The Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine by John L. Probert
Regular readers will be well aware of my love for Spectral Press, in the short time since its inception it has become one of the UK’s finest small Presses. From their excellent chapbook series that has showcased some of the brightest names in UK supernatural fiction, authors such as Gary McMahon, Alison Littlewood, Cate Gardner and Paul Finch, to their first novella by Gary Fry. Each and every one of these books has had not only the highest production values, they have also held within their pages stores of the highest calibre. Their latest publication The Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine by John L. Probert unsurprisingly carries on their fine tradition.
Previously the tone of Spectral Press has been subtle for want of a better word “quiet” horror. This time there has been a sideways shift into pure unadulterated, unashamed, and unrelenting fun. And boy does it work. Those of you who know John, will be well aware of his love for horror films great, bad and downright terrible, but more importantly you will be aware of his love for the late great Vincent Price. Some of John’s best work has harked back to that golden age of the 1970’s where horror still had a heart, and still had a sense of fun. It’s these qualities that form, in my opinion, the core of John’s writing. Nine Deaths, feels like the story john has been building up to writing for his whole career.
In short this book is fabulous, if like me you are of a certain age, you’ll remember sneaking down the stairs at night after your parents had gone to bed, to watch the Horror Double bill that screened on BBC2 on a Friday Night. Where you would sit wide eyed and opened mouth at films from Hammer or Amicus. Nine Deaths will transport you back to those days of wonder with its glorious over the top and joyous plot. Yes the idea of a vengeful Doctor recreating death scenes from Vincent Price films is an over the top, but you will be too engrossed in the writing and John’s near perfect storytelling to care. You can tell right from the first paragraph that this story is filled with John’s love for the source material, and by the time you turn the final page you will be filled with the same love. As the finale kicks in and certain plot elements fall into place, you’ll hear the voice of Vincent Price mysteriously manifest just over your shoulder.
This really is a brilliant novella, it’s by turns fun, funny, shocking, and thrilling, but more importantly written my someone who knows just how to write a story that will make the rest of the world disappear as it wraps you in pages that somehow have the feel of a lovely velvet smoking jacket.
Sadly folks the limited hard back edition of this book has sold out. But don’t fear you can still get your hands on the paperback version of this amazing story.
To order your copy please click the link below. And while you are there, do yourself a favour and take out a subscription to the chapbook and the novella series. That way you won’t miss out on some great books that are coming your way.