Genre Fiction

And now for something completely different…

I don’t think I’m going to be writing any straight horror fiction for a wee while. I looked my worst nightmare in the face a couple of weeks back (those of you who need to know, already know ), and came out the other side of it with a different perspective on life, and how I want to spend the rest of it.

I won’t be giving up writing – I don’t think I could at this stage – but my focus will be different.

Quite how that will manifest itself is yet to be seen. I certainly envisage writing more Carnacki tales, and I can’t quit weird fiction entirely, as it’s in my blood. But as I said, I’ve faced my real horror; the written thing isn’t going to cut it for me, at least for the time being.

So right now I’m reevaluating the way ahead. A big project has fallen in my lap that gives me some breathing room, a sprawling, epic, historical thing with only hints of the supernatural, and I’m going to dive into that to see where it takes me.

There’s a couple of invitation stories I need to write first, but neither of them are straight horror either, so they’ll get done in the next week or so. Then it’s head down and head first into something different.

I think that’s what’s needed about now.

I probably won’t be on social media all that much for a while either. If you want to follow irregular updates on progress, sign up for my newsletter. 



Sherlock Holmes: The Dreaming Man, out now.

My new Sherlock Holmes novel, THE DREAMING MAN launches today from Gryphonwood Press.

There’s a paperback too for anyone who prefers hard copy.

THE DREAMING MAN is a novel length expansion to my earlier novella, REVENANT ( that makes up about the first 1/3 or so of this new story.)

Cover art once again by the great Wayne Miller.


Meikle’s authorial voice is a thing of wonder as you find yourself drawn into the story and racing along after clues with Holmes and Dr. Watson, sometimes losing sight of the fact that this is a horror/armchair mystery mashup created by William Meikle and not one of Doyle’s own creations. – Hellnotes

After being called to help Mycroft with a case in the House of Lords, our duo find themselves on the run, pursued by the law and beset by a foe who cannot be traced.

The clues lead Holmes and Watson to an alchemist in Scotland, and deeper mysteries where they find their case linked to the quest for immortality, and a plot that might bring down the British Empire.

But even as the case appears to reach a conclusion, a series of seemingly unrelated robberies proves that the matter is larger – and more personal – than even the great detective can imagine.

A dreaming man, lost in a fugue, leads them down dark passages, through the streets of London – and underneath them.

Soon Holmes’ brother, Mycroft has to become involved, and the details of a fiendish plot become clearer when Mycroft is abducted.

A friend is lost and found again, an old enemy resurfaces and Holmes must walk perilous paths for a second time.

A fall is coming, a fall that has haunted Holmes’ dreams, and now must be faced again, in the place where past and present become one, and two old foes meet for a final battle.

Sign up, get a free ebook

Okay, lets do this one more time…

My mailing list is starting again from scratch on my own domain. If you signed up previously, please come over again and rejoin me.

As a reward and a celebration of the renewed list, I’m offering a free download of my HOME FROM THE SEA short story collection that contains 14 reprints of my personal favorite stories of recent years, including a couple of Carnackis, a Holmes, a Challenger and several stories originally from Chaosium anthologies.

You get the link in your welcome email after signing up…

Please sign up here:

Back in Glasgow with The Midnight Eye

I still can’t settle on my next big project.

Part of that is because I have so many things out in the pipline already sold and waiting to be published, and part of it is that I overloaded my brain last year in a frenzy of writing that seems to have, temporarily I hope, emptied me out a bit.

At times like this, I fall back into old patterns, familiar characters. The last time it happened I ended up writing a Carnacki collection.

This time, I’m back with Scottish P.I. Derek Adams. I wrote a novella back in early March that’s out on submission, and I’m working on a new story right now that’s growing like Topsy. It was just going to be a short story, but it’s just crested 10K words and gaining plot as it goes. It’s definitely going to be another novella, and might even be a novel if the stars are right.

I’m going way back to my roots with this one. I began it after a Facebook thread about selling my soul for three pints of beer and a packet of crisps, and I wondered, ‘what if…’

Derek came along, said he’d take it from there, and away we went.

Stepping into his shoes is like putting on a favorite jacket; it just feels comfortable to me, and I fall quickly into the voice and speech patterns of the Glasgow man.

The Glasgow in my Derek Adams stories is an idealised one, more the place I lived in forty years ago than it is now.

But as I said, I’m comfortable there, and so is Derek.

I’m excited to see where this one goes from here.

Book Review: 4/5 stars to GHOST TRAIN by Stephen Laws

Ghost TrainGhost Train by Stephen Laws

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my introduction to Stephen Laws way back when, and led me to seek out everything he has written.

It’s based on a great premise… that the main East Coast rail line from London to the North of England is on a ley line that can channel power to the London End, with a view to waking an ancient demon.

Strange deaths abound on the line. Our protagonist, himself a survivor of a strange experience on a train, has to try to stop the energy building up.

The climax is a tour-de-force as the train hurtles to London, the demon grows ever more powerful, and the deaths pile up.

Laws has a wild imagination, and he likes to kill people in very gruesome fashions, but if, like me, you like your horror fast and action packed, then he’s the man for you.

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Book Review: 5/5 stars to FEVRE DREAM by George R R Martin

Fevre DreamFevre Dream by George R.R. Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the best written vampire novels I have read. A real pleasure after having waded through so much tripe elsewhere.

GRRM knows how to write, and how to plot.

The main character in this book isn’t really a person at all… it’s a steamboat, the Fevre Dream. It is built by a Captain, and his strangely pale partner. Together they take to the river, getting involved in trying to set fast times and race other steamers.

Things hot up when it becomes obvious that the pale partner has night-time interests. He is hunting for others of his kind. And when he finds them, we get to some of the most vicious vamps in literature, along with their equally vicious human “pet”

The characters are all vividly drawn, especially Abner, the steamboat captain who just wants to be on the river, in a big boat.

And GRRM has enough twists and turns in the plot to keep the reader interested through until the end, which comes with a perfect grace note. There won’t be a dry eye in the house.

They really should make this into a movie… just to show what “Interview with The Vampire” COULD have been.

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Book Review: 4/5 Stars to THE SIX MESSIAHS by Mark Frost

The Six Messiahs (The List of Seven, #2)The Six Messiahs by Mark Frost

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first read THE SIX MESSIAHS, I was more than a bit disappointed with it. I wanted a sequel to the excellent LIST OF SEVEN. I wanted Jack Sparks and Conan Doyle, hunting down the bad guy, with all the appropriate Sherlockian nods and winks that would entail. What we get instead is a dizzying host of characters, hardly anything of Jack Sparks, and not much at all of Doyle.

If you’re looking for Sherlock in this one, you’re really looking in the wrong place. THE SIX MESSIAHS is a different beast entirely. It’s more about suffering, and redemption, and the power of cults than anything else.

On this second reading I got the point a lot quicker than on the first, and I raced through it. Frost is great at pacing, has an eye for what makes a character memorable, and an inventive imagination that keeps the whole thing careering along.

There’s a bit too much head-hopping around the point of view characters for my liking, and even a couple of places where it gets confusing trying to figure out which head we’re supposed to be in at the time. And in the rush to the finish, a couple of characters get sidelined and don’t really get to finish their part of the story.

But that’s just quibbling. All in all, it’s a fine romp. And despite what I said earlier, there is indeed a glimpse of Sherlock, right at the end, when the right thing is done and most of the threads are tied up.

I keep hoping for another sequel from Frost to see what Doyle gets up to next, but the new Twin Peaks will do just fine in the meantime.

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Book Review: 4/5 stars to HIDE ME AMONG THE GRAVES by Tim Powers

Hide Me Among the GravesHide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been a big Tim Powers fan for many years now.

I adore the way he attacks a plot with exuberance and bravado. In this one we’re tossed into the lives of the Rossetti family, a veterinarian, a prostitute and an adventurer in Dickensian London all plagued by a family blood curse that has come back to claim its own. It’s also a sequel to an earlier work, but you don’t need to know that to enjoy this one on its own merits.

19th Century London is a locale Powers has detailed before of course, in THE ANUBIS GATES in particular. HIDE isn’t quite in that league of baroque brilliance – then again, what is? – but it’s a glorious, almost breathless romp that throws snatches of poetry and music hall at you, draws in legends of London from the Roman era onward, dances in the bars and descends into the sewers and caverns beneath the Old Lady to meet the denizens, natural and supernatural who live there.

It’s all driven along by Powers’ at times poetic language and feel for a story. You’ll find death, romance, seances, exorcisms, high magic in Highgate Cemetery, ghosts by the Thames and derring-do in Cheyne Walk.

It’s a fine addition to Powers’ catalog.

Reading him always makes me feel like a rank amateur in my own writing – but it also makes me want to strive to do better, so I’m off to try.

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Book Review: 4/5 Stars to REVIVAL by Stephen King

RevivalRevival by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been a constant reader of the man since CARRIE – over forty years now, and in recent years have found his work a bit hit or miss for me – I loved 11/22/63 for example, but was terribly disappointed in Dr. Sleep. So there was some trepidation when I picked up REVIVAL, having read scathing reviews.

I’m glad I ignored them though for, despite being another slow burner, there is much to enjoy in this tale of broken people, redemption and mad science. King references Arthur Machen’s THE GREAT GOD PAN but I found echoes of other works here, from Theodore Sturgeon’s THE DREAMING JEWELS to Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN, and also B Movie nods to the likes of THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES and even I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF.

As I said, it’s a slow burner, and it’s only as we approach the climax that all the threads come together and we see why we needed to look so closely at history, family, young-and lost-love and how life changes as the years grow. Then it’s a rush riding the lightning to the bitter-sweet end.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting on a bit myself now, having been on this journey with the writer since I was 16 myself, but this book spoke to me, and I liked it a lot. It reminded me in style of another much maligned King, FROM A BUICK 8, and, yes, I liked that one a lot too.

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