Epeolatry Book Review: The Faces At Your Shoulder by Steve Duffy


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Title: The Faces at Your Shoulder
Editor: Steve Duffy
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Saros Press (Limited Run)
Release Date: 15th January, 2022

Synopsis: Where are the monsters?  Sometimes they’re right behind you.

In this new collection of six novelettes – three are wholly original to this volume – Steve Duffy invites us to look over our shoulders, and asks us whether we recognise the faces that we see.  Some of them are all too human, some are animals, and some are like nothing we’ve ever seen – yet. 

In the snowy wastes of the Yukon and the mining country of Appalachia an age-old terror is unwittingly unleashed…

After-hours at the Pacific View diner, meet a glamorous, mysterious film star and uncover a monstrous bargain…

In Streatham or in Ethiopia, you must be careful what you wish for – very careful – or anything might happen…

Christmas is a time for family, and that means dark secrets, desperate desires and occult constructs…

Down at the zoo something is stirring: the animals know, but the warders won’t realise until it’s already too late…

Young love blossoms at the New York World’s Fair, but the future has its own agenda…

Steve’s previous Sarob Press collection (Finding Yourself in the Dark) sold out its print run within a few weeks of publication.  Don’t risk missing out – order your copy of The Faces at Your Shoulder now.  Before the monsters disappear…

Stories: “The Oram County Whoosit” “The Soul is a Bird*” “In the Days Before the Monsters*” “The Psychomanteum” “The Lion’s Den” and “Futureboro*” *original to this volume. “Foreword” and “Notes on the Stories” by the author.

THE FACES AT YOUR SHOULDER is a Hand Numbered Limited Edition Jacketed Hardcover.

Bound in Nordic Blue Cialux Italian cloth, Foil Blocked to Front & Spine in Gold, Quality Munken Premium Cream 90gsm Text Paper, Full Colour Printed Endpapers, Section Sewn binding, Gold Head/Tailbands and Gold Ribbon Bookmarker. Approx 192pp including prelims etc. Fantastic Full Colour Wrap Dust-Jacket and B&W Frontispiece Art by PAUL LOWE. Publication currently scheduled for early/mid February 2023.

It’s no secret that award-winner Steve Duffy  ( author of five short story collections) is one of my favorite writers, so I was looking forward to his new collection, a delightful hardcover volume beautifully produced by Sarob Press.

The book includes six novelettes, three reprints, and three brand-new pieces.

While a couple of them did not quite work for me, the remaining four are simply outstanding and make the collection a book not to be missed for any reason.

And here they are.

“ The Ooram County Whoosit”( previously appeared in one of the anthologies published by the long-gone Ash-Tree Press) is a splendid example of Duffy’s immense talent as a storyteller, recreating Lovecraftian atmospheres with excellent taste and superlative craftsmanship.

“ The Soul is a Bird” is an engrossing novelette told in a spellbinding style, so much so that a few slightly implausible details are totally neglected by the reader due to the overwhelming, magnificent narrative flow.

In “ The Psychomanteum” – yet another example of superb dark fiction- a dying man can supposedly be saved by his young nephew by means of a paranormal contraction set in the old family house, while in the tense and mesmerizing “ The Lion’s Den” strange events and unexpected incidents take place in a zoo.

I cannot recommend this collection enough!


Available from Sarob Press.

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