Sunday 21 August 2011

Nowhere Hall.

"Ache Ron, do you... AcheRon." Words that mysteriously appear on a mirror of the Vestibule Hotel, and words that hold the key as to what lies at the heart of Cate Gardner's Nowhere Hall.
This is the third in the series of chapbooks produced by Spectral Press - high quality publications featuring the work of the best names currently working in dark fiction.
Following stories from Gary McMahon and Gary Fry - both of which I enjoyed very much - Nowhere Hall tells the story of Ron Spence who, at the beginning of the story is hell-bent (or Hell-bound..?) on committing suicide by stepping out into traffic. A change of heart leads him to instead enter the Vestibule Hotel wherein awaits a host of bizarre experiences and flashes of his past life.
Ron is confused by what's happening around him and so too is the reader - but in a good way! There's a lot of symbolism here - much of it, I have to say, lost on me - but that doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the story.  Just go with the flow and let the imagery wash over you and you'll have a great time reading this. 
What's it all about?  You'll have to judge for yourself but the word-play I quoted at the start of this review provides the answers in my head.
It's a beautifully written piece and absolutely maintains the high standards already set by Spectral Press's previous publications.  I'd obviously recommend it but to do so would be academic as all copies have already sold out. It's great to see horror so well served by a publisher with such high stanards of quality. Continued success seems assured for Spectral - which is great news indeed.

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