Here's a rundown of the twelve short stories in Splinters by Joseph D'Lacey. This is the book that we're (i'm) publishng very very shortly. It really is wonderful, so please spend a couple of minutes reading this. It means a lot to me.
The idea of this is to give you not only a flavour of the book, but to also give you an idea of the reasons these stories were chosen and why I put them in the order I did.
Set in Gemini Apartments, the story explores paranoia, where nosey neighbours take on a modern twist. It's a multilayered story that starts off with a sinister uneasy undertone, which then spirals and spirals to a whole new level. I chose this story to put in first, because a) it's one of my personal favourites and b) because it sets a tone for the whole book.
When you were young were you scared of the dark? Did you think there was something under your bed that might get you? This is the classic premise of this 10 pager. Our main character Joe has lived with this fear since he was young, but it has remained with him. As he has grown, his imagination of what could possibly be under the bed has grown with him. And now his son is beginning to worry what's under HIS bed. There's a twist. A brilliant twist.
By now, after two stories, you'll probably need a break. Not only to compose yourself, but to savour the stories you've just read.
Right, OK? Let's continue.
This story marks a change of direction in the book. Life, for Sophie has not turned out the way she'd dreamt. Her husband is a slob and her kids are spoilt and ungrateful. As she stands by the kitchen sink, she wonders to herself, 'if only things were different...'
It's a Wonderful Life never got this dark.
The Quiet Ones
This tale follows an assassin's journey across a treacherous and inhospitable frozen landscape to eradicate a commune, who have chosen to leave behind civilization. What grabbed me about this story was how claustrophobic it felt, despite the vast open spaces this story is set in. It's also told by an unseen narrator, which adds to the sense of unease.
This short passage sums this up;
'You zero the crosshairs on her temple & let your finger rest on the trigger.
Death is a moment away.
You are the keeper of that moment'.
Four stories down .
I know, you're already convinced. Here you go, you can BUY IT HERE
OK, now you've sorted that out, we'll continue;
The Unwrapping of Alistair Perry
Another multilayered story, literally in this case. Our eponymous hero finds himself transforming into something different. Something he's always wanted, but something unattainable until now. But this is just the start of Alistair's journey. Where will this transformation lead him?
Another superb and well thought out surreal story that keeps you guessing until the very end.
The Mango Tree
Joseph's previous novels Meat, Garbage Man & to a certain extent Kill Crew explore our relationship the earth the dangers of not living in harmony with nature, earning these books a further sub-genre 'Eco Horror'. Mango Tree also visits this theme.
On the island where he lives, Etoile is a loner. The islanders visit him to buy the fish he catches, as it is far superior than any other.
The children on the island avoid him & the other islanders warn them that he will come for them at night if they don't behave. When Etoile catches one of the children trying to pick a mango from the tree next to his hut, after a dare, we learn that perhaps there is something special about Etoile. Something very special indeed.
This story highlights, once again, how versatile Joesph is as a writer. The pace and style of it is completely different from the previous five stories in this collection. It is a beautiful piece of writing.
So, here are the first six stories. Yes, we're half way through now. There are still half a dozen little gems to go. Not a zombie in sight (don't worry, there's got ot be one somewhere).
Armageddon Fish Pie
This is a poignant, thought provoking story which follows one man as he prepares for the end of the world. Throughout the story, he watches the reactions of others and reflects on his past. This was one of the first stories I chose to put in the collection, because once again it shows how versatile a writer Joseph is. In fact, the last three stories are all so individual you may think they'd been written by different people. This is unlike any 'End of the World' story you would imagine.
This story, based in and around New Delhi, is a warning of how too much heroin can transform you into something completely different. It's the shortest story in the collection, and there's something about it that reminds me of this scene in An American Werewolf In London.
This, in contrast to Kundalini, is the longest of the stories in the collection. Previously published in a wonderful chapbook a few years ago, this is the story of a man who, after having a near-death experience whilst diving is now equally terrified and obsessed with the sea. Much like being in the sea, this story carries us along, until we suddenly find ourselves out of our depth. Joseph once again touches on man's relationship with nature in this tale, which keeps you guessing until the very end.
Son of Porn
Time for a little relief, in the form of Nutbuster McGooch. A porn baron who is possibly the most sexually depraved person alive. I think Joseph enjoyed writing this story and despite its light hearted nature, does ask a few questions about evolution. Possibly. After the last story, I wanted to add something that changed the mood. I think this does it very effectively.
What They Want (What Aliens Really, Really Want)
Another inspired and totally unique story, taking a whole new look at why aliens may be interested in the human race. It's actually 4 mini stories in one, each story looking at a different period of time and location in history. The last of these four stories is the killer. And the last line gets you just there.
So we've reached the last story in the collection. And we couldn't leave you without first giving you a zombie story. But as is the way throughout this collection, it's a different take on the traditional zombie story. So here it is.
The Food Of Love
This is a beautiful, tender love story, in which a doctor and nurse fall in love trying to find a cure to a terrible illness that is sweeping the earth. Symptoms of this illness inevitably lead to death, but worse than that (for those still living at least), the dead come back to life shortly afterwards and are hungry for meat in whatever form it takes.
This story has it all, and Joseph really cranks up the emotion. There's a lot more going on in this final story than just zombies and it's a fitting way to end the collection.
There you go then. That's Splinters. It's awesome. If you like awesome, there are two free stories that aren't in the book on this microsite
Oh, and if you haven't bought it yet and i've persuaded you to give it a try...
There's only going to be 500 printed and each will be numbered and signed by Joseph. It's only £8.99 and if you order it before November 3rd you stand a chance of winning loads of stuff. LOOK