The Shadow Of The Soul – Sarah Pinborough

The Shadow Of The Soul
The Dog-Faced Gods Book Two
By: Sarah Pinborough
Pub: Gollancz
390 Pages

The Shadow Of The Soul continues from A Matter Of Blood in fine form.

The book continues the story Of DI Cass Jones, who finds himself further entangled with the Network, and the plans of Mr Bright, and becomes further entrenched in the conspiracies that were beginning to be revealed in the first book.

Cass is involved in two investigations, even as he continues to deal with the fallout of his actions from the first book. London is experiencing a spate of student suicides, with very little obviously linking the deaths, aside from a growing urban legend around the phrase “Chaos in the Darkness”. There’s also been an attempted gangland hit, where a botched drive by lead to the death of an innocent school boy caught in the crossfire.

Outside his professional work Cass’ private life centres around the final note left by his dead brother, Christian. It appears that the Network’s plans for Cass and his family run to deeper and darker extremes than previously suspected, as it is revealed that they replaced Christian’s son Luke at birth. Cass resorts to whatever means needed to find the truth, and his missing nephew.

The book also introduces a second main character into recession wracked London of the Dog Faced Gods world. Abigail Porter is bodyguard to the PM, who finds herself victim of strange visitations and is one of the few witnesses to a terrorist bombing that defies all conventional explanation.

The pragmatic and hard nosed Cass works as a strong main character, still riddled with faults and quirks, and rooted firmly in the collapsing London. Abi provides something different for the book, and the altered perspective in refreshing.

The Shadow Of The Soul maintains the pace of the first book, combining its supernatural and horror overtones with the underlining skeleton of a crime novel to good effect. The various plotlines reach satisfying conclusions, as some begin to merge, are resolved, or are left tantalisingly hanging for the next book. The book also avoids feeling like the awkward filling of a trilogy, because of this, giving the reader closure on some topics, while leaving much still running. Certainly the third book will be one to watch out for.

Halloween Horror at Warwick Arts Centre

Thanks to Read Horror for flagging this up.

This time next week is the Halloween Horror Night at Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry. Hosted by Read Horror Editor, Michael Wilson it promises to be an exciting evening with three of the best horror authors in the UK today.

First up is Gary McMahon, author of The Concrete Grove trilogy and the man behind the Thomas Usher series (most recently Dead Bad Things, stay tuned for a full review this week). He will be reading a classic horror story to leave fans entertained and terrified.

Following on from Gary, is Gollancz’s David Moody. Not only has he written one of the most successful zombie series in years – Autumn – but he’s also written the terrifying apocalyptic Hatertrilogy. The concluding chapter Them or Us will hit stores next month.

Last, but by no means least is Adam Nevill. He is fast establishing himself as the most exciting author in supernatural horror today. Having enjoyed success with Banquet for the DamnedApartment 16 and the Blair Witch meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre great outdoors horror, The Ritual, he is set to release Last Days next year.

I am reliably assured that they’ll be other members of the horror fiction scene attending the event, so bring your autograph book if you’re a fan and get networking if you’re an author.

Please come along to this event and support both Read Horror and three of the top names in horror fiction today. Tickets are available for £6-8 and the fun kicks off Monday 31 October 2011 at 7:15pm.

Buy tickets for Halloween Horror Night at Warwick Arts Centre

Review | The Leaping by Tom Fletcher

The Leaping
by Tom Fletcher
Pub: Quercus

The Leaping focusses around a group of friends who work together in a call centre, share a house, and never seem to have got past student life really.  When Jack and his new girlfriend move to a place in the country it seems to good to be true and of course, it is.

It’s a perfect example of how you can pass 200 pages with almost nothing actually happening and still be utterly gripped. I read quickly, in two or three sittings for the bulk and the first section is focussed on the day to day life and relationships of the characters.

When the action finally happens it happens hard and fast and it left me repulsed, fascinated and very very glad I was on a busy train in glorious sunshine. It’s more than just a werewolf story and the Leaping itself is a truly horrific event.

It’s deeply atmospheric and disturbing, superbly written with a cast of sympathetically flawed characters. The build up of tension starts early and to maintain it until the final act is a testament to Fletcher’s understanding of how fear and anticipation interplay.

I’m not primarily a horror fan but this is exactly the sort of book I love, a story about people primarily, creepy and unpredictable.