"Down into the Darkness" follows the fortunes of thirty-something Tony Jenks from a happy go lucky guy... to the complete opposite!
Today I’m writing a few words about my new short book that is out this month.
It’s called “Down into the Darkness” and is much shorter than most of my books, clocking in at around 140 pages, but some people have liked the fact that it’s a short and snappy read. Let’s face it, we don’t all have the time or want to read 700 page marathons every time we start something new.
“Down into the Darkness” follows the fortunes of thirty-something Tony Jenks. He lives alone in a small flat in an old Edwardian building that he shares with three other flats. All the other apartments are occupied by a weird bunch of people with a weird bunch of problems, but Tony’s happy enough to stay there for he has a decent job, and no mortgage, and believes he is as free as it is possible to be.
Then one night while in bed, alone as usual, he hears noises the likes of which he has never heard before, and Tony’s journey down into the darkness has begun.
The book has been described as “intelligent horror”, though I did not set out to write a horror story, and I am still not sure that it is, but as Graham Greene used to say, “I have to read what the critics write before I ever really understand what my books are all about”, or words to that effect, and I’ll go along with that.
“Down into the Darkness” is out now as an ebook and in paperback and you can buy the ebook for less than a cup of high street coffee.
I have a story to tell that you wonít believe, but I am going to tell it anyway. Read, devour, consider, rememberÖ and move on. Isnít that how it always is with tall stories?
It all started one early summer, but before I tell you about that, let me say a little about myself, fill in the background, so to speak, put everything in context, flesh things out, and maybe youíll be able to make sense of it all.
My name is Tony Jenks and when this weird business began I was thirty-two years old. I live alone, but donít feel sorry for me because when I see the mess and conflict that so many other so-called happy couples live in, Iím happy and content to be by myself.
I was, or am, an only child, my mother died when I was fourteen, and that was a year after my charming father had run off to Australia. Good riddance, I said at the time, and I havenít changed my feelings on that subject one iota since. I havenít seen or spoken to him since he went away, and thatís the way I like it, and thatís the way it will remain. I donít know where he is now, he doesnít know where I live, and thatís not going to change either. Weíre both comfortable with the status quo, or at least I am. Canít speak for him, couldnít care less.
So, where do I live?
Glad you asked me that.
I have a one-bedroom first floor flat in an Edwardian house that overlooks a tree-lined boulevard. Thereís a park opposite where people play bowls and tennis in the summer, and walk their dogs all the year round. I donít play. Donít get me wrong; I do like sports, some sports, but only those that donít possess balls.
Swimming, motor racing, even horse racing and athletics, but anything with balls sucks. Thatís just my view on the sporting world.
But I digress, back to my living quarters.
There are four flats in the house, one on the ground floor, two on the first, and one in the attic, and they are all full, and they are all rented. The landlord, one Mr Whittingham, must be doing pretty good, but that doesnít bother me, in truth, heís not a bad landlord, he fixes things when they break, and heís not in any hurry to zap the rent up too often, so I guess all four of us tenants are pretty content to stay here.
Put it this way, none of us appears in any hurry to move out and move on, and that must mean something.
Downstairs, live the Riches, but they laugh at that because if ever a name was inappropriate it must be theirs. They never have two beans to rub together, and I know for a fact that come rent money day sometimes they struggle. Iíve even heard stories that on occasion they have missed a payment date altogether, and Iím sure the aforementioned Mr Whittingham wouldnít be too happy with that.
Why give any landlord an excuse to evict you? Thatís my way of thinking. I certainly donít. My rentís paid on the day every month, paid on the nail by standing order mandate, and itís something I never lose any sleep over. Perhaps Iím just lucky.
The Riches consist of old man Riches, and yes it is spelt like that, kind of plural looking, and his sour wife of course, and for the life of me I canít remember their Christian names, in fact I am wondering if I ever knew them. They are both in their sixties and would you think me uncharitable if I said they are both a total pain in the neck?
They are quick to complain about noise on their ceiling at ever opportunity, and jeez, it isnít because I am a noisy bastard, because I am not. I donít have the TV on loud, I donít dance around in outdoor shoes, I donít even possess a sound system, and never host parties. I donít sing, fart, shout, snore, or talk over-loudly, leastways thatís my take on life, but somehow the Riches all too often find reason to complain, and itís him, old man Riches, more often than not.
He comes to my door wearing an old brown trilby hat. Heís rarely seen without it, and itís always the same old moan with the same sad hangdog look set on his face.
ĎI donít wish to be a pain, Tone,í - he always calls me Tone, which I confess I donít like much, Ďbut can you keep the noise down a bit? Itís Mrs Riches you see, sheís not a well woman, and she needs her rest.í
ĎNoise? What noise?í I say.
ĎItís the radio, Tone, always on loud, always talking away at all hours of the day and night.í
Well folks, that is just complete and utter tosh.
I admit, I do like to listen to talk radio, I do enjoy Radio 4, and it wakes me automatically with the seven oíclock news in the morning, and itís the last thing I listen to at night, with Book at Bedtime, - one of my all time favourites, and then the midnight news.
Oh, let me tell you something else now before I forget, and youíll probably revise your opinion of me when you hear this, but as I said, this is the truth too. Youíll get everything Ė good and bad.
Just before the midnight news comes on, the BBC in their wisdom, play the chimes of Big Ben. I like it, and whatís more, if Iíve supped two or three cans of cider, as occasionally I do, as Big Ben begins his nightly toll, I jump to the radio and up the volume.
Itís naughty I know, but I figure that if I am to be hassled over making so much damned noise I may as well be done for a real din as opposed to an imaginary one.
So there it is, Big Ben is bonging, louder than usual, courtesy of moi, volume temporarily boosted, Bong, Bong, Bong, and of course being midnight there are as many Bongs as you are ever going to get, other than if a war breaks out, and Iím hoping that isnít going to happen any time soon, and Iím standing there in my jimjams, last can of cider in one hand, tíother hand on the volume control, twiddling the knob, giggling to myself, BONG! Full volume on the very last chime, and then I turn it right down low so that you couldnít hear it if you were ten feet away, throw the empty can in the WPB and jump into bed, join my hands together behind my head, grin to myself, pretty stupidly, I suspect, though thankfully no one ever witnesses that, and by the time the midnight news has ended, Iím usually reaching across and snapping off the bedside light, and heading down into the darkness.
Hard to Put Down....
Iíve read quite a few of Carterís books now and have enjoyed them all, but I found something about the subtly and introspective nature of Down into the Darkness particularly appealing. This is a fascinating and suspenseful read which demonstrates the author's keen skill in creating and developing incredibly real and often relatable characters. From early on in this novel tension builds slowly and the feeling of mystery and that something troubling is coming is inescapable, once I had started I found it very hard to put this book down because of this. Down into the Darkness is a very enjoyable read with an original and intriguing plot and I look forward to reading more of Carter's books.
For those who enjoy a tale of intrigue and horror with an unsettling twist...
Having read several of David Carter's books, I think it would be impossible to be disappointed by his tales. He guarantees a sound, thoroughly researched, well thought out story written with precision, constantly driving the reader forward, anxious to discover just where the story is going.
This novella is no exception, it contains all of the above which for me is the hallmark of excellence being able to retain a reader regardless of whether the subject matter is less than appealing, which certainly was the case for me. I'm not into the gory, messy minutiae of uninvited death to life in any form, but if this is your bag then you'll love this one.
Who can say what's going on in an old Edwardian house divided into four flats? Written in the first person we are introduced to the occupants by Tony Jenks, an insurance claims assessor who works closely with Kesh Grindles, a blonde haired twenty-six year old natural beauty, for whom he has a cautious, respectful, sneaking admiration - due to the fact she's married, of course. That's the front, however poor Tony is drowning in desire for her and is more or less resigned to the fact there's no chance, or so he thinks.
Hearing strange noises in the night she becomes central to his support, for this is something he'd rather not share with his companion residents. Eager to help she appears to have offered him a solution but does it work? Has she identified the cause of the terrifying noise in the first place and what kind of trouble is she storing for him with his landlord?
Once again Carter uses his social observation skills to brilliant effect, for his neighbours prove to be a totally convincing diverse bunch of characters I wouldn't want to live next to either, all having their own peculiarities which pitch into the story, heightening the curiosity and tension.
In line with this spine-chilling tale is a highly unusual conclusion to the denouement which as you will have sussed, is the conclusion but not quite the end.
I never hesitate to highly recommend David Carter's books and this is no exception. If you are looking for a fast-moving thrilling tale then this is the one for you. This brilliant author deserves to be read and I feel, regardless of genre preferences, his natural story telling ability is such, those who appreciate good writing can but enjoy his work.