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PIECES OF MIDNIGHT by Gary McMahon. Ashcroft, BC, Canada; ash-Tree Press; 2010. 1st edition hardcover

ISBN: 978-1-55310-116-1. ix + 195pp; Limited to 400 copies.

Published January 2010

Jacket art by Keith Minnion.

GARY McMAHON (b. 1969) has quickly established himself as a leader of the 'new wave' of writers of the macabre and supernatural working in Britain, and it is Britain—urban, rural, and historical—that forms the background for the stories in this collection. McMahon's urban Britain is, as Steve Duffy notes in his Introduction, a world of white-collar drudgery . . . the bright and sterile modern office . . . the starter home on the new estate, with the bad area just around the corner . . . the double-glazing and security lights, Neighbourhood Watch and CCTV. The worst of modern-day horrors is revealed to the reader in stories such as 'Slap' and 'A Rustle of Paper'. McMahon's horrors are no less, however, when the location is moved to the countryside, as is shown by the suffering of the protagonists in 'Road Flowers', 'The Sand King', and 'Brokenback Isle'.

McMahon does gentle, too, and the quiet, heartfelt 'My Grandfather's Ghosts' is a remarkable change of pace, which demonstrates just how good and varied are the stories in Pieces of Midnight . There's sympathy for the characters in these stories—McMahon is good on character—and an obvious dislike for the worst elements of modern day society: those who revel in making life uncomfortable for others.

The seventeen stories which make up Pieces of Midnight will stay with you long after you close the covers of this collection. You'll certainly be keeping a look out for more stories by Gary McMahon.

CONTENTS: Introduction by Steve Duffy; Black Glass; The Knocking; All the Lonely Places; Brutal Spirits; My Grandfather's Ghosts; The Sand King; Slap; Before She Leaves; My Autumn Hands; A Shade of Yellow; Loving Angels; Brokenback Isle; Meg o' Green Weeds; Road Flowers; Paint it Black; A Rustle of Paper; Safety Dance. Sources/Story Notes.

Fine in fine dj.