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The Shadow Fabric: A Supernatural Horror Novel Paperback – September 24, 2014
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
About the Author
A bestselling supernatural thriller by Mark CassellMark Cassell lives on the south coast of England with his wife and a number of animals. He often dreams of dystopian futures, peculiar creatures, and flitting shadows. His jobs have included a baker, a laboratory technician, and a driving instructor, and 2018 sees him acting in the horror movie Monster directed by Matt Shaw.
As a familiar face on the UK convention scene, Mark sells his books as well as his photographic art, and doesn’t charge for selfies. The busy man that he is, he also hosts writing retreats for Writers’ HQ.
Primarily a horror author, his steampunk, dark fantasy, and sci-fi stories have featured in numerous reputable anthologies and zines. His best-selling debut novel The Shadow Fabric is closely followed by the popular short story collection Sinister Stitches and are both only a fraction of an expanding mythos of demons, devices, and deceit. The novella Hell Cat of the Holt further explores the Shadow Fabric mythos with ghosts and black cat legends.
The dystopian cyberpunk collection Chaos Halo 1.0: Alpha Beta Gamma Kill is in association with Future Chronicles Photography where he works closely with their models and cosplayers. He’s often alongside these guys at conventions all around the UK, and one of their shoots inspired the creation of his new Lovecraftian steampunk horror universe that begins with the novelette In the Company of False Gods.
His work has been compared with British horror authors such as James Herbert, Clive Barker, Dennis Wheatley, and Brian Lumley. Also, his influences spread over to the US where he admits to having been first inspired by Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Dan Simmons, and H P Lovecraft.
More about Mark and his work can be found at www.markcassell.co.uk. Plus, you’ll get your mitts on plenty of free stuff.
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Top customer reviews
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Cassell delivers sorcerers, witches, mad scientists, frankenstein's monsters, reanimated corpses, shapeshifters, flesh-eating zombies, creatures that dwell in the shadows and—best of all—ancient gods looking to rule the world. Deliver that package in 70,000 words, combine it with betrayal, double cross and triple-cross and you have a tightly twisted thriller that will keep readers awake through the night, unable to close the book's covers.
Cassell wraps the entire package in a mystery surrounding his narrator, a man with no memory prior to four years before, a tabula rasa upon which the machinations of the shadow fabric turn. The shadow fabric, it seems, steals the darkness in people's souls to weave a fabric of evil that will pave the way for the a horror that will devour all of humanity. The narrator, Leo's employer Victor, wishes to find the fabric to prevent his return.
Victor and his brother Stanley collect rare antiques in partnership with Leo's patron Goodwin. They consider the Shadow Fabric one of their finest prizes. Unfortunately, when a vagrant surrenders the Fabric to Victor, the Fabric compels Victor to murder his brother, launching a string of catastrophic events that unleashes the forces of darkness and the undead.
Everyone except Leo has been keeping secrets. Leo might be, he just doesn't remember what his are. He partners with Victor and Isidore, a first class thief, to recover the fabric before its power grows too large to contain.
Cassell understands pulp—fat, juicy and hurled against a wall to drip in all its gory delight. No literary pretense, this is slash an burn with visceral terror from page one when Victor slams his knife into his brother Stanley's chest until the last page when all's well that should end well. Only it doesn't.
Will Cassell deliver a sequel? Probably. He offers fans a collection of related short stories, Sinister Stitches. Plop your dime down now. The Shadow Fabric is worth the read.
5 = Delicious dialogue, crisp prose, clever characters & compelling plot
4 = Great read, won't want to stop (5 for many reviewers)
3 = Worth buying but…
2 = I will tell you what audience will like this, but other readers might want to look elsewhere
1 = If I review a book this bad I felt seriously compelled to warn you
Phillip T. Stephens is the author of "Cigerets, Guns & Beer," "Raising Hell" and "Seeing Jesus."
The Shadow Fabric spends little time getting to the action by starting in media res. The entire novel takes place over the course of week, a week that sees Leo scrambling to find more information, uncover more secrets, and discover the whereabouts of the Shadow Fabric. His desperation is palatable, and made more so as the allies that he thought he had are found to be enemies. He's almost tortured by his own paranoia, not knowing where to turn and who to trust. He always seem to be a step behind throughout the whole story and, truthfully as we learn more about the Shadow Fabric itself, he never seem to stand a chance.
The sheer evilness of the Shadow Fabric and the mechanism that it grew in power was down right scary. Often times in horror novels or films most of the horror elements are discriminatory - the victim is chosen either deliberately or by happenstance. The Shadow Fabric doesn't work that way, anyone can become a victim of the stitching, the method to grew the Fabric, simply by coming in contact with it. There is no way to fight the stitching, there is no 'incubation' period like most infection horrors, if you come in contact then you're lost. That frightens the hell out of me.
The book is set in the English town of Mabley Holt, at a retreat owned by a man named Goodwin. The retreat is known as The Periwick House. Leo is our narrator. He was in a car wreck two years ago and has no memory of the wreck or his life before that. Goodwin takes him in. Victor Jacobs is Goodwin's friend. He hires Leo to be his driver. We meet: Lucas, a bitter friend of Victor. Polly, another friend of Victor. She is blind. Annabel, Polly's helper, also known as Tulip Moon. Stanley, Victor's brother. There are other important characters as well that come into play.
All of our friends are involved in a battle of good verses evil. We learn how the Shadow Fabric came to be, what it is and how evil it is. We learn about an evil hourglass, an evil knife called a witch blade an evil book titled "The Book of Leaves". We learn what these leaves are, how they came to be and more are made. We are introduced to a process called "stitching", whereby the Shadow Fabric is made bigger and stronger. The book revolves around our central characters and their pursuit and destruction of these items. There is a lot of graphic violence in this battle. Bodies pile up left and right. The story started out as the cast of characters was introduced to us and how all the evil items came to be. Victor explains much of this to Leo. I was really enjoying Leo's story. Then at one point, the story takes a turn. This is where I got lost and very confused. There are very strange and horrific events happening in the basement of Goodwin's retreat. A battle of good verses evil ensues. It too long I lost track of who was killed and who survived this long battle. We meet Goodwin's walking dead, called Necromeleons. I got totally lost here. The last half of the book was just too long for and confusing for me.
Mark Cassell is a good writer, I read "Sinister Stitches", his short story collection. I enjoyed it very much. He could have done a better job with this novel. The characters are well developed and I really liked Leo. This is a good attempt at a first novel, but the story could have told in less pages.
I still plan to follow Mark Cassell on Twitter and hope he will continue to follow me.