Intro : I received an eBook edition of the book from its publicist for a review.
Kensington Gore is a man on a mission. He always aims to give his readers something fresh from the world of horror. Only this time he is offering you something a little different. This time he is offering you a piece of horror history to call your very own. Collected in this volume are the final works of one of the great unsung heroes of horror, Thomas Singer. Singer was a man who truly knew how to terrify his readers with his strange, nightmarish tales. Sadly, though, he never received the acclaim in life he so rightly deserved. Following the mysterious death of the reclusive writer earlier this year, Kensington Gore Publishing author Christopher Long was invited to help edit Singer’s final five bone chilling tales and introduce them to the world. There are many rumours and theories about what secrets these stories may hold. Singer himself selected them from his extensive back catalogue and held them back to be released only after his death. So read Something Needs Bleeding, if you dare. See what you can find hidden in the final pages Thomas Singer had to offer the world. Just be careful you don’t come away with blood all over you.
Review : The book’s introduction gives a broad idea of what to expect. Regardless, there are ways in which it still manages to surprise you, in ways both good and bad.
It felt as if spring hadn’t reached Sitchington yet, let alone summer. The grey clouds and drizzle overhead didn’t really help. Maybe the seasons had to travel by train to reach here. If so, he reasoned, it was possible he’d beaten them.
There is a story that has been presented as a prelude to the rest of the four stories, with the latter being called incisions. They’ve been named after seasons – from Spring to Winter, and also have second names in parentheses. For those who haven’t heard of Thomas Singer, he was from Ambleside-by-sea in England. He lived in a city, presumably London, for many years, had three failed marriages and returned to his hometown, where he died, possibly by committing suicide, in a cave/mine that had been closed ages ago and was thought to be haunted. You may be wondering why I’m writing about an author in his book’s review. Well, the reason is that two of the four stories in the book are set in his hometown. He was haunted by his life’s experiences, as also by the things he did. It is the sum of all these things that the book holds. Let me provide a creepy example. The same caves where he went to commit suicide features prominently in the third story, drawing the lead to surrender himself to whatever is inside it.
The protagonists of the stories are men, growing in age from a 12-year old in the first to an 80-year veteran in the last. But throughout, there is one theme that remains constant – the forbidden. Don’t ignore the cautionary notes and don’t give in to temptation. E.g., a bunch of 13-year olds shouldn’t go in a house on the moors with a noose hanging from it.
While I was intrigued by the story behind the stories, the stories themselves were scary in varying degrees. One thing Mr. Singer does exceedingly well is creating an intimate atmosphere. All four stories have a place or house that is central to the plot. The author has developed these houses to be creatures in themselves, playing their part in spooking us. The leads themselves are often troubled beings. I think one can safely say that all these protagonists are projections of the author themselves, despite the fact that he never lived till 80 years of age himself. Also, only one out of the four stories is told in the first person. Guess which one? The third one, again. It is also the one that the book draws its name from. The first story is almost as long as a smallish novel in itself, stretching to 110 pages of the 332 page length of the book.
No story is ever told just to entertain the listener. It’s an exorcism of a sort. A bloodletting. A draining of what you need out of you in order to be free for a while.
At times there is — simply — far too much description, too much anticipation of the horror that is to unfold. Further, each of the stories goes through a phase where we read about the same situation over and over again. While that is understandable to a degree, it becomes jaded after a while. This was a major reason why I found it difficult to finish the book early. Time and again I had to put it down. I’d read 30-40 pages and still be no closer to the story’s central problem.
After the fourth story, there is an note by Mr. Singer that makes everything that came before it in the book seem pale. You can have an inkling of what it’d be when you are reading the stories, but it would still pack a punch, leaving you feeling….different. I felt nauseated, to be honest. And oh, in case you aren’t satisfied when the note finishes, you’d discover a bonus story (written by Mr. Long) at the end.
Verdict : Something Needs Bleeding is a unique book, even in its own genre, blending the real demons with the imaginary. A tighter pace would’ve been better though.
Genre : Horror, Memoir, Fiction.
Rating : ⭐⭐⭐1/2
Where Can You Get This:
Have you read Something Needs Bleeding? Did this review match up to your own? Have you read other works of Mr. Singer and Mr. Long? Which one did you like the most? Kindly tell me in the comments section.
Thanks for reading.