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Now a BBC America original television show by the writer and executive producer of The X-Files!For ex-cop Jack Whalen, it all begins with a visit from a childhood friend, a lawyer who needs Jack's help. The family of a noted scientist has been senselessly, brutally murdered, and the scientist is nowhere to be found.But Jack has more pressing concerns. The past that drove him from the L.A.P.D. continues to haunt him. And his wife has disappeared during a routine business trip to Seattle. She never checked into her hotel. She isn't answering her cell phone. She is gone.A third missing person, a little girl from Oregon, is found miles away. But it soon becomes obvious that she is not an innocent victim ... and far from defenseless.Something very strange is happening--a perplexing series of troubling events that's leading Jack Whalen into the shadows. And the secrets buried there are unlike anything he, or anyone, could possibly have imagined.
What Happens When You Wake Up in the Night - Michael Marshall SmithFor Michael Marshall Smith, this was one of those stories that dropped straight into his head, but the problem was that he didn't want it: "It wasn't an idea I liked. It was clearly some part of my brain serving up a notion simply because it could, and because it knew it could frighten me with it."It did frighten me, and so I did what I always do when that happens - which is write it down, in the hope it will go away."Respects - Ramsey Campbell"'Respects' was suggested by a local incident in which a car thief in his early teens killed himself while fleeing the police," recalls Campbell. "A lamp standard at the site of his demise is still decorated with flowers years after the incident, and the tributes on the obituaries page of one Wallasey newspaper were at least as grotesque as the ones I've invented - the romanticisation of a petty criminal.Cold to Touch - Simon Strantzas"Stories often find their origins in unexpected ways," Strantzas reveals. "I was inspired in this case by a photograph of a Zen garden I once used as my computer's desktop background."There was something there in the coldness of the photograph, something that brought to mind the barren vistas of the Canadian Arctic, which ended up being the perfect setting for my tale of tested faith."The Reunion - Nicholas Royle"'The Reunion' is based on actual events," reveals the author, "but the story only really came into focus for me when I was invited to contribute to Ellen Datlow's Poe anthology."Poe is brilliant. I was at a conference recently where a teacher revealed that she had read Poe's 'The Black Cat' to a lecture theatre full of schoolchildren. She switched off all the lights and used a torch to read by. A number of parents lodged complaints, which she took as a measure of the event's success. My tale is inspired by a different Poe story."Granny's Grinning - Robert Shearman"I love Christmas," says Shearman. "Always have done, and always a bit too passionately. The intensity with which I loved Christmas was delightful when I was eight years old, slightly unusual by the time I was eighteen, and increasingly disturbing thereafter."I was the last one to grow up. It suddenly dawned on me one year, looking into the faces of my parents, and of my sister, that they were all older, and fatter, and less and less festive. And that they were trying so hard to keep me happy each Christmas, pretending they wanted all those presents I'd bought, all those sausage rolls and Quality Street chocs. That what I was trying to do, each December, was somehow reach back into the past and resurrect a time that was dead, that was long dead."I still love Christmas. But now I recognize - as I still make them perform party games, as I still make them open their gifts and smile and say thank you - that they're zombies now. All of them, zombies. I'll never get my childhood back again, not really, or the innocence of that family get-together. So I'll make do with the dead, and pretend."This is a story all about that."In The Garden - Rosalie Parker"'In the Garden' was written after I challenged myself to write a horror story about gardening," explains the author. "It emerged more quickly and easily than anything I've ever written. I think of it more as a prose poem than a story."
For young Mark, the world has turned as bleak and gray as the Brighton winter. Separated from his real father and home in London, he's come to live with his mother and her new husband in an old house near the sea. He spends his days alone, trying to master the skateboard, while other boys his age are in school. He hates the unwanted stepfather who barged into Mark's life to rob him of joy. Worst of all, his once-vibrant mother has grown listless and weary, no longer interested in anything beyond her sitting room. But on a damp and chilly evening, an accident carries Mark into the basement flat of the old woman who lives at the bottom of his stepfather's house. She offers tea, cakes, and sympathy . . . and the key to a secret, bygone world. Mark becomes caught up in the frenetic bustle of the human machinery that once ran a home, and drawn ever deeper into a lost realm of spirits and memory. Here below the suffocating truths, beneath the pain and unhappiness, he finds an escape, and quite possibly a way to change everything. A richly evocative, poignantly beautiful modern-day ghost story, The Servants marks the triumphant return of Michael Marshall Smith--the first novel in a decade from the multiple award-winning author of Spares.
Suppose for a moment you're Jack Randall. You're a loner, an ex-cop, the dangerous veteran of a savage war. All you've held dear has long ago been destroyed. For the last five years you've been hiding out on a spares farm, working at the only job that will still have you: guarding people who have never seen the outside world and can't even spell the word "escape. " In short, your luck has run out. You might think things couldn't get any worse. You'd be wrong. Because Jack Randall has a talent for attracting trouble: the kind most people run screaming from. But Jack Randall is not most people. That's part of his trouble. Now he's on the run with seven of the Farm's inmates (well, six and a half), and the people who own them will do anything to get them back. All Jack wants to do is score enough money to disappear with his human contraband. But things aren't as simple as that. For Jack Randall, they never are. Jack is on a head-on collision course with the man responsible for all this misery--a cold-blooded killer with one purpose: to cancel Jack once and for all. Now Jack has a decision to make: keep running or even the score? Either way spells more trouble. And when the ghosts of the past meet the terrors of the future, the result for Jack will be one hell of a scary ride. Who are the spares? And what is their purpose? That is the most shocking revelation of all.
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