OLD ALBERT—AN EPILOGUE
by Brian J. Showers
Cover and board illustrations by Duane Spurlock
Frontispiece: "The Song of the Lark" by Arthur Rackham
Publication Date: June 2011
ISBN: N/A
Details about the book: large landscape format, sewn hardcover with dust-jacket printed on textured cardboard paper, cloth boards, gold folio, silk ribbon, end papers and full-colour frontispiece.


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The city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls. ~ Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

The 6th of September does not bode well for those who dwell in a particular place at a particular time. Patterns have a habit of forming, reshaping and influencing the topography from which they sprout. The residue of decades builds.

The place is Larkhill House, and during its century and a half of existence it has hosted an array of peculiar tenants: the reclusive though brilliant ornithologist Ellis Grimwood; a murderous wine merchant and his young wife; and the Sacred Order of the Mysteries of Thoth, who re-christened Larkhill the “New Temple of Abtiti” and practised there their outlandish and mystical rites. After vacating Larkhill, these individuals—all of them—left something of themselves behind.

Since 1926 the house has played host to St. Mary’s College. And the pupils at Larkhill to this day repeat the same odd schoolyard rhyme known to students of a century past:


If dumb Old Albert calls you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.

If deaf Old Albert hears you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.

If blind Old Albert sees you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.

If dear Old Albert finds you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.



Residue builds . . . and residue infects.

Set in the same haunted neighbourhood as the stories in the award-winning collection The Bleeding Horse, Showers’s new novella, Old Albert — An Epilogue, continues with the idea that not all is well in the leafy Victorian suburb of Rathmines, Dublin.

Contents:

A Note to the Reader by Jim Rockhill
I. Prologue
II. Ellis Grimwood of Larkhill
III. This Terrible, This Unnatural Crime
IV. An Exaltation of Skylarks
V. Thin and Brittle Bones
VI. Come Like Shadows, So Depart
End Notes
Bibliography

Brian J. Showers is originally from Madison, Wisconsin. He runs the Swan River Press and has written short stories, articles and reviews for magazines such as Rue Morgue, Ghosts & Scholars, Le Fanu Studies and Supernatural Tales. His short story collection, The Bleeding Horse (Mercier Press), won the Children of the Night Award in 2008. He is also the author of Literary Walking Tours of Gothic Dublin (Nonsuch 2006), and the co-editor of Reflections in a Glass Darkly: Essays on J. Sheridan Le Fanu (Hippocampus Press 2011). He currently lives in Dublin, Ireland.

Visit Brian J. Showers's website here.

Old Albert—An Epilogue is a sewn hardcover book of xvi + 62 pages with dust-jacket, silk ribbon, endpapers and a full-colour frontispiece. Collector's edition limited to only 60 hand numbered copies.



Reviews

"Readers of his first collection The Bleeding Horse will be familiar with [Showers's] technique of slowly building atmosphere by an apparent documentary method. His style is clear and pure, carrying weight and conviction by the absence of ostentatious flourishes . . . Showers works on his readers by creating an illusion of cool objectivity, so that when he delivers his final enigmatic denouement, it is genuinely troubling."
- Reggie Oliver, Wormwood #17

"This delightful book is not for those seeking gore and graphic horror, but for all the readers who love good, subtly unnerving dark fiction. We are sick and tired of grandguignolesque horror stories told in a nervous, disjointed writing style. Try Old Albert and you’ll discover that, fortunately, well written, accomplished tales are still around."
- Mario Guslandi, Horror World

"This is a fine example of 'no smoke without fire' school of ghost story writing, one where no single item is conclusive but the accumulation of circumstantial evidence is overwhelming . . . And while the work as a whole is admirably restrained, there are moments of violence . . . that remind you this ghost has claws."
- Peter Tennant, Black Static #26

" . . . what Brian Showers does with his fairly cosy, detached style is lull you into a false sense of security before delivering a series of rather disturbing surprises, or perhaps they ought to be termed shocking discoveries?"
- David Longhorn, Supernatural Tales

"The effect of Showers' incredibly well-crafted prose is to give the tales he tells a ring of truth that is undeniably and very enjoyably compelling . . . clearly an author of great talent, with an ability not just to describe reality, but create it out of whole cloth."
- Rick Kleffel, The Agony Column

Old Albert isn't just a subtly powerful work of supernatural fiction, it's also a work that demonstrates the profound ability Mr. Showers has to infuse a seemingly nondescript locale with a sense of history, with a sense of place in the flow of time. I have not come across any other writer working today who is writing quite like Brian J. Showers is. "
- Speculative Fiction Junkie

"For a village to be part of city is like a phenomenon I can’t quite define in literature. Author and readership? . . . In any event we now have location, location, location . . . as we follow Larkhill House through the late 19th century to the early twentieth, involving a school, a 'sexy' theosophical society, a school again – and a discovery, hidden in this text’s reported intertext, that resonates, for me, like indefinable foreboding Aickmanery . . . Meanwhile, I also sense an overweening force - that henry-fielding-esque intruder who may be the author or who may not be the author but masquerading as him."
- Des Lewis, Real-time Reviews

"Showers weaves his tales so well that it’s difficult to tell what’s fact and what’s fiction. The dates and quotes add an unnerving gravity, while the fact that it’s Ireland makes it practically true . . . The story itself and the way it’s written is so wonderfully old school, as if the whole thing was from the time and just discovered in some archive."
-Sarah Elliot, Geek Girl on the Street





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