Reviewed by Stewart Horn
Nathan Robinson is a young English horror author whose work is scattered around assorted ezines, websites and print magazines.Â This is his first published collection, so itâ€™s nice to spend more time in his world and get a feel for his style.
Overall, his prose is good â€“ simple and effective.Â His characters are convincing, situations original, and he does the scary stuff well.Â There is also a feeling that heâ€™s having fun with it, not taking it all too seriously.Â The darkest stories have snippets of humour and the more overtly comic pieces still have heart.Â There are themes he likes to return to (I always think thatâ€™s an indicator of what a horror author is scared of in real life): the fragility of family, what happens when itâ€™s no longer there, the subsequent loneliness.
I wonâ€™t talk about every story in detail, but here are some of my favourites.
‘The House That Creakâ€™d’ â€“ a post-apocalyptic love story, with ghosts.Â Shades of Bradbury and Bloch I think.
‘Top of the Heap’ â€“ A simple story about a gangster thrown into a pit with the corpses of his many victims, given huge emotional kick by virtue of excellent characterisation.
‘Not That Way Home’Â â€“ A blending of two urban myths, melded into a nasty EC style revenge tale.
‘The Skeleton Tree’ â€“ Three young men find a skeleton up a tree and later find out how it got there.Â A nice circular structure to this tale.
‘The Chicken in Black’ â€“ A merciless parody of the whole zombie genre, once again given depth by a brilliantly characterised protagonist.
‘Fallen’ â€“ A sentimental but uplifting fantasy that rounds off the book perfectly.
This is an author still finding his voice, but already with a good stock of ideas and the skill to put them across.Â Definitely worth a read.