Fifteen Tense Tales. One Sleepless Night.
Horror lives in the shadows.
It exists under the earth’s surface in ancient caves; below the vast sea’s undulating waves; under dense forest cover; within a storm’s thick, rolling clouds; downstairs in our homes, when we hear the knife drawer rattle in the night. Even our minds and bodies harbour the alien under the skin, the childhood nightmares in our subconscious.
In this collection of fifteen tales Karl Drinkwater sews flesh onto the bones of our worst fears whilst revisiting some of horror’s classic settings, such as the teen party, the boat in trouble, the thing in the cellar, the haunted museum, the ghost in the machine, and the urban legends that come true. No-one is safe. Darkness hides things, no matter how much we strain our eyes. And sometimes those things are looking back at us.
If That Looking Glass Gets Broken
They Move Below
Just Telling Stories
Claws Truth Forebear
Breaking The Ice
How It Got There
The Scissor Man
Living In The Present
Bleeding Sunset, Dancing Snowflakes
Book Length: 312 pages / 66,000 words
ISBNs: Print 978-1-911278-06-1 / E-book 978-1-911278-07-8
Note: this book is also available in Karl Drinkwater's Horror Collection, along with Turner and Harvest Festival.
"It's nice to see Drinkwater playing around with form here - with some stories framed around internet chat logs, others in the shape of police interviews. [...] For me, the best of the short story collection was an unexpected one - Web tells a tale of a Somali woman who has been subjected to genital mutilation, and the mental illness she appears to be suffering from. It's a tough tale emotionally to read, but brilliantly done. The harsh honesty of the tale almost feels out of place alongside the fantasy horrors of the other stories - but it's perhaps the most horrific of all for that. Other excellent tales in this set are the nightmarish cave journey of Claws Truth Forebear and How It Got There, which is a treat." 5*
-- Altered Instinct (6th April 2017)
"Wow, what an impressive, creative collection of dark tales. [...] The thing I liked most, however, was how the author made an effort to mix up the presentation of the stories...some are straightforward narratives, a couple are interviews, another one uses social media and a couple other are "transmissions". This is something more writers should make an effort to do."
-- James Marquis, Goodreads (15th January 2017)
"Being Halloween I wanted to read and review something a little (or a lot) creepy. I decided on They Move Below by Karl Drinkwater. They Move Below is a collection of 16 short stories and contains some of the creepiest tales I've read in a long time. [...]
I've always thought that museums can be creepy places and I couldn't put into words how creepy they may be at night...Karl Drinkwater however has done just that in Creeping Jesus! As a parent this also terrified me as the thought of school trips gets closer as my Nerdling gets older. [...]
"Holyyyyyy Crap" - these are the exact notes I write about Just Telling Stories. This story was absolutely terrifying and I think pretty much everyone's worst nightmare (or definitely mine at least). I struggled going to the bathroom in the night after reading this for a good while and probably will again now I've thought about it to review it! It really has stuck with me. There are also some really nice nods to Dean Koontz and other popular horror tales.
In Claws Truth Forebear the main character really learns a hard lesson about not taking things that aren't yours, I don't want to spoil what the feeling you get through this story is, but I will say that I felt it extremely intensely and it was a very difficult read to get through as I felt like I was suffering with the main character. A really excellently written story. [...]
Web is another story along a similar vein as If That Looking Glass Gets Broken in that you aren't sure if what is happening is the result of hallucinations from too much Nutmeg or if it is the slow mental breakdown of a woman who has suffered so, so much. Either way a painful read and you really feel for the main character and just want it to be ok for her.
With the story, Scissor Man, Karl Drinkwater has created a classic urban legend that could easily rival the bogey man as the Scissor Man seems even more horrifying to me personally. It also leaves you questioning what really happens right at the end.
I absolutely loved Sinker! This story was so incredibly well thought out and I don't think I've ever read anything like this before. What happens comes so out of the blue and was nothing like what I was expecting with a hunter becoming the hunted story. Though only a short story, I could picture the village clearly as well as the main character and I felt like I was right there with him. [...]
Overall an absolutely excellent collection and one I would definitely recommend to lovers of horror. There is also extra bits at the back where Karl Drinkwater talks about the inspiration behind each story and I thought that was incredibly interesting and actually answered some of my ponderings from while I was reading the stories.
I gave this book 5 stars."
-- Life of a Nerdish Mum (31st October 2016)
"Sixteen creepy short stories that will have the hair on the back of your neck standing, holding your breath and listening out for things that go bump in the night. [...] the majority of them left me creeped out and back to how I felt back in the days when I first read horror. [...] I would be hard pushed to pick a favourite however of the lot, but I think "Just Telling Stories" two 'friends' in a hotel room freaking each other with scary tales which is something we used to do as kids. And "Claws Truth Forebear" a story that will have you feeling claustrophobic whilst the characters struggle through enclosed spaces and examining the consequences of one's actions. [...] Drinkwater has the knack of creating a tense and terrifying atmosphere that draws in the readers and creeps them out almost from the get go."
-- So Many Books, So Little Time (18th October 2016)
"This was a great book. Very dark at times and fast paced. You felt like you knew the characters intimately, and the plots and settings were vivid. My favorites were Creeping Jesus, and Just telling stories, which when he mentions Dean Koontz and the book Midnight, he had me hooked; Dean Koontz is one of my all time favorite authors and Midnight, one of my favorite books. These stories have a 10+ creep factor (that's good, by the way). I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves horror. [...] You're not gonna find many books out there that does what They Move Below does--scare the hell out of you."
-- William Todd, Amazon UK (1st October 2016)
"These stories were top of the line scares. Well written, vivid imagery, beautifully thought out plots, and authentic voice to his characters. I read all but the last four stories in one sitting. Couldn't put it down. You won't be disappointed."
-- William Todd, Amazon US (17th September 2016)
"This collection of mind-boggling scary stories is one to inspire. The collection is remarkably well written, with imagery that will chill you to your very bones. [...] All of the stories contained well thought out plots and built tension gradually, drawing the reader into their dark world. Beautifully written."
-- Daccari Buchelli, Amazon (17th September 2016)
"Do not read this at night in bed if you want to get to sleep. The stories in this range from head scratchers to scare the living s**t out of you. Great spooky read, so long as you leave the lights on! Well worth the price!"
-- Jimrcottage, Amazon (30th August 2016)
"All these wonderful short stories, every one of them different. If you love a good horror story, grab it, it will get your skin crawling and tingling."
-- debbie bridgford, Amazon (8th August 2016)
"There are things lurking in the most innocent of places that are just waiting to grab you as their prey. [...] One of the things that affected me most was that I could not avert my eyes away as I easily do during a horror movie. This collection of stories is definitely recommended for those who love get their skins crawling and tingling."
-- Ginny Clyde, Goodreads (3rd August 2016)
"There are some seriously creepy stories [...] I love Stephen King's short stories and I loved these too so I hope that persuades you horror fans to try this one."
-- Rhian, Goodreads (26th July 2016)
"All of the stories in this collection are a great length, normally taking somewhere between 15 minutes to 45 minutes to read from start to finish. [...] I find great horror stories tend to sometimes be more about the things you don’t know than the things you do. Karl Drinkwater has expertly ended several of the stories with great handfuls of doubt, leaving you guessing and drawing your own conclusions. I thoroughly enjoyed this approach, especially as it makes you think and consider what you have just read before moving onto the next story. Would I recommend this book? I would, to both established fans of the genre and to first time horror readers too. [...] Karl has created a collection of very readable stories which give a comprehensive view of the genre. Don’t miss out!"
-- damppebbles (25th July 2016)
"Well, could a horror collection get any more diverse? Not just in the content but in the presentation! A superb collection of chills, thrills, and mind-f*cks! There are plenty of great stories in this bunch, but my favourites are a story told through two separate police interviews, and the haunted museum. These two for me were incredible. [...] I also adore Karl's writing, that seems to adapt to the needs and demands of the given story. A short story collection is often a hit or miss concept for many authors. Some writers just cannot grasp that a story, characters, and purpose have to be delivered in a matter of a few pages. Karl takes this challenge and proves he can master short stories with the best of them! I have read one novel from this author (which was spectacular) but these short stories show just how talented and versatile he is. [...] And at a lengthy 398 pages, Karl has been rather generous. Normally authors will only invest so much of their time in short story collections. Page count usually ranges from as low as 50 pages to 100. So Karl is really spoiling us not only with the quantity but quality as well. [...] Bounce from horror to horror, soak up multiple forms of evil, and have yourself a genuinely memorable reading experience!"
-- Wesley Thomas, Goodreads (14th July 2016)
"They Move Below is a magnificent collection of stories. [...] What impressed me so much about They Move Below, however, is the quality of Karl Drinkwater’s prose. He writes with considerable sophistication and an almost urbane style that is so pleasurable to read. I also enjoyed the variety of the stories, with the different voices and perspectives. There’s such a range of presentational devices that They Move Below has something for every reader, from the police interview format of Breaking the Ice to the almost sexual vampiric Bleeding Sunset, Dancing Snowflakes. The direct speech feels natural and well constructed, especially the dialect in Sinker and Karl Drinkwater has the ability to present scenes very visually to draw in the reader. [...] They Move Below is a vibrant, interesting and (for me) frequently unsettling collection of stories that deserve considerable success."
-- Linda's Book Bag (10th July 2016)
"Chills guaranteed. [...] They Move Below is a great collection of dark tales. Nobody is guaranteed to come through a story unscathed, and there was enough variety in the scenarios that I was able to read through more than one story in a single sitting and still think each new tale felt fresh. Mr Drinkwater has a delightfully warped imagination. A couple of the twists and shocks were quite perturbing (in a good way) [...] A collection I absolutely recommend to horror fans. Now if you will excuse me it is late and I need to go and turn on all the lights..."
-- Grab This Book (1st July 2016)
"Karl Drinkwater scares me. And I mean that in the best way possible. [...] I ended up re-reading a couple of the stories included in this compilation because they are just that well written. I found myself being creeped out the most by, ironically enough, 'Creeping Jesus'. In fact, I still find myself thinking about it almost a week after having read that particular short story. Only a few pages but, for me, it hit something in that un-evolved reptilian level of my brain and hit it hard. Some of the stories are gory while others are much more cerebral (or, reptilian in my case). Almost all deserve a 2nd reading because they're so nuanced that you miss out on certain points that are picked up on the repeat reading. Kudos to Karl! He has another winner in this title and no matter how times you read (or re-read!) this book, keep the lights on."
-- Victoria, Goodreads (30th June 2016)
"Beautifully crafted, thoroughly enjoyable horror stories by a fine writer. I was reminded of Stephen King's horror short stories: there's a similar technique of creating immediately well-rounded characters and then doing unspeakable things to them. I was scared shitless and loved every minute."
-- Julie Cohen, Goodreads (9th June 2016)
-- Julie Cohen, author, via Twitter (8th June 2016)
"Talk about shivers and skin crawls... I'm still recovering. All these wonderful short stories, every one of them different and only varying on the scales weighing 'creepies' by the emotion and the level of it. Good sized tales, very reminiscent of Stephen King early days and Skeleton Crew, (and we all know where 'Children of the Corn' went on to become). I especially didn't like the one where he was lodged in the dark crack underground, no... come to think on it... there was a few I especially didn't like. I'd recommend this Book to anyone who can sit alone reading comfortably with this genre. Can't fault the writing (you know how we do that even when we're not trying), it flows nicely, getting the message across with ease."
-- D. O'Brien, Goodreads (23rd May 2016)
"You are really good at building up a slow atmosphere of uncanny and suspense, and also in creating characters in oblique strokes so that the reader has to do some satisfying work. [...] This is so freaking scary. [...] Okay, so I am properly terrified at this point reading this story [...] This is so clever and awful. [...] The stories I’ve read remind me really strongly of Stephen King’s horror shorts (which I LOVE): they have the same feeling of creeping, growing menace, the same sort of foreshadowing and inevitability, and then a twist of gut-churning horror at the end. And they all explore, to some extent, the idea and tropes of good old-fashioned horror movies: the teen party, the boat in trouble, the monster in the deep, the horror stories that come true. To a lover of the genre, they are an enormous treat. [...] I absolutely LOVED reading these."
-- Julie Cohen, author, by email (26th February 2016)