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The Butterfly Man & Other Stories by Paul Kane

My first exposure to Paul Kane’s work was the rather brilliant post apocalyptic remix of Robin Hood that he wrote for Abaddon Books as part of the Afterblight Chronicles series. The trilogy was set in my adopted hometown of Nottingham, and I loved every minute of it. Paul got in touch recently and asked if I would be interested in taking a look at his new short story collection. My interest in short stories has been rekindled this year after some excellent stories published by Spectral Press, so needless to say I jumped at the chance.

The Butterfly Man & Other Stories contains eighteen horrific tales that should delight any horror fan.

I have been sat here for the last half an hour trying to decide which of the stories were my favourites, a near impossible task when all of them are so damn good. After much umming and ahhing here, in no particular order, are my personal picks from this collection

Speaking in Tongues – What happens when your tongue decides its time to leave? This is gross-out body horror that nearly made my eyes pop out of my head. I think it is safe to assume that this is the kind of story that the word ‘Ick’ was invented for.

Windchimes – I’m a great believer that the very best horror is that which is the most realistic. There is nothing more tragic than the death of a child. In Windchimes, Kane covers this topic with a delicate, reverential touch. Deeply affecting, and as shocking as it is moving.

It’s All Over – As this collection is being launched at a convention, it seems only appropriate that a story about obsession, stalking and an author meeting his number one fan wormed its way into my heart. Add in a dash of vampirism and you have another winner.

The Butterfly Man – The collection’s title story follows a man who lives his entire life from birth to death from old age in a single day. The reader gets to follow his interactions and the highs and lows of his brief existence. I couldn’t help asking myself what would I do if I only had twenty-four hours?

Keeper of the Light – Who hasn’t been afraid of the dark at least once in their life? It’s a primal horror for so many people and this story explores this fear. One man stands alone against the encroaching darkness that is systematically destroying everything in its path.

Interested? Well the good news is that there are another thirteen tales included that cover the full gamut of emotions from darkly comic to deeply harrowing. I really can’t recommend this collection highly enough. I enjoyed every single entry. Kane has genuine skill when it comes to eliciting emotion from his readers. If you have never read any of Paul Kane’s work, or been exposed to PS Publishing’s impressive catalogue, before this would be the ideal place to start.

A punchy, gripping and un-missable group of tales worthy of an self respecting horror fans attention.

The Butterfly Man & Other Stories was launched today at Fantasycon 2011 and is available from PS Publishing now.

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