This new section features a different author, publisher or bookseller each month who has earned the RLK! seal of approval! We will highlight and review their books/company as well as providing author biographies (where available) and publishing information. We hope you enjoy the new RLK! Spotlight On... feature.

Author Bio:

Simon Clark was born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, allegedly the birthplace of Robin Hood, on the 20th April 1958. He was raised in the tiny Yorkshire village of Thorpe Audlin, set in countryside which in mediaeval times was reputedly occupied by witches, satanists and highwaymen. Many people claim to have seen the ghost of a witch walking alongside the A1 which runs across the valley, although Simon is not so sure...

scphoto.gif - 26940 Bytes Simon Clark, who stands at 6' 5 ", lives with his wife, Janet and their two children Alex (9) and Helen (3) in the South Yorkshire village of Adwick-le-Street in a house which is partly built over what appears to be a large and ancient tombstone and only a stone's throw away from the village church. Nearby is a mysterious area of land littered with numerous fragments of human bone from medieval times. When Simon's son, Alex, was seven years old, he innocently came home with his pockets stuffed with fragments of human skull. Simon quickly interred these behind the shed at the bottom of the garden, an area which, he admits, he doesn't care to visit after dark.

Simon's writing career began at school. He confesses that his early addiction to Dr. Who, Star Trek and Thunderbirds strongly influenced his desire to write science fiction, but all his first efforts were soundly rejected by Science Fiction Monthly magazine. Later his stories began to appear in the small press and it was Karl Edward Wagner's influential Year's Best Horror anthology that gave him his first professional sale. Since then his stories have appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines including Fear, Skeleton Crew, Darklands 2, Dark Voices 5, The Year's Best Horror (four times), Horrorstory, Back Brain Recluse, Aklo, Dementia 13, Stygian Dreamhouse, Krax, Peeping Toyn and Dark Dreams. His short stories have also been broadcast on BBC Radio, including Radio 4. Blood and Grit, his selection of controversial short stories set in Yorkshire, attracted enormous enthusiasm from critics and the public at large. Yorkshire TV created an animated extract from Bite Back, one of the stories and this story has also attracted the interest of a UK film producer and is currently at the script treatment stage.

Simon's first novel, Nailed By The Heart, was published by Hodder & Stoughton in hardback on 2nd March 1995 to widespread acclaim. Simon's debut success was quickly confirmed with the hardback publication of his second novel, Blood Crazy. in June 1995 to further rave reviews.


Books Published:

RATING:

Date of Release: Dec '98

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Review Source:

THE FALL

As evidenced in many of Simon Clark's previous works (NAILED BY THE HEART, DARKER, BLOOD CRAZY and KING BLOOD), Clark has an obvious affinity for the "small-band-of-individuals struggling-to-survive against-overwhelming-odds and omnipresent-evil in-a-hostile-environment" theme. With very few exceptions, Clark's talent is matchless when exploring this fascinating theme - a talent that made BLOOD CRAZY one of the finest horror novels of this decade. Clark continues this exploration with THE FALL, an exhilerating novel in which a small group of tourists are repeatedly transported back further and further through time by mysterious forces to battle ax-wielding, mutated beings...and the sinister, violent leanings within their own band.

Though not quite on par with its earlier, apocolyptic cousins, THE FALL is still an admirable addition to the chilling lineage that has bestowed Clark with a burgeoning reputation and should please his growing legion of fans on both sides of the Atlantic.

- - Ron Clinton, USA



RATING:

Date of Release: Jul '98

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Review Source:

VAMPYRRHIC

Simon Clark's newest paperback outing, VAMPYRRHIC, delves into the strip-mined exploration of vampires but surprisingly manages to unearth a fresh take on this tired theme.

The story focuses on David Leppington who returns after a 20-year absence to his native home and becomes the unwilling recipient of an ancient family legacy. Generations of the Lippington family have operated the factory through the centuries, a slaughterhouse factory that feeds the unholy appetite of a horde of bloodthirsty creatures to this very day. Transposed with this horrific structure is the stately Station House, a hotel that houses the other characters of this chilling tale. Yet even the Station House quickly becomes eerily brooding and sinister...and soon the entire town falls victim to an evil past as village streets and subterranean tunnels run with victims' life forces and ancient prophecy. Leppington grudgingly realizes that he is faced with a choice: that of accepting his true inheritance or watching his hometown, his world, fall prey to a demonic race of seemingly immortal predators.

VAMPYRRHIC is a much quieter and slower-paced read, less overt in its brutality and violence, than Clark's earlier works. Its slow, sinister buildup demonstrates a strong, confident writer; one not frightened to stray from the frenzying formula that proved immensely successful earlier in his career. While VAMPYRRHIC may not appeal to Clark's more fickle admirers, most horror aficionados will find it a very rewarding read.

- - Ron Clinton, USA



RATING:

Date of Release: 1995

Publisher: New English Library

Review Source:

BLOOD CRAZY

Richard Laymon has labeled Simon Clark "A master of eerie thrills" and Deathrealm calls Clark "One of the best contemporary British horror writers". Glowing comments such as these and many others like it are being deluged upon this new horror writer whose debut novel (NAILED BY THE HEART) did not even appear until 1995. Heady stuff for a newcomer...and yet it's all completely deserved. And BLOOD CRAZY may be his best work yet.

Told in the first person by apocalyptic survivor Nick Aten, BLOOD CRAZY is the shocking and brutal tale of adults becoming murderously insane - literally. They've become infected with a crazed, uncontrollable urge to kill anyone under the age of 20. Including their own children. In just days, civilisation is in ruins and the young survivors must learn to survive and adapt in a world where their existence is being rapidly erased by an older population with a sinister, mysterious purpose. Told in the staccato-paced style of Richard Laymon's ONE RAINY NIGHT, Clark has produced a masterpiece of horror fiction whose shock value is tempered only by the rich, poignant characterizations of his protagonists.

Simon Clark's lean prose resonates with an honest and unflinching look at the savageness of human nature...and BLOOD CRAZY is (thus far) his ultimate achievement. Highly recommended!
-- Ron Clinton, USA


RATING:

Date of Release: 1997

Publisher: New English Library

Review Source:

KING BLOOD

Simon Clark's 4th novel, KING BLOOD, follows up on the apocalyptic theme first explored in his acclaimed 1995 release, BLOOD CRAZY. While KING BLOOD may not have the furious, lean pacing of its predecessor, it's a finely-crafted tale whose 500-plus pages allow for a more involving experience in a world that is literally burning up.

Told in the first person - a style in which Clark has truly mastered all the potential nuances such an approach can offer - KING BLOOD begins with a party in which the protagonist in reunited with his older brother. However, the festivities soon come to an end as people begin to fall victim to Earth itself. Choking natural gas floods the streets, cities erupt in flame, lakes boil and flood, the forests wither and burn. Survivors search desperately for refuge and food in a landscape growing hotter beneath their feet. The narrator, Rick Kennedy, and his older brother, Stephen, lead a group of survivors in a quest to survive the burning land, cannibalistic bands of marauders...and the mysterious Grey Men whose increasing presence foretells more death and destruction.

While KING BLOOD could have stood a more thorough editing to cut 100 or so pages and better focus the tale's intensity, this is a novel not to be missed and should only garner more acclaim for this hot, new horror writer.
-- Ron Clinton, USA

RATING:

Date of Release: 1995

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Review Source:

NAILED BY THE HEART

George Romero (Director, "Night of the Living Dead") meets author William Hope Hodgson in Simon Clark's debut novel, NAILED BY THE HEART - a chilling, atmospheric tale of castlebound refuge from zombie-like beings that shamble ceaselessly from the churning, angry sea.

Violent yet understated, fast-paced yet complex, NAILED is the auspicious debut novel of a truly gifted writer, one whose later books fulfilled the promise of this astonishing first work. This is where it all began and it is easy to see how Clark has built an exceptional following in such a quick period of time. Highly recommended!

- - Ron Clinton, USA




Also Published:

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DARKER by Hodder & Stoughton (hb) and New English Library (pb)
BLOOD & GRIT Short story collection (small press)


Websites:

Visit the Simon Clark website at: http://www.bbr-online.com/nailed


Where to buy:

Availability:     

For those who order online, try:

Amazon UK!   Buy Laymon & Others Here!   




 RLK! Spotlight On...
Past Features

 February: Obsidian Books, Publisher Click here to view.
 January: John Case, Author Click here to view.

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