Updated: Dec 3, 2019
I really enjoy reading when I have the time and as with most forms of media and entertainment in my life, the horror genre is the main one that I dive into. Sure, I read other things such as fantasy and science fiction, but horror will always be my favourite.
Before I first read The Shadow Fabric though, I hadn’t really read anything for many years. I’m not sure what caused that lapse but I hardly ever made the time to simply sit down, grab a book and read.
The book that broke this reading ‘dry spell’ though, was The Shadow Fabric and in the years since the book was released I’ve read many weird and wonderful tales. However, as much as I enjoy titles from the likes of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Brian Lumley, James Herbert, etc. Similar to my movie viewing habits, it’s the independent titles that really draw me in.
The problem with writing and getting noticed as a writer though is that because of the popularity of eBooks and the ease with which people can self-publish the market is saturated with new titles and it can be difficult for an author to get noticed amongst all the other work out there.
Something that helps authors though are reviews.
Seriously, if you purchase/read a title, leave a quick review.
It doesn’t have to be long-winded, it can be just a few words that simply say whether you liked the book or not and that can be all the difference in getting a title noticed and helping the author in hopefully being able to release a new title, to seeing it overlooked and forgotten.
So, with that in mind, I thought I’d bring you my review for The Shadow Fabric, by Mark Cassell.
Before I continue though, here’s the official blurb for The Shadow Fabric:
Leo remembers little of his past. Desperate for a new life, he snatches up the first job to come along. On his second day, he witnesses a murder, and the Shadow Fabric – a malevolent force that controls the darkness – takes the body and vanishes with it.
Determined to get answers, Leo has no idea where to turn. Revelations come in the most unlikely places, and secrets of witchcraft and ancient artefacts unfold. In particular, a device used in the 17th century to extract evil from witches proves key to his discoveries. With these truths long hidden from humankind, his memory unravels. Not only haunted by the past, a sinister presence within the darkness threatens Leo’s existence and he soon doubts everything and everyone...including himself.
The relentless and destructive power of the Shadow Fabric compels Leo to fight not only this growing darkness, but also the entity beneath the Fabric’s surface. While these supernatural horrors rage and his world crumbles, Leo must confront his past before he can embrace his future. But the future may not exist.
The Shadow Fabric is a modern-day story revealing the unknown history of witchcraft and the true cause of the Great Fire of London. A subtle horror novel of sins, shadows, and the reanimated dead.
I discovered this book purely by chance a few years ago when I went to the first HorrorConUK event in Sheffield.
Author Mark Cassell had a stall at the convention an whilst wandering through the hall looking for something to treat myself to I stopped by Mark's stall. We had a chat and I found Mark to be an approachable, friendly bloke and I bought a copy of The Shadow Fabric and got it signed too, because what’s the point of being at a convention and not getting things signed?
Once I’d gotten home, I settled down to read.
I found The Shadow Fabric to be intriguing and well written with the characters being nicely fleshed out in a way that doesn’t slow down the narrative by being too over descriptive and gives you exactly the right amount of detail for you to know what’s going on and to understand the characters. Or rather; to think you understand the characters because a lot of them are keeping secrets that as a reader, you are either eagerly awaiting their revelation, or shocked when someone reveals a facet of themselves that you just didn’t see coming.
As you may have noticed in the blurb, The Shadow Fabric is a malevolent force that controls darkness, but as a reader I found that reading through the book was, in a way, akin to slowly clawing away at the darkness to reveal what is hidden within the shadows as you get deeper into the story with more and more getting revealed as you progress through the book.
And that’s something else that I really enjoyed about the book; that peeling away of the mystery to find out just what is going on and what the shadow fabric actually is.
The Shadow Fabric isn’t going for full-on lashings of blood and gore (although there are moments of that) as Mark Cassell’s tale is more focused toward the creeping dread and malevolence as the nature of the shadow fabric is unveiled. It’s that sense of the evil lurking in the shadows, just on the periphery of your vision combined with well-written characters and locations that really blend well to create a great story that I highly recommend.
The Shadow fabric has recently hit its five-year anniversary and is still a hit with me after all this time and will forever be one of my favourite titles, not just because of the well-crafted tale within its pages (physical or digital) but also on a personal level for rekindling that joy for reading within me.
It has a Lovecraftian feel that just oozes dread and somehow manages to combine with witchcraft and the reanimated dead without feeling overstuffed or bloated and it never feels out of place or ridiculous in its modern setting. It’s also a tale that leaves you wanting more from the world and its characters which, fortunately, there is more of for you to discover.
If you read and enjoy The Shadow Fabric, then I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that the tale doesn’t stop there as Mark Cassell has delved into the mythos of the fabric and the characters and world that it inhabits in other titles such as the novella, Hell Cat of the Holt and the short story collections Sinister Stitches and Terror Threads. Alternatively, The Shadow Fabric, Sinister Stitches and a few other tales in the Mythos are available in The Shadow Fabric Mythos Vol. 1.
It’s a well-crafted tale that I really enjoy and Cassell does a wonderful job of combining mystery, suspense, terror and carnage through his writing style which weaves all of those elements together in a very satisfying fashion.
If you like the sound of the book, you’ll be pleased to know that you can find The Shadow Fabric on amazon at:
You can also find Mark’s amazon author page by using this link:
The other thing you need to do if you read the book, whether you like it or not, is to leave a review. Independent authors, filmmakers, people running websites (hint, hint) rely on things such as reviews, word of mouth and folks sharing/promoting their work on social media to get themselves known and to keep providing content.
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Actually, whilst we’re on the subject, if you are a creator of content yourself, be it a book, film, artwork or even line of horror-themed garden gnomes, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll try to get your work reviewed or at least mentioned on the site and hopefully help get you noticed a bit more too. Just remember though, that we try to keep our reviews honest with our opinions and if we don’t like something, we will say so, but if you want to contact us to look at anything you’ve created feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
And one other thing:
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the shadows, because that flicker of movement you caught out the corner of your eye might be something dark and malevolent that’s waiting for the right moment to strike and when you least expect it, it will drag you bleeding and screaming into the darkness.