Jan Edwards was born in Sussex, despite her thoroughly Celtic parentage, Jan is currently living in Staffs Moorlands with three cats and husband, Peter Coleborn. In addition to being a writer, she is also a Reiki Master teacher and meditational healer and has been Master Locksmith, motorcycle seller, bookseller, civil servant, ostler, market gardener, and librarian.
Edwards is the winner of the Arnold Bennett Book Prize for her crime novel Winter Downs. Recipient of a Karl Edward Wagner award (British Fantasy Awards). Winner of the Winchester Slim Volume award (for Sussex Tales). Short listed for both the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction and Best Collection. Check out more of Edwards amazing work on her website.
Fables and Fabrications
From the Arctic wastes of Norway to a fun-laden evening at the fair, Jan Edwards leads us through a world where nothing is as it seems. Shape changers and ancient spirits roam, and cats play their inscrutable parts in stories that unsettle and disturb the reader’s perceptions. Fourteen tales of mystery, mirth and the macabre. Chosen from her back catalogue of horror and dark fantasy these stories, leavened with a sprinkle of verse, have been collected for the first time in this volume.
You’ll be drawn to this book – in her words, like a hungry she-bear scenting tethered sheep. Announced as ‘fourteen tales of mystery, mirth and the macabre’ this is not the grind-core slasher-horror of gut-wrenching torture-porn, more the luring strangeness of some lost golden age.
Journo Ellie finds herself in the ‘tinted gloom’ of Finnmark’s “Midnight Twilight” reporting on the Melting Icecap and researching into the Fortean X-Filed Sasquatch of the Arctic and finds maybe Trolls, maybe something more Frankensteinian.
Elsewhere. there are stories that recall the frisson of Herbert Van Thal’s Pan Book of Horror Stories. paperback series, or Television’s Hammer House of Horrors. Drawing Down the Moon is a world in which cat-sitter Kara is beguiled by the Pre-Raphaelite curls of a flea-market trader into buying a bronze statuette, and a book of spells called Magic for the Solitary, which has a weight-loss incantation and one that changes her eye-color to a seductive violet.
And there’s Dennis Wheatley necromantic darkness when one-eyed Cinthia, who runs a Greek-themed Canvey Island greasy café, summons the power of reanimation rituals that lie in her eternal memory and on her tongue. But, as such tradition informs us, those who seek to exploit demonic forces pay a grotesque price.
Grey Magic for Cat Lovers has a rich playfulness where a dire undynamic-duo of cats called Bug and Tug stalk and weave their way through the pages, unlike the more demonic Chomi in the Pet Therapy Hospice, who anticipates impending death. Mayday Comes Askew is a gossipy soap-opera of the gods, with a glance at a Thomas Burnett Swann with GSOH.
For Norse and Greek mythology happily frolics together, while Thirteenth Day is mystic folk-lore based on a Scottish carol riven with symbols and portents, to which Winter Eve adds visceral Samhain strangeness. Even among the occasional poems, there’s a sour feminist response to Ovid’s sensual love odes.
Not that she doesn’t do diversity because she does. While Green Tea revolved around lethally-feuding sisters, Damnation Seize My Soul takes a revenge quest through time, washed through eons from the barbarian past into the space faring far future. While readably light comic tale Princess Born and Jack Jumps Out pf The Box are twisted folktales, myths and legends without Angela Carter’s dark undertow. You’ll be drawn to this book in her words, “…like snails to discarded lettuce.”