One book I've loved since I first read it in the early 1990s (Christ, has it really been nearly twenty years?) is Antony Sher's Year Of The King, his memoir of the twelvemonth leading up to his performance as Richard III for the RSC in 1985. Drawn from his diary and sketchbooks (he's a gifted writer and artist as well as actor) it's often funny, sometimes touching, and fascinating if you want to an insight into how a great actor works. One thing he'd done at the time was to give up reading reviews of his performances.
Anyway, towards the end of the book, the show has opened and Sher has various Big Names coming backstage to congratulate him. Among them is Michael Caine, who asks: 'Well, what about the reviews?'
'I don't read them,' explains Sher.
'Don't read them? You wrote them didn't you?'
All of which is a roundabout way of saying that I hate blowing my own trumpet. I honestly do. I was brought up not to brag. But there've been quite a few reviews of The Faceless, and they've all been a bit good. So much so that I'm almost too embarrassed to quote them here.
So- deep breath- here goes:
One print review so far, from Gareth Hughes in SciFiNow magazine, who gives it four stars out of five:
'It's refreshing to read something as original as The Faceless... Despite some heavy themes it never seems exploitative, tapping into a very modern, almost post 9/11 fear... Bestwick has produced a piece of work streets ahead of his peers.'
Online, Theresa Derwin at Terror Tree says:
'...proof positive that Bestwick is a strong new voice in British horror... The Faceless is a genuinely creepy, classic book.'
Over at This Is Horror, Ross Anthony Warren has this to say:
'The Faceless contains a level of craft and execution that, alongside the work of Ramsey Campbell, Conrad Williams and Gary McMahon, goes a long way in restoring the reputation of the horror novel... a name to watch out for in the future.'
From Anthony Watson at Dark Musings:
'Simon is one of the best writers of horror fiction currently plying their trade. In fact scrap that... Simon is one of the best writers - of any genre - currently plying their trade. This is a great book, one that I thoroughly enjoyed (if that's the right word) reading. It has everything...
The book is beautifully written, yes. It has a great plot, yes. Most importantly though, it's scary as hell...'
And from Jim McLeod over at The Ginger Nuts Of Horror:
'In this day and age it takes a lot of skill, and perhaps a truly deranged mind to come up with a monster that will terrify a reader, as much as The Spindly Men. The Faceless is a modern masterpiece of British horror... the must read horror novel of the year so far.'
From Spooky Reads:
'The Faceless is an edge-of-your seat read, and definitely needs to be read by any fan of the supernatural horror fiction genre. If you like Ramsey Campbell, Gary McMahon, and Adam Nevill’s work, then you’ll likely enjoy what Simon Bestwick has created here. It’s a compelling read; decently paced, its greater underlying themes, and messages, linger on after the tale itself has been told.'
All of which actually isn't so much receiving love as being gang-banged. In a good way. As it were.
Off for a lie down now.