The last in my 3 collections of horror tales is free on Amazon Kindle for the whole of today and Sunday. Like its two sister books, The Books of Shadow: Volume III only contains stories that have previously seen print, and includes fiction from Weird Tales, Midnight Street, and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
I'm very fond of letting you know when things are going well, aren't I? And so it's only fair that I cop to it as well when I occasionally mess up.
I was having at look at the template documents for my triple collection of horror stories on Kindle -- THE BOOKS OF SHADOW -- a few days back and realized that I'd let a formatting mistake slip through. And that's a shame, because these three books represent the best of my dark fiction over more than 30 years, the very oldest in the series being 'Headlamps' from The 14th Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories back in 1981.
And so I promptly sat down and fixed the error. All three books are now properly formatted, and have brand new linked tables of content and publication info about every story.
While the Dew on the Kudzu literary blog adds: "Filled with Voodoo, 200 year old curses, beautiful ghosts and the nightclubs of Havana, the story sucks you in." And I learned justyesterday that both TROPIC and my short story 'The Hunting Party' (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, October) have won nominations for Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards.
A weird coincidence, this. No sooner had I finished reading -- and loving -- Dashiell Hammett's The Dain Curse than a discussion sprang up about the guy on a site I regularly visit, The Book Corner on Kindleboards. And it's great to see ebook readers taking such an interest in the fellow, because Dash Hammett is something of a hero of mine. Not only was he a terrific writer, he was a fascinating individual into the bargain.
As has already been pointed out, he served in both wars, and is buried at Arlington as a result. According to his long-term on-off partner, the playwright Lillian Hellman (whose memoir Pentimento is well worth a look as well) army life quite suited his temperament. Unlike the vast majority of crime writers, Hammett actually was a professional private detective before he hit the typewriter, one of the top agents for Pinkerton's, so adept at his job that he once demonstrated to a reporter how to follow someone not from behind but from in front. Sheesh! He finally quit that job and took up writing when Pinkerton's started getting into strike-breaking, which went heavily against his principles.
He served time in jail during the McCarthy era for refusing to cooperate with HUAC. And such was the respect the man commanded that the prison guards didn't call him 'pinko' or suchlike, they called him 'sir.' And he wrote screenplays as well as novels and short stories, earning himself a small fortune in a bare couple of years.
If you want to know more about him, then I heavily recommend Shadow Man: the Life of Dashiell Hammett by Richard Layman. And if you ever find yourself in San Fran, you can go on a genuinely enjoyable Dashiell Hammett Tour. DH wasn't a perfect human being by any means, and would never claim to be so. But he was a far more interesting man than any other half a dozen writers you could put in the same room.
I'm usually far more of a jazz fan than a folk music fan. But just last week, some friends of mine persuaded me to come and listen while Norwegian Hardanger fiddle virtuoso Annbjorg Lien and Swedish guitarist Roger Tallroth treated us to a straight ninety minutes of Scandinavian folk. It was staged as part of the London Jazz Festival, ironically enough. And they were brilliant, magical, carrying you away on ever-ascending spirals of song, rhythm, and melody. A spellbinding evening. Catch them if they ever come your way.
And to make it even better, it all took place at a venue that I've never visited before, a terrific arts center called King's Place on York Way, very nicely designed and laid out and with a cafe backing out onto a houseboat filled cutting of the Regent's Canal, so that the evening was memorably picturesque as well. I wish I'd taken my camera along, and shall next time. And all this in an area of London -- north of King's Cross station -- which had quite a nasty reputation not so long ago, a grubby red-light district and the scene of gang fights and some pretty notorious crimes. Some people believe that gentrification is a bad thing. I'm not one of them.
My latest collection of short fiction -- my seventh -- is now available for preorder from Dark Renaissance Books. THE UNIVERSAL AND OTHER TERRORS has eleven stories and a novella, with fiction from Hitchcock's, The Black Book of Horror, Scheherazade and Midnight Street, and includes five brand-new stories -- Aegea, Under the Shroud, Covered Mirrors, The Visitors in Marvell Wood, and the title story -- that see their very first publication in this book.
As well as painting the cover, the terrific M. Wayne Miller had illustrated every individual story ... you can take a look at some of those on the art gallery of my website.
And here's the back cover material for the book:
What could be so bad about a golden Greek beach with scores of beautiful young
people lying on it? Where could be the danger in a perfectly normal-looking
southern English seaside town? Or an even more ordinary town out in the Nevada
desert? An old, abandoned building on a rocky shore…what could be awful about
that? Discover the truth behind the origins of Abraham van Helsing. Find out how a
decrepit old man continues to attract beautiful young women. Learn about the
real link between crows and the Grim Reaper. Travel a few decades into the
future and see a fresh and modern Africa…and the menace that still lurks there.
Here are twelve new stories, five of them previously unpublished and unique to
this collection, that will open your eyes to the hidden terrors in the world
around us. Read them at your peril. Praise for Tony Richards “A hell of a writer, one of today’s masters of dark fiction.” Mario
Guslandi, Horror World “Richards is a master at combining horror, fantasy and humor in a way
that will mesmerize readers from cover to cover.” Rhomylly Forbes, Romantic
Times Book Reviews “The rest of us stand on the sidelines with eyes wide open at his audacity
and wonder what he’ll do next.” Peter Tennant, Black Static
“…Richards creates something unique.” Clay Bye, Alternative Reads
THE UNIVERSAL is only available as a collector's edition at the moment, but a trade paperback edition will be along soon. You can find out more more it here.
The reviews for my new novel – TROPIC OF DARKNESS, a
supernatural chiller from Schusters/Pocket (see my posting on this blog for 29the
September) – have started coming in.
The first review on Amazon gives it 5 stars.
The Monster Librarian says: “Tropic of
is a well-crafted tale, and well worth reading. I rate this work as
Highly Recommended for adult readers.”
The Don d'Ammassa's Horror Reviews site says: “This is a rapidly paced story with supernatural
incidents to add suspense along the way. The underlying mystery and the fast
paced plot complement each other admirably.”
And Crossroad Reviews adds: “Last
year I had started to expand on what I was reading. And it’s (because of) books like this
one that I am so happy that I decided to go ahead and do that! This is a deff
must read and why not pick it up!”
A few postings back, I confidently predicted that Michael Douglas would be nominated for, and even win, an Oscar for his performance in Behind the Candelabra. But now I've been informed it can't be so. I already knew that that particular biopic started out its life as a TV movie ... what I didn't know is that disqualifies it for an Academy Award.
So much for my matchless powers as a fortune teller. Does anybody know of someone who can fix a crystal ball? My one doesn't seem to be working properly.
If you've ever visited this blog before, then you're quite familiar with the following words: "It may look like a perfectly ordinary New
England town, a little larger than most. But Raine’s Landing, Massachusetts,
holds some very dark secrets. The real witches of Salem fled here just before
the Trials of 1692, and the place has been full of magic – the good and the bad
kind – ever since. And a curse hangs over the whole population … there are so
many people because nobody born here can ever leave."
Well, they're all still stuck there, troubleshooter Ross Devries, his sidekick Cassie Mallory, Doc Willets, police lieutenant Saul Hobart, high witch Emaline Pendramere, Judge Samuel Levin and the whole other crew, including master magician and arch-loon Woodard Raine himself. And in the fifth book in the series, they are facing down worse trouble than they've ever seen before. Here's the description:
early February, and the town should still be in the grip of winter. But the air
has turned unseasonably warm and an unexpected thaw has come. And as the snows
begin to melt back, bodies start to be discovered, murdered human corpses, each
with strange ritual markings carved into their flesh.
another serial killer is suspected, but it is not that. The markings are
satanic ones. Somebody inside the town is practising black magic of the foulest
kind. Demons have been summoned, dark spells cast, doorways opened into deeper
realms. And then the Landing’s adepts start to be attacked.
his sidekick, Cassie Mallory, unable to help him, ex-cop Ross Devries is facing
the toughest and most brutal fight of his entire life. Because this time, he is
battling the Hordes of Hell."