While the rest of my 2012 retrospectives have caused me to really think had and take stock of everything that I have read in the last 12 months. This one for Discovery of the Year was a no brainer. Yes I had read this author’s short stories before in a number of anthologies, and really enjoyed his stuff. However it was a Christmas present of one his books that I got last year, that really made me sit up and smell the coffee. And when a certain publisher the published a novella from him I was floored by the sheer brilliance of it. I managed to get up from the floor just in time for him to sucker punch me with an amazing novel.
So who is this author? Well that will be telling, you are going to have to come back next week when all shall be revealed.
UPDATE Jan 01 2013
So here we are folks at the start of the New Year. I had hoped to bring you this before the end of 2012, but a rather heavy run of night shifts knocked the stuffing out of me.
So what makes for my discovery / author of the year, as in truth this year these awards go to the same author? This year the choice has gone to an author who has in the last 12 months ticked all the boxes of why I love to read horror. I read horror for the sheer entertainment factor, my favourite kind of horror is one that puts a big grin on my face. Not from being comedic, that’s a different kettle of fish. I’m talking about that big grin you get when you step of the roller-coaster, the big grin you get when you watch your children playing. The big grin you get when you listen to that song and you start to dance or play air guitar to. It’s these sort of things along with this authors work that transport me away from this world, and for a while make me forget about all of the things that can go wrong.
Over the last year thanks to this author read some of the finest examples of this sort of horror fiction. So who is this mysterious man?
How about some clues,
1. He is married to writer who is an amazing talent as well.
2. He likes to wear velvet smoking jackets
3 He is a big fan of classic horror
4 He is Welsh.
My discovery of the year / author of the year goes to the fabulous John Llewellyn Probert.
John’s book The Catacombs of Fear
was the first book I read in 2012, and I was hooked instantly by John’s ability to tell a series of interlinked stories in such a theatrical manner. This is a chilling collection of stories that captures the essence of those portmanteau films of the 1970’s. It’s the story At First Sight that for me really captures the feelings of these films, so much so that I could hear David Warner’s voice narrating this story in my head. By the time I finished reading this glorious book, I knew I had found someone special.
From that moment on everyone of John’s books found a place on my Amazon wishlist, and over the last 12 months whenever I got a holiday from work I would crack open one of his books. If I had to choose my two favourite Probert books, they would have to be
The Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine, this is my favourite novella of the year, and believe me folks this is a special book. Written as a tribute to all those wonderful Vincent Price films, Nine Deaths, is nothing short of spectacular. Fantastically over the top, this flamboyant read, full of brilliant deaths, and a magnificent finale, is probably the most fun I have ever had between the pages of a book.
My other choice would have to be John’s first attempt at a novel, The House That Death Built . it’s a testament to my love of John’s writing, that as soon as the ordering details for this book went live, I snapped up a limited hardback version of it. It has been a long, long time since I last bought a limited edition hard back novel, however I knew deep in my heart of hearts that this book needed to read in the best possible way. Plus I couldn’t have a gap in Probert shelf. The House That Death Built sees the return of Henderson, and Jephcott, possibly the best double act working in fiction today. The book itself is a stupendous riff on the classic haunted house novel, full of Probert’s wonderful, tongue in cheek humour, brilliant set pieces, and a story that grabs you in its cold spectral hands and proceeds to take on a journey through a brilliantly written and imaginative story.
So there you go folks, but don’t just take my word for it, go and buy these books for yourself. Then once you have read them, come back and say cheers Jim, you were right, Probert is awesome.
You can get a lot of John’s books by following the link below