Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Black Road: Devil's Highway

The Snowbooks website this morning!
Yes, that's right! At long last, the waiting's over. The second book in The Black Road, Devil's Highway, is now available to buy in hardback and ebook form.

Following on from last year's Hell's Ditch, Devil's Highway shows Helen Damnation and her allies carrying on their fight against post-nuclear-attack Britain's tyrannical rulers, the Reapers, and their Commander, Tereus Winterborn. But Winterborn and his fanatical henchwoman, Colonel Jarrett, will stop at nothing to destroy her.

Helen finds herself hunted by the inhuman, unstoppable Catchman...

Helen slowly raised her head and peered over the sill through the grimy window. As she did, a steel helmet rose into view; two round glass lenses lit by a pale, flickering light stared into her eyes. Breath gusted from the metal grille over its nose, misting the window. Below that a red and white grin stretched impossibly wide across its face.

For a second time stopped, didn’t exist, and there was just the damp brick room and the Catchman’s face grinning through the window.

The grin widened further still; the Catchman screeched, the glass rattling in its frame. Helen flung herself backwards as a clawed hand smashed through the window...

...directing a battle to the death against Jarrett as the rebel base at Ashwood Fort comes under siege...

The guns opened fire from the shelters, and the ones on the wall hammered down. The ground burst and shattered; men and women dropped and spun; fell and lay still, fell screaming. Danny almost went down as the woman running alongside him pitched sideways. He caught her, staggered, then let her drop; half her head was gone.

A Reaper leant over the battlements to fire at them; Danny fired a burst from the Lanchester and the man pitched over the rail screaming. Danny ducked again, ran on and reached the bottom of the steps, pressing flat against the wall.

Reapers above, firing down; he threw himself flat and the bullets flew over. Cries and thumps of falling bodies from behind. He fired up, heard another SMG fire behind him. Fired the Lanchester up the steps, zig-zagging the barrel. Two Reapers rolled down them. “Come on!”

Danny up and charging, firing bursts as he went. Muzzles flashed above. A cry; someone just behind him fell backwards down the steps, shot in the throat. Danny advanced and fired, advanced and fired. Slow progress, step by step, bullets cracking by and chipping the wall. The Lanchester emptied; as he changed sticks he saw a Reaper appear at the top, rifle aimed down...

...and facing the secrets of her own past on the Black Road.

She starts screaming, screaming into the dead beneath her. Things shift and stir in the earth. They’re waking. Frank and Belinda, the others, all the ones killed, they’re coming for revenge. Because this is her fault, of course it is. How can it not be? ... Her screams become howls of anguish – not only grief, but torment. There was a saying she’d heard somewhere – from Mum? From Darrow? Hell is truth seen too late. And now she’s in Hell. The dead are waking and coming for her, to tear her apart....

Devil's Highway is one of the most relentless things I've ever written. I'm pretty damned proud of it. I
hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing the book.

For those who'd rather wait for the paperback, it'll be out on February 1st 2017.

Huge, huge thanks are due to so many people, but especiall my amazing editor, Tik Dalton, who's done a fantastic job. And also to Lisa DuMond at and Anthony Watson at Dark Musings for the first advance reviews of the novel, here and here.

From the Hikeeba review:

What is astonishing is Bestwick’s portrayal of battle... it is frightening how well he grasps the horror and conveys it....  
Hell’s Ditch started the engines and Devil’s Highway pushes the needle into the red as we hold on with a death grip to race through the atrocities and unstoppable action of the second volume, white-knuckled as we are thrust into the middle of the firefights and the helpless fear for those we have come to love and will certainly lose.
Can an author push the machinery even farther towards destruction and keep readers’ nails dug into the iron for more? Maybe not every one, but trust Bestwick. The Black Road has only gotten more horrifying with each volume, but I cannot look away, nor do I want to.

And from Dark Musings:

Who lives? Who dies? These, and many more questions will be answered within the pages of Devil’s Highway... The book fulfils [its] role admirably, progressing the narrative whilst setting things up for the final instalments. The back-stories add an extra edge to the inevitable showdowns and the introduction of a shadowy and mysterious character raises the expectation of new horrors in prospect...
The next part of the journey along the Black Road has begun.

The third novel, Wolf's Hill, will be released in 2018.

Please share this news far and wide!

I'll leave you with some music to suit the mood...

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