British Fiction Focus

Cold Season, Cold Silence

Jo Fletcher Books has successfully concluded negotiations for not one, not two, but three new books by bestselling horror author Alison Littlewood, who today described the deal as “a very nice Christmas present indeed.”

The first of the three is called A Cold Silence—a surprise sequel to Littlewood’s 2012 debut. At the same time as getting all kinds of excited about its similarities to the Silent Hill series, I called A Cold Season “a powerful story about motherhood… about family, and the ties that bind us.” It went on to sell tremendously well, not least because it was featured in the Book Club chaired by former daytime television personalities Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan.

In the years since A Cold Season’s release, Littlewood has written two other unrelated novels—namely Path of Needles and The Unquiet House—alongside a whole host of superlative short stories. I for one thought she was done with Darnshaw, but obviously not.

What do you want?

Whatever your wish, Acheron can grant it… for a price. And Ben Cassidy is about to discover just how scary that price can be. Ben’s always had strict instructions from his mother, Cass, to stay away from his childhood home of Darnshaw. Then an old friend from the village dies unexpectedly and Ben has no choice but to break his promise, for Jessica’s death might be linked to the computer game called Acheron—a game he knows all about.

Ben’s beloved sister Gaila has been playing Acheron too, and so have some more of Ben’s old friends from Darnshaw. And as they delve ever deeper into the world of Acheron, good intentions begin to slip, morals begin to look suspect and some of them find themselves falling deeper into corruption. Ben could save them all, but the price for doing so might just be too high…

Jo Fletcher herself seems more than a mite excited about her imprint’s aforementioned acquisition:

“I’m thrilled to be able to continue working with Alison, who was not just one of my earliest acquisitions for JFB, but my first bestseller. I’m even more excited that the first book is A Cold Silence, the long-awaited sequel to her Richard & Judy Book Club pick A Cold Season—what could be better?”

What indeed?

It remains to be seen what the other two books JFB have landed the rights to release will be, but I wouldn’t be in the slightest surprised if one of the others was a short story collection.

Did I mention already that Littlewood’s short fiction is awesome? Well: Littlewood’s short fiction is awesome. Seek it out, in all seriousness. I’m a fan of her novels, for sure, but a bigger fan by far of her short fiction.

In any case, A Cold Silence is slated for release in September 2015—just in time for the creepy season…


Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.

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