by Brian J. Showers
Illustrations by Duane Spurlock
Introduction by Jim Rockhill
Cover art by Scott Hampton
Mercier Press, March 2008
ISBN: 978-1-85635-578-0 (hardback)
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"Of the three writers featured in his previous work, Literary Walking Tours of Gothic Dublin, Sheridan Le Fanu is undoubtedly the greatest influence on The Bleeding Horse. Le Fanu was a native of Ireland who belonged to the Protestant ascendancy and in Showers there is something of the same alienated familiarity and fascination with his surroundings."
"Was up late reading The Bleeding Horse, and when it came time to walk around the house checking doors and turning out lights . . . I had to keep nervously looking over my shoulder. So I guess that means the stories work."
-Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy
"The Bleeding Horse and Other Ghost Stories by Brian J. Showers (Mercier Fiction) is an attractive-looking little hardcover of seven original stories, adapted by the author from the regional tales of Dublin and its environs. Some of the stories are very creepy, and the book has a gorgeous dust jacket by Scott Hampton and lovingly rendered black and white interior illustrations by Duane Spurlock."
-Ellen Datlow, The Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 1 (2008)
Brian J. Showers' storytelling powers shine as he weaves historical, architectural, and sensual details into a series of ghost stories collected from the Dublin neighbourhood of Rathmines.
-James Grainger, Rue Morgue
"[The Bleeding Horse is] a tour de force that both acknowledges Showers’ debt to Le Fanu, while at the same time demonstrating his mastery of his materials . . . as good as any ghost story published since the death of M. R. James . . . an impressive freshman effort that has the potential for becoming a highly sought-after collector’s item in a few years."
-Scott Connors, Weird Tales
"The Bleeding Horse and Other Ghost Stories is . . . a volume bristling with the dead. They haunt and threaten from the nearly forgotten corners of a phantasmal history that creeps into the psyche without regard to its veracity."
"When the supernatural element takes center stage in what are already great, four dimensional stories, the result is that Rathmines becomes far richer than some of the most intricate fictional worlds, a place where the veils of time and reality are removed but the setting nonetheless manages to maintain its anchor in the real world . . . Mr. Showers manages to expand reality rather than show the reader an alternate reality, with the result that the reader is left with a sense of awe at the possibilities that abound in a world that often feels mundane. I can't recommend this book highly enough."
-Speculative Fiction Junkie
"This is a really intriguing book . . . Very thoroughly researched and with lots of tantalising details . . .
Intelligent and creepy!"
-Helen Grant, author of The Vanishing of Katharina Linden
"In setting the scene for the stories there is an all-around level of excellence . . . Showers has precise command of the art of crescendo — the gradual building up of strange events, unobstrusively at first, then to the point where they dominate the narrative skyline."
-Andrew McQuaide, GoreZone
"The Bleeding Horse and Other Ghost Stories is a fascinating achievement. If subtlety and impeccably blending fact and fiction is an art form, Showers proves himself to be a master with this collection."
-Dan Studer, Notes from an Eclectic Reader
"Showers's book is a tribute to Le Fanu. As in that 'father of the English ghost story', there is humor, extreme sensitivity, and doubt versus faith. Is the supernatural real? Can we trust anybody or anything? Even God? Or is there a God?"
-Gary W. Crawford, Dead Reckonings
"So authentic are the locations, history and folk-lore aspects of the seven subtly interlinked supernatural tales and anecdotes that it's impossible to tell, from internal evidence alone, where fact ends and fiction takes over."
-Rosemary Pardoe, A Ghostly Company
"Ghosts can be tricky, but Showers shows himself to be an able medium who allows a new glimpse of the malevolent world beyond, the zone of horror, where 'Misery's demons need give no purpose'. Highly recommended."
-Simon Cooke, Le Fanu Studies
"The Bleeding Horse (with Old Albert) is one of the finest ghost story collections I've read in some time, so good that it made me break the six-month gap in horror reviews on this blog just so I could rave about it."
-Brendan Moody, The Stars at Noonday
"Sometimes with collections like this it is fun to choose which tale you would like to read first, to dip in and out of the book, selecting a story for its title or length: but here you are advised to read from cover to cover!"
-Katherine Haynes, Voices from the Vaults
"The Bleeding Horse is a work of metafictional psychogeography; Showers himself acting as our guide not only through the streets of Rathmines but through his own investigations and adventures. I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending The Bleeding Horse to lovers of classic ghostly tales and modern fiction alike."
-John Reppion, Fractal Matter
"Drawing on historical fact as well as his own imagination, Showers' stories are compelling enough that one might be excused for taking them at face value — in fact, it isn't hard to imagine them being passed along by word of mouth from reader to visitor until they become firmly ensconced in most people's minds as part of the true supernatural heritage of the area. A prize for bibliophiles."
-Dru Pagliassotti, The Harrow
"Brian J. Showers shows a remarkable talent for combining genuine Dublin lore with his own eerie imaginings."
-David Longhorn, Supernatural Tales
"This elegant production is a happy piece of confidence trickery. The uneasy stories are all the more unnerving in that they are given a local habitation and a name."
"The Bleeding Horse is a worthy piece of work, especially if the reader likes some history spiced with human interest and the supernatural."
-William D. Behling, Beloit Daily News
"A few good yarns then? Oh aye, and one or two things to really chill the spine!"
-George Byrne, Dublin Evening Herald