Those of you familiar with Matt Shaw’s black cover, extreme books will probably be aware that he is working alongside other writers from the horror genre. These books come with a warning, and for a good reason; not content with tales of things that go bump in the night, these books deal with things that rip and tear, leaving nothing to the imagination, often dripping with bodily fluids.
Duncan Ralston is an author I am quite familiar with. I picked up his short story collection some time ago and enjoyed his refreshing and original ideas. ‘Salvage’ recently ‘re-released by Shadow Work Publishing was Ralston’s debut novel-a supernatural tale that dealt with some heavy subjects such as mental illness. It was a brilliantly executed, slow burning novel that showed a confidence and thoughtfulness that I’d not seen for some time.
‘Woom’ is a very different beast all together. It’s Ralston’s foray into extreme waters. At its heart ‘Woom’ is the story of a very troubled individual who seeks a rebirth after a truly torrid life. What starts off as a sort of creepy serial killer sort of tale soon turns into something completely different. ‘Woom’ is like a jigsaw. As the story progresses, things click into place, giving you a look at the bigger picture, an understanding of where our character has come from and where he intends to go. I figured out what was happening quite early on, but this in no way detracted from the story and the ending left me kind of speechless. ‘Woom’ is a clever story too. It is a series of stories within a story, cleverly done and well executed.
Ralston’s two main characters are prostitute Shyla and Angel-the man who calls the escort service so he can act out his fantasy. They are intriguing and utterly engaging. Both are damaged goods but in very different ways. Their coming together is almost a cruel twist of fate and the book will leave you with contrasting emotions.
Ralston’s writing is excellent, his descriptions are spot on and his characters are original and engaging. It isn’t an over the top gore fest by any means, though some scenes will be burned into your memory banks for some time to come. Extra points also for the clever play on the books title.
It’s an excellent example of some of the exciting dark fiction being written today and a tale that will leave a lasting impression on any horror fan brave enough to read it.
You can buy a copy of ‘Woom’ from here.