July 28, 2014

Horror and Noir Co-Mingling in the Shadows: a review of Charlie Williams' "Your Place is in the Shadows"

Your Place is in the Shadows
by Charlie Williams
Gibbous Moon (2013)

I enjoy horror fiction. I enjoy noir fiction. And if you're like me, then chances are you're going to enjoy what Charlie Williams serves up with this collection of six short stories.

I really didn't know what to expect from this British author at the outset, as this was purely an impulse buy on the Kindle Store last year. I saw the name on a recommendation list, the price was right, so I took the plunge. Genre-blending is something I really appreciate when it's done well, and it's done very well in each of these stories.

For me, the standouts would have to be "Some Help from Stanley" about a divorcee receiving some much-needed advice about the trajectory of his life via telephone calls from the late Stanley Kubrick. A great bit of psychological suspense as Kubrick's advice sends the poor bloke down a wayward path. Then there was "Punchbag" and the drunken roughneck who wanders the streets on his usual routine of pub food, pub crawls, pub brawls, only to come face to face with the embodiment of every scrap he's ever been in, a man who calls himself Punchbag.

If you have trouble with vernacular that isn't the Queen's English, you might be out of your depth with a couple stories. You know, like if you have to watch Guy Ritchie movies with sub-titles, that sort of thing. But if your reading level is up to snuff and you like your crime fiction dipped in horror, then you are going to absolutely love this collection. I've got a novella from Williams called Graven Image and I have a hunch I'm going to gobble that one up like a kebab when I get round to it.

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