Coming Soon -

The Terror by Dan Simmons
Strange Tales Vol III ed by Rosalie Parker
In The Courts Of The Sun by Brian D'Amato
Creatures Of The Pool by Ramsey Campbell

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Vardoger by Stephen Volk

by Stephen Volk
Published by: Gray Friar Press, 2009.

No Vardoger isn't a romantic fishing village at the head of some wild Norwegian fjord, it is Norwegian word but I would suggest you refrain from looking it up until after you have finished Stephen Volk's powerful novella.

When Sean and Alison manage to save up enough special offer vouchers for a weekend at the upmarket Shewstone Hotel, it seems like the perfect opportunity to relax and luxuriate in each others company for a while, even if the surroundings are a bit above their normal standard.

On arrival, however, things start to go wrong right from the start. It appears the hotel is double booked and there is no reference to the couples booking. It then transpires that Sean Merritt actually had a room booked for the previous weekend and had stayed in the hotel, paying by credit card, Sean's credit card. A series of bizarre encounters with staff who recognise Sean leads to even more confusion and then things take a much darker turn when Alison goes missing. It soon becomes clear that there is more at stake here than simple identity fraud.

And so Stephen Volk leads us down a twisting, dark, pathway as the plot spirals into something quite unexpected and very powerful. It's a short tale but little time is wasted in developing the paranoia, schizophrenia and genuine sense of helplessness that Sean feels, feelings that the readers share and empathise with.

Stephen Volk is probably best known for his screenplay work for television and movies (Afterlife, Ghostwatch, Gothic etc) but clearly he is also a very talented and imaginative fiction writer. His writing has a great British quality that gives him an interesting and unusual voice. I thoroughly enjoyed Vardoger.

You can read more about Stephen Volk here or Gray Fiar Press here.

Rating 4 out of 5


Ben said...

This sounds pretty interesting. I'd never heard of Mr. Volk before.

C.G.Leslie said...

Ben, not sure how big it was in the States but the Ken Russell film, Gothic was pretty big here (mid-late eighties) and Stephen Volk was the screenwriter.

Ben said...

Good to know. Unfortunately, I was five years old in the mid-eighties :)

C.G.Leslie said...

Never too early to be enjoying a good horror film :-)

Ben said...

I was kind of an easily scared kid, though...