A shadowy figure glimpsed in the darkness on a deserted beach.
A monstrous presence on the last train home.
A stick-figure puppet which mysteriously appears in the night.
All of these, and more, are to be found within the pages of the new collection from Mark West. With an introduction by Johnny Mains and containing eighteen stories spanning his writing career so far, including two unpublished tales, Things We Leave Behind is a haunting compilation in which the ordinary and the supernatural combine to devastating effect.
This second volume of short stories (following Strange Tales, which was originally published in 2003) features eighteen tales spanning the length of my published career to date (the earliest here, All The Rage, appeared in 1999).
Searching through my back catalogue for stories to include was good fun and made the editing process interesting (re-reading a story that's seventeen years old and having to resist the urge to re-write it all is harder than I thought it would be). Neil Williams provided the perfect artwork (I love Mr Stix on the back cover), Johnny Mains wrote an excellent introduction and it was a pleasure to work with Anthony Watson & Ross Warren at Dark Minds Press.
ALL THE RAGE
first published in Unhinged Magazine Issue 4, 1999
first published in The Fourth Book of Terror Tales, 2010
A COTTAGE BY THE SEA
first published in Hauntings, 2004
MR HUXTON GOES CAMPING
first published in AltDead, 2011
first published in Ill at Ease, 2011
first published in Shoes, Ships and Cadavers: Tales from North Londonshire, 2010
LAST TRAIN HOME
first published in Fogbound from Five, 2012
LOOKING AT ME, SEEING YOU
first published in Darker Minds, 2012
first published in Hauntings, 2012
first published by Spectral Press (Chapbook #7), 2012
first published in Ill at Ease 2, 2013
THE TASTE OF HER
original to this collection
THE WITCH HOUSE
first published in Urban Occult, 2013
first published in For the Night is Dark, 2013
first published in Anatomy of Death, 2013
first published in Darkest Minds, 2015
first published in The Grimorium Verum: Volume 3, 2015
ISSUES OF DISRUPTION
original to this collection
"Mark and I have an uncomplicated friendship. We met through Facebook, both probably crowing over ratty old paperbacks, which we both have an affinity for, and met for the first time at Alt-Fiction, Leicester 2012. We had a beer or three, had a great chat, and became firm friends. We always talk about...you guessed it…old ratty paperbacks. I love it when life is simple and you don’t need to talk about anything else except which author wrote what book about bubonic maggots eating spleens from a cabal of cannibal nuns…"
- Johnny Mains, from his introductionWith a range of stories, from quiet horror to gleefully gruesome, I'm very pleased with the collection and I hope - if you take a chance on it - that you are too.
* * *
The collection was launched at Edge-Lit 6 in Derby, on 15th July 2017, alongside Laura Mauro's excellent novella Naming The Bones.
|Me, Ross Warren (publisher) and Laura Mauro|
|At the launch, Laura read an extract from What We Do Sometimes, Without Thinking whilst I read the first few pages from her novella|
* * *
"Mark's writing is always crisp and to the point, and his stories never outstay their welcome. This is a high quality collection and I have no hesitation in recommending it to lovers of scary stories and weird little tales."
- Laura Mauro, Amazon
"Mark West has a phenomenal style of writing and it was a pleasure to see this collection of work spread out over such a large patch of his career. His prose is great and the characters are deeply drawn and sympathetic."
- Chad Clark, Amazon
"I was rereading some of Stephen King's early short stories at the same time as reading Things We Leave Behind and there's a clear influence at work, transposed to these shores and made very British. It's there in the everyman/woman protagonists that populate his work; there too in the fact West writes wonderfully well about childhood and being a kid. But there's a seedier, gorier side to his fiction as well...stories not ashamed to acknowlege horror's seedier roots. Highly recommended to all horror fans."
- James Everington, Scattershot Writing