Quiet Places: A Novella of Cosmic Folk Horror by Jasper Bark
In the quiet of the forest, the darkest fears are born.
The people of Dunballan, harbour a dark secret. A secret more terrible than the Beast that stalks the dense forests of Dunballan. A secret that holds David McCavendish, last in a long line of Lairds, in its unbreakable grip.
It’s down to Sally, David’s lover, to free David from the sinister clutches of the Beast. But, with the whole town against her, she must ally herself with an ancient woodland force and trace Dunballan’s secret back to its bitter origins. Those origins lie within the McCavendish family history, and a blasphemous heresy that stretches back to the beginning of time. Some truths are too terrible to face, and the darkest of these lie waiting for Sally, in the Quiet Places.
Quiet Places is folk horror at its most cosmic and terrifying. Blending folklore with psychological terror, it contains stories within stories, each one leading to revelations more unsettling than the last. Revelations that will change the way you view your place in the cosmos, and haunt you, relentlessly, long after you have put down this book.
Quiet Places is a novella in the Heresy Series story cycle and has been substantially rewritten and revised for this edition.
Represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths
Interview with the author:
What makes Quiet Places so special?
Jasper: Readers have told me they like the sense of tradition the story has. It’s steeped not only in ancient folklore, but also the work of classic horror authors like M. R. James and Arthur Machen, as well as the American writers they influenced, such as H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. Yet, the story still manages to be as dark and disturbing as any contemporary horror. It contains stories within stories, and a narrative that slowly unfolds, as revelation follows revelation, each one more shocking than the last.
Tell us more your lead character.
Jasper: Sally is a city girl transplanted to the Highlands of Scotland. She moved from London to be with her partner David, who has inherited land and property in the rural town of Dunballan. Sally is fiercely independent, but very loyal to David. At first she falls in love with the primal beauty of the forests and the countryside, but after a while she finds small town life to be very claustrophobic. The people of Dunballan are a tight knit bunch and they seem to have some secret hold over David. Not to mention some secret knowledge that leaves Sally feeling isolated and excluded. That’s when Sally’s defiance, and her personal bravery, kick in, and she realises she’s going to have to go to some extraordinary lengths to save the man she loves from the town.
Why should readers give this book a try?
Jasper: I’m known for being a highly imaginative writer and, like most of my work, Quiet Places contains characters, creatures and concepts you probably won’t have encountered in a horror story before. If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, with sights you’ve never seen and fears you’ve yet to experience, then this is the book for you.
Is there a recommend order for reading your books?
Jasper: No, like all my books, Quiet Places is a stand-alone story. It is part of a story cycle that deals with the Qu’rm Saddic Heresy, an ancient and much persecuted belief system that was old even in the days of Mesopotamia. Not much is known about it these days, as most records of it have been destroyed, the few accounts we do have, speak of it with intense fear and loathing. That’s why it fascinates me. The heresy forms a loose back drop to a lot of my stories and novels. However, like the Cthulhu Mythos, Laird Barron’s Children of the Leech stories and Brian’s Keene’s Labyrinth mythos, the stories can be read in any order but, with every story you read, the depth of the tapestry they’re woven into, becomes clearer and more apparent.
A Perfect Mix Of Sub Genres
Bark knows how to instill the feeling of isolation and despair into his words. From the first chapter, you’re transported into the heart of Dunballan, a town filled with hollow shells. A single survivor, Sally, is left to try her best to care for the thousands of citizens that have mysteriously all lost all mental functions. The truth of their state is far stranger than one could possibly fathom. Quiet Places is a cosmic folk horror book, bringing you the hard to imagine abominations cosmic horror has to offer, and the sense of isolation, as well as the dark atmosphere, folk horror is known for. This mix of sub genres creates a story that will leave you on the edge of your seat, and have you pondering what exactly happened to these pour souls before the book can reveal its secrets to you. I loved everything about this book, the characters, the main story, the beast, the sense that some things are not as they seem, and the afterwards detailing the history of this tale. I appreciate how Bark has rewritten a long portion of this book in order to craft the best piece of fiction he is capable of. It takes a lot to take criticism from readers and use that as inspiration to better craft the story into something bigger than it was originally intended to be.