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An Introduction to our Spookiest Upcoming Book this Year: Modern Gothic

Today, we introduce our haunting collection of short stories from Fly on the Wall Press: Modern Gothic! 

To be published in October 2024 (perfectly in time for those Halloween read-athons!), we invite you to embark on a chilling journey through nightmarish tales that will captivate the ghoulish modern reader. Encounter landlords with sinister requests, ethereal housemates, and a glass-encased jungle built by an eccentric father. These gothic stories blur the lines between dreams and reality, weaving a tapestry of macabre encounters and festering secrets.

Marika Page, from My Book Corner, described Modern Gothic as  “a fantastic collection for lovers of eerie, atmospheric and quintessentially gothic tales that are all unique and memorable." 

With a story to suit everyone, the horror-loving reader will devour the tales in this book and be reminded of their favourite gothic stories. Let’s see which one might be your favourite… 

‘A Glass House for Esther’ by Michael Bird

This tale revolves around Herbert Cardew, a wealthy heir who builds an enormous 600-acre glass greenhouse filled with exotic plants and animals in an attempt to bond with his daughter, Esther. However, for years Cardew has been a recluse, and a journalist investigates to discover the truth behind a long-undisclosed tragedy.

Fans of the Guillermo del Toro film Crimson Peak, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger will recognise their favourite gothic tropes in this story- a dark, large house, a family tragedy and a mysterious disappearance. Bird’s story echoes Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher with its sinister secrets and a symbolic mansion, ticking all of the boxes of what makes a gothic story great! 

‘Livid’ by Pete Hartley

An unnamed narrator hears a woman repeating phrases to him that were said to him in a dream and awakens frightened, struggling to understand the significance of these phrases. Seven months later, at a theatre performance, a spotlight shines on a woman looking just like his dream. She also repeats the key phrases from his dream. Deeply disturbed, he travels to the only person he knows who could help explain the mystery - a Mrs. Moritz, formerly the glamorous magic show assistant Lazuli.

Hartley’s story will attract readers who enjoyed Laura Purcell’s Victorian gothic thriller The Whispering Muse, which also uses the setting of theatre and the stage as a backdrop for her tale. Another is Robert Louis Stephenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, which also explores psychological elements and features an unreliable narrator.

‘Dark Water: An Appalachia Ohio Story’ by Edward Karshner

Set in the 1920s-30s in Mount Tabor, Ohio, the story centers on a minister named Reverend Richard Hanson and his escalating feud with a local woman, Mrs. Ella Marie Peabody. Karshner’s story uses rich Appalachian flavour and mystical realism to paint a morality tale about fundamentalist corruption and the consequences of denying truth.

If you've seen Inside Man (starring David Tennant as a priest turned to crime), you'll love this morality-twisting story!

‘A Respectable Tenancy’ by Rose Biggin

The story takes the form of a series of letters written by a woman named Elizabeth who has moved with her family to a leased estate called Greenwood in 1844. She corresponds for decades with her mother about the highly unusual terms of tenancy renewal every 8 years -a sacrificial act in place of paying rent.

Nicknamed ‘Bridgerton for Gothic fans’, Biggin’s story is perfect for readers of Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions, Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist and Angela Carter. 

‘The Rot’ by Lauren Archer

The story follows an unnamed female protagonist who has moved into a rented room in a run-down Victorian conversion three months prior. From the day she moves in, a fungal rot begins spreading across her bedroom wall, persisting for her whole time of residency.

Readers of body horror and disturbing metamorphosis will be hooked in by this tale, echoing Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic and, of course, Franz Kafka’s strange tale The Metamorphosis.

‘The City Where One Finds The Lost’ by Lerah Mae Barcenilla

The narrator lives in a small rural town in the Philippines steeped in folklore about an invisible city called "The City Where One Finds the Lost”. Barcenilla deftly braids Philippine myth and reality into an emotional tale about innocence, love, grief and the temptation to escape mortal coils.

Readers of folklore horror who have enjoyed books such as The Gathering Dark: An Anthology of Folk Horror and Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley will love this disturbing story!

Modern Gothic is available here for pre-order now!

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