Extremely excited to be the latest stop on this Blog Tour for THE PALE ONES by BARTHOLOMEW BENNETT. My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for letting me be part of it all!
About the book
Pulped fiction just got a whole lot scarier…
Few books are treasured. Most linger in the dusty purgatory of the bookshelf, the attic, the charity shop, their sallow pages filled with superfluous knowledge. And with stories. Darker than ink, paler than paper, something is rustling through their pages.
Harris delights in collecting the unloved. And in helping people. Or so he says. He wonders if you have anything to donate. To his ‘children’. Used books are his game. Neat is sweet; battered is better. Tears, stains, broken spines – ugly doesn’t matter. Not a jot. And if you’ve left a little of yourself between the pages – a receipt or ticket, a mislaid letter, a scrawled note or number — that’s just perfect. He might call back.
Hangover Square meets Naked Lunch through the lens of a classic M. R. James ghost story. To hell and back again (and again) via Whitby, Scarborough and the Yorkshire Moors. Enjoy your Mobius-trip.
“To a soundtrack of wasps, The Pale Ones unsettles in the way of a parable by some contemporary, edgeland Lovecraft, or another of the authors the used-book dealers in this story no doubt seek out, Arthur Machen. The unnerving images which flicker in a sagging English landscape of charity shops, seaside bed and breakfasts and amusement arcades, washed with stale beer, linger in my imagination ages after reading.” ANTHONY CARTWRIGHT, author of Heartland, BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime
“THE PALE ONES reads as if Samuel Beckett decided to write a horror story after reading a bit of Aickman and Lovecraft. Its shifting landscape of English B&Bs, tawdry seaside hotels, and tatty pubs is haunted by glimpses of outlandish beings, half-forgotten wishes, and the forlorn ghosts of unfulfilled desires. It’s an outstanding debut.” Gary McMahon
Published by Inkanddescent
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bartholomew Richard Emenike Bennett was born in Leicester, the middle son of an American father and English mother. He has studied and worked in the US and New Zealand at various jobs: primarily software developer, but also tutor, nanny, data-entry clerk and call-centre rep, project manager and J-Badger (ask your dad), painter and decorator, and (very slightly) handy-man. Before that, and some now unimaginable time ago, he graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Literature from the University of East Anglia. He has also been known to dabble in online bookselling.
He loves the Goodreads site, and is especially grateful to the Never-Ending Book Quiz for introducing him to The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis.
The Pale Ones is his first published work, although he has been writing fiction continuously, long-form and short, since 2002. Currently he is at work on a novel about three children who experience a long, wintry December filled with gifts. Of the unusual variety. And trials. Of the trying variety.
Currently he lives in southeast London, with his wife and two young children. He is a longstanding member of Leather Lane Writers Group, and since childhood, a dedicated reader of all manner of books, but especially tales of the “horror”. And in fact, some of the paper-packed rooms that feature in The Pale Ones bear a remarkable resemblance to locales in his own abode…
If you are looking for a short novel that is compelling and will leave you feeling strangely unsettled, then look no further! It’s here! It doesn’t scare you though shock and gore, but creeps under your skin and messes with your mind and will leave you a little concerned everytime you may find yourself browsing through the books in a charity shop! If someone points you towards a certain book on the shelves while you’re there…. run!!
It’s a story of an old bookseller, Harris, seemingly passing on knowledge and tips to the young used book dealer he sees in a charity shop. Harris is a very odd character – he has his mysterious ways and seems to strike up dodgy deals in dodgy places and persuades the young man to travel with him up North to pick up some new stock, and in return he’ll get first pick!
It’s while they’re travelling and stopping off that the madness and descent into darkness begins! It’s all written very subtlety in an almost ‘blink and you miss it’ style, but I loved that you were looking out for clues as to what Harris was really up to, enjoying the weird twists foisted upon you and just had that general sinister feeling throughout of what Harris really was involved in and where it would all lead to!
Such a fascinating, disturbing and quirky little book – it’s definitely one to get you out of your comfort zone and gets you to enjoy (if that’s the right way to describe a horror story!_ a different kind of storytelling!