Spectral Press’ debut offering, What They Hear in the Dark, landed on bookshelves, around the world, last January. Limited to just 100 copies, Spectral Press promises quality over quantity.
Gary McMahon begins the chapbook series with an atmospheric horror just shy of twenty pages long. As with a number of McMahon’s short stories he explores fear and despair. Echoing his Dark Minds contribution, The Ghost of Rain, McMahon tackles the seemingly innocuous with a macabre undertone and quality synonymous with the master of all that is bleak.
This dark journey follows Rob and Becky. They have recently bought a new house following on from the death of their son, Eddie. The tragic circumstances, slowly revealed throughout the piece, and the subsequent breakdown of their relationship, raises questions and issues that may lead to the reader questioning their own life choices and relationship politics. Evocative of Lars von Trier’s Antichrist at its best, this is neither a light nor an easy read.
McMahon has taken the minimalist short story to a new height. This time he explores the discomfort of silence and nothingness. Yet this is only scratching at the surface of the subject matter that What They Hear in the Dark raises. McMahon worms his way into your head and refuses to leave – powerful, compelling, and compulsory.