The Thing on the Shore
'Fletcher's follow up to the excellent horror novel, The Leaping, is equally brilliant if not better ... At this rate Tom Fletcher's name will be up there with Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell in no time' Quazen.
The Thing on the Shore takes place in a call-centre in Whitehaven, just a short hop from Sellafield along Cumbria's grim western coastline. When Artemis Black (from The Leaping) is assigned to manage the centre on behalf of a mysterious multinational corporation called Interext, the isolation and remoteness of the place encourage him to implement a decidedly unhinged personal project, installing what purports to be cutting-edge AI technology, with a real, 'human' voice, on the automated answering systems.
As a result of Artemis' actions, one of his employees, Arthur, becomes aware of an intangible landscape inside the labyrinthine systems of the call-centre - a landscape in which he can feel some kind of otherworldly consciousness stirring and in which, perhaps as a result of his father's increasingly alarming eccentricities, he feels that he could find his recently deceased mother.
Arthur takes refuge in this belief as his father, his job, and his house slowly deteriorate around him. He begins to conflate the mysterious, interstitial region that exists down the phonelines with the sea, as that was where his mother drowned. In a way he is right - Artemis' meddlings have attracted something, it is just not as benevolent as he thinks...
Tom Fletcher is a young author (in his twenties) who has already made a name for himself thanks to spine-chilling readings of his work at Manchester's monthly live lit event, 'There's No Point in Not Being Friends'. He has published a number of his short stories in a three-author anthology, Before the Rain. This is the second book in the series that began with The Leaping.
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