The Horror Zine Review
The Places Between
by Terry Grimwood
|Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Pendragon Press, Maesteg; First edition (September 13, 2010)
The Places Between
by Terry Grimwood
Review by Dr. Kevin Hillman
Sometimes you pick up a book that doesn’t need a bookmark because you simply cannot stop reading. Terry Grimwood’s book, The Places Between is such a book. It’s relatively short at (rough estimate) 45,000 words but even so, once I had started, I could not stop reading until the last page. The monsters arrive in chapter one and they build in number, type and imagination throughout. My bookmark was never placed between these pages.
To quote the back cover, “When Rebecca Ann Samuels commits an act that both frees and condemns her, the nightmares break through the places between our world and those inhabited by the bizarre and the terrible…”
It doesn’t happen all at once. Oh no, first there are only sightings of one or two strange things but soon, the border between this reality and the next frays to the point where Rebecca, and the reader, cannot always be sure which world they are in. The characters slip from this world to the other and back again – not at will, but as though their path winds between the worlds. It’s a hectic and dangerous path and there’s always something snapping at Rebecca’s heels. Sometimes there’s something else waiting around the next corner too. Something with very big teeth.
Part of the compulsion of this story is in trying to work out whether these things are actually happening or whether Rebecca is insane and it’s all only happening in her head. At some points I was convinced she was mad, then that it was indeed the real world, then it might be back in her head. Back and forth I went until finally – well, I leave that for the reader to discover.
Along the way, there are delights in monsters, good ones and bad ones, of types you have never seen before. There are monsters in here that would make Clive Barker jealous. The incredible creatures that call themselves Bezzec and Avy have to be read to be imagined, as do many others.
Does it really happen, or are the monsters simply her own inner demons? There’s only one way to find out. On the way, you’ll meet some amazing people and…things.
The downside is, of course, the price. Small press books are never cheap, these presses don’t have the volume of production to offer huge discounts on the internet and in bookstores. Pendragon Press does, however, offer free surface-mail shipping on its books, to anywhere. Unfortunately they do not sell electronic versions, which is unusual nowadays, but then I’m old-fashioned enough to prefer print anyway. I don’t want a book where the batteries might run out while using an e-reader when I’m two pages from the end. That’s not the kind of tension I want to experience when reading. So for me it’s not an issue, but for others it might be.
For those who still like to read the printed page without recharging an e-reader, this book is well worth your time and your money.
Just make sure all the doors and windows are secure before you start reading.
READ THE FIRST SIX PARAGRAPHS OF THE PLACES BETWEEN
Rebecca Ann Samuels’ journey was a maddened, headlong dash along narrow lanes, where endless hedgerows strobed through the cone of her head-lamps. There was no time. Dawn would be too late.
The big BMW she drove was a cocoon of rich, soft engine growl, unlike her own battered little hatchback. The BMW belonged to her husband, to David –
Mustn’t think about Dr David Samuels, she had to concentrate on getting to the woods fast and alive.
Something flew over the car. . .
Caught in the upper edge of the light cone, not a bird, too big, man-sized, Dear God, man-sized! Its wings were fleshy, gliding wings. A tail snaked out in its wake. It banked abruptly, and hurtled back at the windscreen, jaws wide, teeth - nothing but teeth - bared.
Rebecca screamed and swerved, there was a nightmare of juddering, then she was thrown back across the road and up against the opposite bank. Branches lashed at the glass, scraped paint.
You can buy The Places Between HERE.
About the author
Blues singin’, harmonica blowin’, jam-nite perfomin’, tea drinkin’, college lecturin’, always-writin’ Terry Grimwood lives in England and has been published in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies, including Bare Bone, Nemonymous, Midnight Street, Darkness Rising, Peeping Tom, ParaSpheres and The FutureFire. He’s even slipped a romance into People’s Friend! Terry’s first collection,The Exaggerated Man and Other Stories (with an introduction by Gary McMahon) has been called “Brilliant modern horror” by The Horror Zine’s Jeani Rector. Terry also has a trio of plays under his belt, available to anyone who is interested in performing them: just let him know via his email address below. In fact, if you love writing and reading and all things books, he’d love to hear from even if you don’t perform in plays! Terry is married to the transatlantic poet, Jessica Lawrence, and her collection Dreams of Flight is available from The Poet Launderette Press. Oh, and Terry’s own Exaggerated Press has recently published the not-to-be missed John Travis’ collection, Mostly Monochrome Stories.
About the reviewer
Dr. Kevin Hillman
Dr. Kevin Hillman has a PhD that allows him to play with deadly bacteria without supervision. Someone once thought it was a good idea to teach him this stuff, but he's dead now. In between, he writes and appears online as anyone but himself. His multiple personalities include the sensible and restrained Gutbugs and the sensible but volatile Romulus Crowe, as well as the militant Leg-iron and the utterly deranged Phineas Dume. That last incarnation writes articles for AlienSkin Magazine and takes the credit for most of the stories. He has completed and is attempting to shift a novel called 'Samuel's Girl', an undersize novel called 'Jessica's Trap', and is also working on others. Short stories have appeared in From The Asylum, AlienSkin, and other online venues. So far fame eludes him, which he doesn't mind. So does fortune, which he does mind. Money is the root of all evil so horror writers naturally require a lot of it. You know it makes sense.