The Respectable Face of Tyranny by Gary Fry

What monsters used to achieve with claws, they now manage with pens . . . Three years ago, Josh lost a lot of money on the unforgiving stock market. Now he’s divorced and living with his teenage daughter in a seaside caravan. Sally wants a tattoo; Josh just needs work. For solace, he explores Saltwick Bay, a secluded stretch of beach whose cliff-side rock runs back to the ruthless Jurassic periods. There’s also a rotting boat there, leftover from the violent Second World War. But when eerie creatures appear at night, dancing in the silent bay, Josh’s mind starts turning along unfathomable tracks, which may lead right back to the birth of tyranny . . . Gary Fry’s new novella channels the spirit of Algernon Blackwood and other great masters of the weird tale, summoning forces from this world and others in a relentless symphony of unease.


Regular readers of this blog will aware of my great affection for all things Spectral Press.  Simon’s line of excellent chapbooks, has not only shown the amazing breadth of talent out there, it has also shown Simon to be a man a great taste, who puts a great deal of love and attention into producing a quality chapbook that does the story within justice.  So now we come to Spectral Press’s first foray into the longer novella field, can Simon keep up the great work?  Of course he can.

From the beautifully bleak, simplistic and evocative cover, you just know you are in for a satisfying read.  In terms of tone and style The Respectable Face of Tyranny sits perfectly with what has previously been published.  Spectral Press has built a reputation for publishing well written, thoughtful, subtle supernatural tinged stories, and The Respectable Face of Tyranny builds on this reputation admirably.

Fry has written a classic modern fable, which mixes cosmic  horror, with a moving tale of a father desperate to do the right for his daughter.   This is a tight story full of great writing, great characters and a nice line in other worldly terror and tension. The opening scene is particularly heart wrenching and will resonate  with any parent how has gone through a divorce.  Fry builds on this, layering the story with an ever growing sense of dread, and loss of control of a persons life.  Another favourite scene of mine was the mini cliff hanger where Josh encounters someone from his past at the concrete boat. This  is an intelligent, well written novella, that makes you wonder, which is the most scary, the monster or the twisted desires that created them.

Sadly the hardback limited edition, with bonus short story has sold out.  However, you can still pick up a paperback copy by clicking the links below.  And for those who prefer the books in the electronic form, then I believe an E-book version is on the way

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