a twisted Tales of the Unexpected that delights the reader with its playful use perverse horror.
Horror is a funny old genre; you can get as much satisfaction from a cerebral work of fiction such as Chris Kelso's Unger House Radicals as you can from a good old fashioned piece of pulp horror. It's what makes the genre so vibrant. And just when you think you have read it all, along comes horror's very own rapscallion Jasper Bark with a novella that will have you squirming with uncomfortable glee, as you reach for the sick bucket. Run to ground by Jasper Bark is a book that wears its pulp horror roots with great pride.
Jim Mcleod ( yes that Jim Mcleod) is a man on the run, from his past and his responsibilities. He has taken refuge in the village of St Leonards, where he lives and works in the local church's graveyard as a groundskeeper. Yes, Jim Mcleod has been transformed into Groundskeeper Willie. He keeps himself to himself and only counts Sloaman and the Church's vicar Reverand Power has the closest things he has to friends. Things have been going pretty well for him until a scientist shows up and wants to test his theory about the action of the moon's pull on the effect of the earth's morphology. Soon Jim is running for his life from creatures hell bent on ripping his world apart.
Run To Ground is best described as a fun-filled piece of glorious piece of over the top extreme horror. Bark is a sick man, not content with giving the characters of this book a nasty death; he has also given Mcleod one sick personality trait. I was genuinely chilled at the perverse things that my namesake got up to. Where he gets these ideas from I have no idea but I am glad he does. Mcleod is not an easy character to like; he is a coward and a fool, yet despite this you still root for him, even though you want to grab him by the shoulders and shake some sense into him.
The narrative mixes a breakneck pace with ancient monsters and even more ancient secrets, all capped off with a perfect twist in the tale with cameos from some of my dearest friends, I couldn't help but love this story. However, don't let this put you off, as the high writing as this fun filled monster caper is riotous read from start to finish. Run To Ground is a twisted Tales of the Unexpected that delights the reader with its playful use perverse horror.