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Stranger Than Fiction

The British Fantasy Society‘s review of Parlour Tricks popped up online earlier this week, and if you want to find out what the BFS’ Sandra Scholes had to say about my first collection, you can visit the original listing page here , or alternatively you can find the whole review uploaded to the relevant tab on this site. I’ve also included a few choice cuts below, for those wishing to avoid any hint of spoilers:-


“Though he is no stranger to writing fiction, this is Carl Barker’s first collection of short stories, 14 in all with the central theme of illusion. And by that he means the art of illusion used by famous conjurers when they perform their magic tricks in front of a rapt audience. In the Afterword, Barker mentions what led him to create these tales with a horror theme to them and explains each on in The Inner Circle where the stories are based on the performances given by the conjurer…”

“What is most noticeable is how well-written the stories are. He doesn’t need a slick introduction from an already well established author to tell others how good he is at the written word. When you read From Chatterton Hill you already tell he can write with a style that both engages and gives you the thought that you will want to continue reading the next story and so on.”

“I like that the stories all have themes and cater to everyone’s taste in horror stories, from the bizarre to the funny, the gory to the strange, Carl Barker will have plenty more to write and engage with.”


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Magical Mystery Tour

Poet and writer Brian James Lewis has recently completed a very favourable review of ‘Parlour Tricks’, which you can read for yourselves over at both the Hellnotes and Horror Review websites.

I’ve added the full article to the Reviews tab here at Holeinthepage, as well as a few choice excerpts below, for those who want to see what Brian had to say about my debut collection.

You can catch up with Brian on Twitter @skullsnflames76 or on his WordPress blog




Excerpts from review:-

Wow! Talk about an interesting short story collection! Carl Barker’s Parlour Tricks is what you are looking for if you enjoy twisted speculative fiction with shocking endings. Not only does this book boast a highly divergent content level, it also ties the stories together by relating them to specific magic tricks in a section called The Inner Circle at the end of the book. At first, I was a little skeptical of that, but it works! The cover art by Luke Spooner draws you into Barker’s clutches and after that it’s time for the magic to begin. Kids, don’t try these at home!

Now it’s time for me to answer the big question. Would I purchase a copy of Parlour Tricks for myself or a friend? Indeed I would! Every book I’ve read from Parallel Universe Publications is better than the previous one. I’m not just saying that to be nice, either. There is definitely a positive evolution taking place as they grow their catalog of available works. As a reviewer, that is something enjoyable to watch. I totally encourage you to purchase a copy of Carl Barker’s Parlour Tricks in your favorite format today! Please keep in mind that this book is intended for adults and contains material best suited for them. As always, thanks for reading and remember: If you find yourself chained to a breakfast bar with no clothes on, it’s probably the work of a nutty ex-girlfriend. Good Luck!

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From the Vault…

An in-depth review of all the stories collected in Parlour Tricks is currently in progress over at the Vault of Evil website, with eight of the fourteen tales covered so far.

A warning though, for those of you who haven’t yet read the book, as the review does contain some spoilers!

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Shapes in the Static

BS53coverTerror Tales of the Scottish Highlands gets a decent write-up in the latest issue of Black Static (#53), and you can find the relevant review excerpt concerning my contribution via the Reviews tab above.

To read the full review (along with a whole host of excellent stories as well), subscriptions can be obtained from the TTA shop.

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Demi Double

My recent reviews of the last two books in Rod Rees’ Demi-Monde saga are now available over at the British Fantasy Society website. Links can be found here and here, as well as in the BFS tab above as usual.

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Twilight Twosome

My reviews of the last two volumes in Tom Lloyd’s rather enjoyable Twilight Reign saga are now posted over at the BFS website. Those looking for a fun new fantasy read should check them out here and here.

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Addition to Littlewood’s Catalogue

My review of Alison Littlewood’s second novel, ‘Path Of Needles‘ is now available over on the BFS website. Anyone who likes horror/crime fiction with a fairy tale twist should definitely give this one a go.

You can read the review here.

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Jago+ Review

My review of the newly updated edition of Kim Newman’s 1991 horror novel, Jago, is now online over at the BFS.

You can read the review here.

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A Somewhat Expected Journey

My review of ‘The Soddit‘ by A.R.R.R. Roberts, newly repackaged and published by Gollancz Fantasy, is now available over at The BFS website. Link in the usual section above.

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Nothing to see here

My review of Gary McMahon’s ‘Beyond Here Lies Nothing‘ is now posted over at the BFS website. Links via the BFS tab as usual.

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