BOOK REVIEW: Judderman by D.A.Northwood

‘Your brother’s with the Judder.’

If you are not aware of The Eden Book Society – where have you been? Dead Ink have been able to obtain the rights to their back catalogue and are releasing titles over the course of the year, with each one being a macabre little slice of horror. There is more information about The Eden Book Society at the bottom of this post…you should take the journey and find out a little bit more…trust me, things will never be the same again!

I was delighted to find the Judderman waiting for me when I got home from a busy day at the office, I opened the envelope, slid the book out and then spent the rest of my evening gripped by the horrors that were sealed within its pages. What D.A. Northwood was able to put to paper is in my opinion a very dark, brooding and menacing story – full of subtle horror, tension and a delectable writing style, all of which adds to the books impact on the reader.

With the Judderman D.A. Northwood has created a new breed of horror – one which continues to haunt long after the book is finished, a horror which if we are honest, we may have been aware existed all along!

D.A. Northwood paints a bleak landscape, but one that was all too real. London in the early 1970’s – a place that is plagued by violence, racism, Republican bombings, football violence, a skin head uprising – a London full of terror, political decline and social disease. The city is in turmoil and plagued by disappearances – not of the wealthy and the higher classes, but that of the street vermin, the homeless and the lower class – they are much easier to disappear without a fuss. Lurking in the crumbling estates, squats and failed projects of a diseased London is the Judderman – words amongst the down-and-outs are that he is coming, that he is stalking in the dark…he will come…and when he does he will take them with him.

Observe the shadows cast by the city’s crippled buildings, designed sober and built drunk, and you’ll find him crouching in twitching anticipation with the rats and needles and the abstract patterns of broken glass that one day I will decipher. The architecture of brick and stone rots in a metropolitan hangover and the judderman is your stale beer breath the morning after the night before, the blood flowing from your gums as you scrub hard to wash all the poison away, and the overflowing ashtray unemptied and stained with thick black residue. He is the rattle in your chest. The damp in your bones.

What I loved about the Judderman is that it reminded me of one of my favourite writers and books – James Herbert and The Rats. It may have something to do with the tone of the book and the bleakness of the landscape that it is set – but the writing also was unashamed and relevant to today’s society; let alone the time the book is set, much like Herbert’s The Rats. It is visceral and challenging storytelling at its best and most definitely creepy as hell.

The Judderman is novella in length but well paced and masterfully constructed – the use of the journal interspersed with our main protagonist Gary’s observations of the events unfolding works really well and breaks the book up nicely – with the journal entries reading like the ravings of someone close the the edge, someone who has had enough of the establishment we are all slaves to and it’s as if his scribbling’s are that of a crazy person ready to snap – and within this crazy rambling style the reader learns about the Judderman and his all too real existence.

Horror is well and truly alive with the Judderman and we now have a new breed of horror to fear!

Judderman is published by Dead Ink and is available here.

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D.A. Northwood

D.A. Northwood was a writer of weird urban and landscape horror fiction in the tradition of C.A. Nolan. He was the author of numerous collections including What We Know So Far, The Commare and Other Nightmares, and What Never Was. He disappeared from his flat in Tottenham in 1981 at the age of 38

Reviewed by Ross Jeffery

Eden Book Society

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Established in 1919, The Eden Book Society was a private publisher of horror for nearly 100 years. Presided over by the Eden family, the press passed through the generations publishing short horror novellas to a private list of subscribers. Eden books were always published under pseudonyms and, until now, have never been available to the public.

Dead Ink Books is pleased to announce that it has secured the rights to the entire Eden Book Society backlist and archives. For the first time, these books, nearly a century of unseen British horror, will be available to the public. The original authors are lost to time, but their work remains and Dead Ink will be faithfully reproducing the publications by reprinting them one year at a time.

Dead Ink hopes that you will join us as we explore the evolving fears of British society as it moved through the 20th Century and eventually entered the 21st. We will begin our reproduction with 1972, a year of exciting and original horror for the Society.

We invite you to join us as we look to unearth who wrote for the society and what connected those writings to the family itself.

Eden novellas have a habit of appearing in the most unusual places, author Aliya Whiteley swears by car boot sales, whilst Jenn Ashworth, author of Fell, is convinced that there are still copies hidden away at Oxford University’s Bodleian Library. From around the web, here are some of the highlights we picked out of encounters with The Eden Book Society.

You can tell us about your own experiences with Eden using the hashtag #EdenBookSociety on Twitter. Who knows, maybe we’ll feature you next?

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