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Carnacki: Heaven and Hell Perfect Paperback – June 14, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

...worthy of sharing a bookshelf with its source material. - Pete Tennant, Black Static #30

This is an excellent collection, worthy of the attention of any reader with a fondness for ghost stories. Meikle does a fine job, both in creating fresh material for the supernatural sleuth, and also for delivering the voice and feel of the classic Carnacki tales ... I urge you to seek out this book with all possible speed; I'm confident you won't be disappointed. - Flames Rising

William Meikle does a stand up job here of capturing the tone of the original stories. - British Fantasy Society

<span>This version of Carnacki seems a bit more voluble than the one I remember, but horror stories of this type generally assume a more relaxed and intellectual air than most modern ones. It's a style of writing that I appreciate, and miss. - Don D'Ammassa</span>

"Aims for pure entertainment...and hits the mark." --Simon Morden, Vector

"The author is relentless; just when you catch your breath, something new and exciting happens, sending you spinning into another part of the adventure, and keeping you flipping pages to see what's next." --David Wilbanks, Horrorworld

"...descriptions so vivid you can almost hear the clash of the swords and smell the blood." --Murder and Mayhem Bookclub

"The author is relentless; just when you catch your breath, something new and exciting happens, sending you spinning into another part of the adventure, and keeping you flipping pages to see what's next." --David Wilbanks, Horrorworld

"...descriptions so vivid you can almost hear the clash of the swords and smell the blood." --Murder and Mayhem Bookclub

From the Author

Why I wrote Carnacki: Heaven and Hell

I'd love to have a chance to write a Tarzan, John Carter, Allan Quartermain, Mike Hammer or Conan novel, whereas a lot of writers I know would sniff and turn their noses up at the very thought of it.

Most of the aforesaid characters are trademarked and off-bounds for writers without paying licensing fees. Carnacki however is fair game.

Nowadays there is a plethora of detectives in both book and film who may seem to use the trappings of crime solvers, but get involved in the supernatural. William Hjortsberg's Falling Angel (the book that led to the movie Angel Heart) is a fine example, an expert blending of gumshoe and deviltry that is one of my favorite books. Likewise, in the movies, we have cops facing a demon in Denzel Washington's Fallen that plays like a police procedural taken to a very dark place.

My interest goes further back to the "gentleman detective" era where we have seekers of truth in Blackwood's John Silence Sherlock Holmes... and William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki.

Carnacki resonated with me immediately on my first reading many years ago. Several of the stories have a Lovecraftian viewpoint, with cosmic entities that have no regard for the doings of mankind. The background Hodgson proposes fits with some of my own viewpoint on the ways the Universe might function, and the slightly formal Edwardian language seems to be a "voice" I fall into naturally.

I write them because of love, pure and simple.

It's all about the struggle of the dark against the light. The time and place, and the way it plays out is in some ways secondary to that. And when you're dealing with archetypes, there's only so many to go around, and it's not surprising that the same concepts of death and betrayal, love and loss, turn up wherever, and whenever, the story is placed.

The ghost story is no different in utilising the archetype of the return of the lost from the great beyond, but a good one needs verisimilitude.

If the reader doesn't believe wholeheartedly in the supernatural element, even if only for the duration of the story, then they'll be looking for the Scooby-Doo escape, the man in the mask that means everything before was just smoke and mirrors. To pull off a good ghost story, you need to get past that, and engage the reader at an emotional level.

The best stories allow us to overlay our own fears and nightmares on a backdrop provided by the writer. Some people are terrified of dark corners, others of sounds, others still of silence. A mixture of the primal fears in the story will have readers constantly looking over their shoulder, and almost afraid to reach the end. For me, that's what makes a good ghost story.

I also love exploring the Occult Detective sub-genre, in the Midnight Eye Files stories, in this series of Carnacki stories, and with Sherlock Holmes in REVENANT, and a series of short stories. I intend to write a lot more of it, and that will definitely mean more Carnacki to come. THE DARK ISLAND novella in this collection is a focal point for Carnacki -- in it he has learned that the bounds of his research are much, much wider than he had previously thought. That's going to give me plenty of scope for further stories and explorations.
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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Regions Press; First Dark Regions Press Edition edition (June 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193712827X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937128272
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,560,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By David L. Brzeski on April 4, 2013
Format: Perfect Paperback
This review is based on an advance review copy pdf sent to me for reviewing by the author.

For those few not in the know, this is a collection of pastiches about the Edwardian supernatural detective, Carnacki, created by author, William Hope Hodgson.

There were six original Carnacki stories, published between 1910 & 1912, plus three others which were published posthumously, along with the original six) in The `Carnacki The Ghost Finder' collection for Arkham House's Mycroft & Moran imprint in 1948.

William Meikle does a stand up job here, of capturing the tone of the original stories. He falls naturally into the more formal language of the period, without making it any less easy to read.

In these stories, Carnacki faces, amongst others - a haunted Zulu blade; a military testing ground, built on something ancient & evil; a Scottish castle, with a terrible secret; a cursed cruise ship; a malevolent oak tree & an old mirror that could bring more than just seven years bad luck.

My personal favourite of the short stories herein is `The Larkhill Barrow', in which Meikle very cleverly manages to reinforce the fact that Hodgson was a major influence on H.P. Lovecraft by presenting a tale which feels very much like a classic Cthulhu Mythos story without using any references that weren't taken directly from Hodgson. A lesser writer might have shoe-horned in a reference to The Necronomicon, or some other Lovecraftian tome somewhere.

For me, the star of the collection is the new novella, `The Dark Island', which uses concepts from Hodgson's major works, `The House On The Borderland' & `The Night Land'. I'd always wanted to read Carnacki tales in a longer form & this fits the bill nicely. I'd really love to see more.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read and enjoyed the original "Carnacki" stories written long ago by WH Hodges. Naturally, upon finding that another author I enjoy had a try at more of these, I had to read them. He has the knack of making you feel like you are back in the early 20th and just found more stories of Carnacki's adventures. There was not so much as a blip to break the spell-AND-the stories were great! Very much in keeping with the style and era of the original, while making full use of Meikle's writing prowess.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A pitch perfect homage to the original Carnacki. Meikle, whose voice is one of the best in the business, flawlessly "channels" William Hope Hodgson in this excellent addition to the Carnacki canon of stories. Highly recommended.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
I read the original Carnacki tales by Hodgson some years ago and remember being sad when there were no more. After coming across Meikle's collection, I couldn't help but give it a try. I was not disappointed!

Every one of the stories reads like an original by Hodgson himself, as if Meikle has found some way to contact or channel the spirit of Hodgson. Yes, he follows the formula set up by Hodgson in his stories, but Meikle also captures the language perfectly so the reader feels as if he is reading a Hodgson original.

Meikle came up with some very original stories. Lark Hill Barrow is one of my favorites, but even the dark twist in Lusitania still lingers in my memory. The longer, three part story at the end was simply brilliant. Clearly, Meikle is a Hodgson scholar and afficianado, as well as a damned fine writer.

Highly recommended to anyone who likes occult fiction!
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