Preview: Opening Scene to Carsun, by Jack Rollins

Preview: Opening Scene to Carsun, by Jack Rollins

I’ve been threatening to resurrect this project for a while now, and I think it’s time to dust it off again. Carsun is set in the fictional town of Tilwick, and is a rewrite of work I wrote in the early 2000s. I revisited Tilwick in the story Home, Sweet Home, in the Kill For A Copy anthology by Dark Chapter Press. In the coming weeks, Dark Chapter Press will also release my one-shot Hard Man, as part of their A-Z collection. This story too is set in Tilwick, but takes place later in Carsun’s chronology.

Before long, I’ll introduce you to the wealthy young entrepreneur Matt Carsun, but in the meantime, I thought you might like to read the opening scene of Carsun. Let me know what you think in the comments.

John Dillon closed the farm office for the night and locked the door behind him. He walked across the courtyard to the farmhouse door and entered the porch area. There he took off his Wellington boots and cap before stepping into the reception area.

“Penny,” he called.

Penny called back to him from the cozy, lamp lit lounge, prying her attention away from an American crime drama, “You ready for your dinner?”

“Aye, please. Sorry I got finished late. I thought I would have been able to eat with you all.” John tore open the Velcro fasteners on his green overalls. He slipped his broad, muscular shoulders free of the work clothes, revealing the grey t-shirt beneath.

Penny appeared in the reception and kiss him as she passed on her way to the kitchen. “You get any further forward?” she asked.

“No. You know me, I’m not brilliant with numbers.”

“Just go and ask him outright, then.”

John left the overalls gathered at his waist and followed Penny into the spacious kitchen. “It’s not that easy, Penny. Frank’s worked for me for years. I mean, what if I’m wrong? He’ll take some replacing.”

“Maybe that’s the problem,” Penny said, retrieving the plated dinner wrapped in foil, from the oven. “Maybe he’s been here so long he thinks he’s owed a little bit extra.”

Outside, the farm dog Finn howled.

“What’s wrong with that bloody dog?” Penny asked.

“He’s just having a howl,” John said. “What’s wrong with that?”

“Haven’t you heard him barking all night?”

“I’ve been in the office; how would I hear him?”

Penny took the foil off the dinner and placed it in the microwave oven. “Go and get him in while you have your overalls on. The kids will end up awake all night with him carrying on like that out there.”

John rolled his eyes and grumbled on his way back to the porch. He stepped into his wellington boots and pulled them until his feet, clad in thick, woollen socks, sank into place. “Bloody dog,” he muttered. Finn was an experienced working animal. It was unlikely that he had become excitable over a few rabbits in the fields. Maybe he’s losing it, John thought.

John fastened his overalls up and walked around the side of the house and descended the long concrete slope past the sheds, heading for the fields. “Finn!” he called.

The dog howled again, long and low.

“Finn! Come by!” he called. “Stupid bugger.”

John could hear that Finn was in the nearest fallow field, but could not see him through the utter darkness.

Finn continued to bark as John opened the gate a couple of feet, but stayed there, hoping he would not have to give chase across the field. “Finn! Come by!”

John heard Finn’s paws padding over the dry ground. He was sprinting by the sounds of it. The border collie suddenly appeared and ran through the gap in the gate John had made for him. He didn’t stop. John reached out and managed to get a hand to the dog’s coat as he shot past. He drew back his fingers and could see that they were covered in a dark liquid. He sniffed.


In the field behind him he heard something thudding across the ground, heading in his direction. What could it be? It sounded too big to be Scratchy the farm cat. It sounded too big to be a hare or a fox. This sounded like a man running towards him. He strained his eyes and moved through the gate into the field. “Who’s there?” he called.

No answer, just footfalls.

“Who’s that? Answer before I get the shotgun!”

Suddenly, his mind raced with paranoid thoughts that Frank was laughing at him, bragging to the rest of the men about how easy it was to steal from him. John’s no good with money. Help your bloody self! “Bastard!” he muttered.

With the distraction of the image of his old friend, he stopped concentrating on the rushing footsteps, until ice-cold fingers grasped him and pulled him down to the grass.

Finn barked and howled and Penny cursed the dog from the comfort of the lounge.

John screamed as fingers clawed his mouth wide open. Nobody heard except Finn, whose instinct to protect his master was overcome by the urge to flee in terror.


Want more action from Tilwick? Check out Home, Sweet Home in Kill For A Copy.

Review of The Signalman by Charles Dickens

Review of The Signalman by Charles Dickens

I picked up this tiny paperback edition in Waterstones in the Metrocentre in about November last year. My arms were full of books as gifts in preparation for Christmas and my daughter’s birthday. There, at the cashdesk, was a gorgeous little edition of this ghost story, in black with a mint-green foil embossed cover. It was £1.99 and I couldn’t resist. What better for Winter than a Charles Dickens ghost story?

Continue reading “Review of The Signalman by Charles Dickens”

Beware the Fearful Fathoms

Beware the Fearful Fathoms

Moments ago, I received some fantastic news. My story Once Tolled The Lutine Bell has been accepted to feature in next year’s Scarlet Galleon Publications release: Fearful Fathoms.

To say I am thrilled is the understatement of our age. Their Dead Harvest anthology is a fantastic tome of horror tales and I must admit to third degree burns of envy, in the knowledge that my friend and colleague Stuart Keane got himself a story in there, and I was far too late!

However, I made bloody sure I was ready for this one, with a Victorian tale of greed, betrayal, honour and revenge. There are some aspects of the story that connect to my other works, as those of you who have been with me for a while know, I do love a little Easter egg!

I’ll be sure to post more on this as I get more information from the publisher. But for now, I think a bottle of Broadside is in order!


Stuart Keane on Trick Or Treat Thrillers [Article]

Stuart Keane on Trick Or Treat Thrillers [Article]

Stuart Keane was recently interviewed for the Trick Or Treat Thrillers website, for the launch of his latest novella, Cine. In this in-depth piece, Stuart not only tells us about his fantastic new release, but he has some invaluable insights in there for horror writers. Take ten minutes out and enjoy.

Exerpt from the interview:

What gave you the idea for your book, Cine?

Cine was developed from a combination of different things. Once upon a time, many moons ago, I worked in a cinema. I was always amazed at the idea of working in a cinema, from a young age in fact, and I knew other people – people who applied for their ‘dream job’ – who shared this sentiment too. Who doesn’t like free movies, right? However, once you’re behind the scenes, once the curtain drops and the blinkers are removed, you realise that working in a cinema isn’t that fun, is not glamourous and it certainly isn’t a wise career decision.

Some of the people I worked with made the job a lot more difficult than it needed to be, and this was the prime catalyst for Cine, one that helped develop the dark undercurrent that runs throughout the book, and several of the characters.

To read the full interview, click here.

[Review] Ravensdowne by David Basnett

[Review] Ravensdowne by David Basnett

Let’s get the preliminaries out of the way, shall we? I’ve known the author for about 15 years now, so we’ve been friends for a good long while and compared notes on stories throughout our friendship. We have a loose collaboration in that sometimes I mention De Omori in some of my stories as a nod to him, and he sometimes mentions Tilwick in his stories as a nod back. We both appear in the anthology Kill For A Copy a horror publisher with whom we both have ties.

And after all that, I still hate this book. Just kidding! But you do need to know all of that before you read my honest review. David and I have always been clear on that, if the book isn’t up to scratch, we review and rate accordingly – it’s our duty as professionals to work that way.

Still here? Let’s get into it, then.

First of all, this book is the first adult horror outing for some characters set up across the Young Adult targeted Rise of the Vampire trilogy. I enjoyed that trilogy immensely, as do a great many other adults, so I was interested to see how he would make the leap into full-on adult horror.

Well, he doesn’t pull any punches, that’s for sure. David has operated on the fact that if you can read, you can read that the other books were ok for your teens, and this one isn’t aimed at them until they’ve grown up a bit.

De Omori, the vampire-hunting organisation of David’s work, send an operative to investigate a spate of brutal killings that have gripped the nation and spawned copycats. The investigation begins in north-east England and De Omori have specified that a disgraced policeman is reinstated to help on the case. That policeman, Will Hunter, seems to have an uncanny skill for seeing past the facades put up by the everyday human, and understands the darkness they keep inside. It gave him an incredible conviction rate until one fateful case ended his career for him. De Omori need him to use that skill once more and an uneasy partnership forms between Will and heroine of the original trilogy, Eve Evans, now a fully-fledged, battle-scarred agent.

Several characters draw us into Ravensdowne and as we wonder how an easily solved case related to the town of the title, all hell breaks loose and the duo are re-assigned. That’s when the story really kicks into gear and all of the unrelated characters you are introduced to start to click into place.

With the police overcome and the Army struggling to keep a lid on the disaster at Ravensdowne, only Eve and Will have the abilities needed to identify friend from foe. Of course, dealing with the foes is another matter, in a town devastated when the creatures who are the ancestor of the humanoid vampires are unleashed, spreading their venomous bite to create an army of blood-sucking killing machines.

Packed with suspense, splattered with gore and rammed full of action, Ravensdowne is one horror adventure you certainly don’t want to miss.

See more dead people – share your ultimate scares (Poll)

See more dead people – share your ultimate scares (Poll)

Last week I wrote about what I believe to be the best type of horror. Over to you. I’d love to know what your favourite sub-genres are in the horror spectrum. I’ve got a pretty comprehensive list below, just waiting for you to make your selections and share your thoughts.

You might even inspire me to start a new project – I love a challenge, so if there’s a popular category I’ve never tried before, I’ll give it a shot.

So go on, share what makes you tick and feel free to tell me about your favorite horror books, TV shows and movies in the comments section.

See my post: The Best Kind Of Horror