Crime fighting duo, Tilly and Poe solve a mystery from inside a pantomime horse in an exclusive short by Gold Dagger winner, M.W. Craven. A psychopath takes Trick or Treating a step too far. And a woman’s dream of a quiet life is shattered by a knock on the door.

Afraid Of The Shadows is a collection of gripping – sometimes funny, always spooky – short stories from some of the biggest names in crime fiction.

From possessed sweaters to creepy wardrobes and disco shape shifters, there’s something for everyone in this Halloween bucket of short story goodies making it the perfect companion to snuggle up with as the nights draw in. Though be warned, you might want to leave the lights on…


Afraid Of The Shadows is brought to you by twenty bestselling crime and thriller writers who between them have topped the Sunday Times and Amazon charts, won the Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger Award, Gold Dagger Award and New Blood Dagger Award, the Bath Novel Award, the UK National Book Awards and the WHSmith Best Crime Author of All Time Award.

Special guests:
M.W. Craven
Peter James
T.M. Logan
Matt Wesolowski
Trevor Wood
Rachael Blok
Elle Croft (Shortlisted for the 2021 CWA Short Story Dagger Award)
Heather Critchlow
James Delargy (Shortlisted for the 2021 CWA Short Story Dagger Award)
Clare Empson
Jo Furniss
T.E. Kinsey
N.J. Mackay
S.R. Masters
Phoebe Morgan
Dominic Nolan (Shortlisted for the 2021 CWA Short Story Dagger Award)
Robert Scragg (Shortlisted for the 2021 CWA Short Story Dagger Award)
Victoria Selman (Shortlisted for the 2021 CWA Short Story Dagger Award)
Kate Simants
Adam Southward (Longlisted for the 2021 CWA Short Story Dagger Award)

My Review

Just for once I am going to start at the end. The final story, Strange Ink, a Poe and Bradshaw Story by MW Craven, is all about the crime-fighting duo Tilly and Poe, who are being interview by ‘two jokers’ (who Poe refers to as Marge and Homer), in an interview room that had ‘as much charm as a Dutch euthanasia clinic’. That just about sets the scene, as Tilly and Poe arrest a dangerous criminal while dressed as an eight-legged pantomime horse (Tilly and Poe not the criminal). I had arrived at work early and sat in the ‘quiet room’ with a cappuccino so I could read it, but I literally laughed out loud. Luckily I had the room to myself.

Strange Ink was ridiculous and crazy, but hilariously funny. It’s not the only one to figure tattoos either, though the other story was very different (and I have to admit beyond me).

If I attempted to review all of them, you’d be asleep by the end but I will try and pick out a favourite or two though most of the authors figure in my top writers.

Hidden by Victoria Selman is scary but still manages to include some dark humour as is typical of this author. For those of us who remember Planting Nan in the previous anthology, Raising Nan by James Delargy is written from the point of view of a five year old and it’s hilarious, especially the pee-pee (PPE) references and her mum’s relationship with Uncle Nick.

The Dark Without by Kate Simants is very dark indeed and also very sad. Quite different to the previous stories. In The Forgetful Wife by Phoebe Morgan, the wife talks to us, the reader, as in ‘I told you earlier that I’m a good mother, a good wife’. Definitely one of my favourites and really creepy.

Ghost Don’t Cry by Clare Empson is full of emotion as a dead wife attempts to remain in the lives of her daughter and her husband. This was again sad and brought tears to my eyes. Another of my favourites. And finally With The Others by TM Logan is very clever, dark and twisted. I didn’t expect the ending.

All in all, a mix of the sad, the preposterous, the hilarious, the scary, the bizarre and the downright surreal. Brilliant anthology yet again.

Many thanks to The Pigeonhole, the authors and my fellow Pigeons for making this such an enjoyable read.

Further Information

Profits from the sale of Afraid Of The Shadows will be donated to the Barnardo’s Children in Crisis Covid Appeal

This delivers practical and emotional support to vulnerable children caught in a downward spiral of deprivation as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Children and families across the UK are increasingly in or on the brink of poverty as a result of coronavirus. The impact of the second wave is pushing a generation of the most vulnerable children into a downward spiral of deprivation. With your support Barnardo’s can deliver the practical and emotional support families in crisis need.

Kindle Edition, 269 pages published October 1st 2021 by The Criminal Minds Group and available on Amazon.

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