Rating: 5/5 Clutching, Bony Fingers
Give me the short version: These are the images that wake you too frightened to scream.
Recent British Fantasy Awards winner Adam Nevill lunges at us from the dark once again with his second collection of short stories. These are of a somewhat more wistful mood than the first batch and are certainly more experimental.
I found immersion in environment to be a standout flavour of Hasty for the Dark, whether it be a place of fearful wonder or one that will drive you to fling down the book and rush to the shower.
Some of you may already be fans of the abject and repulsive Yellow Teeth in Mr Nevill’s prior collection Some Will Not Sleep; in The Angels of London Nevill again demonstrates unflinching commitment so that we might flinch. He has penned a situation so skillfully vile it’s difficult to get through, inducing revulsion and a shivering vulnerability in the reader.
Top favourites for me were the hopeless purgatory of both On All London Underground Lines and White Light, White Heat; the latter’s setting in the publishing industry invoking grim humour. I also thoroughly enjoyed the playfulness of Hippocampus, a tale with no active players bar the reader/viewer themselves who pan slowly through the aftermath of a mysterious disaster.
In full disclosure I was offered a free ebook in exchange for an honest review, but this was after I’d already enthusiastically pre-ordered both ebook and the exquisitely illustrated hardback edition.
“None of the pale faces in the crush even turn to look at me; they are committed to their immobile, futile yearning upwards. A smell hangs about the crowd, like old clothes left in airless spaces, and something else: the sweetish, hormoney smell of spoiling meat.”
– On All London Underground Lines, Adam L G Nevill