When record shop owner Carl almost gets lost walking new girlfriend Annie back from their first date through streets he should know well from his days as a cycle courier, it's just the first in a sequence of unsettling events that will lead him to a disturbingly grim otherworld from which he may never escape. Walking home, he is drawn to a relentlessly ringing telephone, breaking into a house to answer it, only to hear a woman's voice pleading for him to help her. Outside his shop he finds a photocopied map showing streets he doesn't recognise and can't track down, and he finds himself steadily drawn into an alternative world that exists in the gaps between places in this one. Royle's deceptively informal prose draws you in so that each step in the deepening of Carl's story seems logical, inevitable even, until you end up in a place that is decidedly strange and nightmarish the kind of place that China Miéville or Jonathan Carroll might take you to. It's written with the deft and economical touch of a skilled short-story writer. --The Guardian
About the Author
The winner of two British Fantasy Awards, Nicholas Royle is the author of a short story collection, 'Mortality', two novellas and five novels, including 'The Director's Cut' and 'Antwerp'. He teaches creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and reviews fiction for the Independent.