick, Reggie Oliver, and eight other masters of modern horror.
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Charlotte has had several short stories published in various formats from print to electronic and even audio. She has a novella out with Screaming Dreams publications, and a short story anthology due out this year. She is currently working on a novel and some radio productions.
Charlotte is thrilled to join the Ginger Nuts of Horror team, and is looking forward to indulging in two of her favourite things - reading new books and spouting opinions.
Originally from North Yorkshire, Charlotte now lives in Leeds and that's as far south as she's prepared to go. She is married and lives with a small child and a very fluffy cat. One of them is a small bundle of hurricane-level energy which tears up everything it passes; the other leaves hairballs wherever it sits. It is left up to the reader to decide which is which.