Wednesday 26 October 2016
The Wrong Train Blog Tour with Jeremy de Quidt
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of 'The Wrong Train' (Jeremy de Quidt, David Fickling Books) for review. I thoroughly enjoyed the tale and repost my review here.
"It's late at night, a boy runs for the train but on catching it he realises that it's not the one he meant to catch. He gets off at the first possible station he can but doesn't recognise it. After a while an old man and his dog turn up and regale the boy with a story while he waits for a train to take him back.
And so begins one of the creepiest, scariest books I've read in a while.
The stories the old man tells, you see, are of the ghostly and unsettling variety.
As the night goes on the boy gets more uncomfortable with the old man and the old man himself gets slightly more sinister. It's clear from the off that the old man is in charge of the game, indeed all the events and storytelling seem to be leading towards what he refers to as 'my little game'. And when it comes time to play, when all becomes clear - well, let's just say this reviewer had his socks knocked clean off.
The storytelling here is very much of the highest standard, the stories within a story idea works really well and I'm not ashamed to say, the author unnerved me at times. There were certainly several occasions when I could see where he was taking the story and I thought 'NO!! He's not going to do that. I was wrong and he did.
The Wrong Train is aimed at a Young Adult audience but shouldn't be restricted to that bracket. It is not a comfortable read but it is a very good one. This book will be enjoyed by older readers too.
So, in short, I cannot recommend The Wrong Train Highly enough. Go get yourself a copy soon as you can (it's from David Fickling Books)
5* It's been a long while since a book unsettled me like this and I loved every uncomfortable minute of it"
When the chance came to take part in the 'The Wrong Train' Blog Tour I didn't need asking twice. So, with no further ado, please welcome Jeremy to the BlogCave as I ask him "What scared you as a child"
Andy looked at me over his laptop.
“You told Beth at Reader’s Corner that you never read scary stories when you were a child because you had nightmares?”
“That’s right,” I said.
He looked at the laptop, I could see him reading the tour blog post.
“So, scary stories were never your inspiration,’ he said. “You just pour it all out of that dark ink you carry round in your head now.”
He looked up.
“Do stories scare you, now?” He asked.
“Not really,” I said. “I don’t read scary things. If I do it’s to take them apart - admire all the ropes and pulleys behind the words. See how other people do it.”
“Some stuff must scare you, though?”
“Course it does,” I said. “Fear’s not rational. Once someone lets a story into that part of their head they don’t have the key to, all the dark things in there will get up and play with it.”
He grinned, turned the lamp round so that it was pointing directly at me and said.
“So, what actually was it scared you, kicked off all those nightmares, when you were a child?”
“Specifics,” he said.
“How many do you want?” I could see we were going to be there all day if I tried to give him the whole list.
“Three,” he said.
“Ok,” I said. “Three.”
I thought about it for a moment and then held up a finger.
Because I didn’t read or want to watch scary stuff, what I just glimpsed in pictures - in photographs in newspapers and magazines, on covers of books - they were a big way to let the bad things in. Some would be awful in the way that only those pictures can be - I remember seeing a photograph of Belsen in the pages of a history book an uncle had. Others were awful in a way intended to shock and entertain - there was a series of American Civil War bubblegum cards that were all gore and death.
What they did was put the image in that unlit closed-off part of my head that I didn’t have the key to - added it to the ones that were already there - and come nighttime and darkness all the bright lights went on in there and that dark imagination of mine would feed on it and turn it into something else, much worse.”
I held up another finger. “Number Two:
Being alone in the dark - bedroom light out, hall light out, dark. Especially in the dead of night.
Home is supposed to be safe, but it didn’t feel safe and when everyone else was asleep they might just as well not have been there at all. All I was left with is whatever I wanted to fill up the dark with, and I was never short of ideas for that. They came creeping across the floor, around the doorpost, down the walls from the ceiling - tapped at the glass behind the curtains, hid in folds of cloth.”
I held up a third Finger. “Number Three,” I said.
“I listened too much and asked too many of the wrong questions. There’d have been a scary film on that I hadn't seen, and lamb to the slaughter I wouldn’t able to stop myself asking what it had been about. ‘What happened?’ I’d say, and even as I said it I knew that I was going to regret asking. Maybe not then, maybe not an hour later, but come the dark - come that bright light getting switched on in the locked room inside my head, boy was I going to regret it. And I did. Every time.
“Were you a timid child?” asked Andy.
“Not at all. I sawed a .410 shotgun cartridge in half on a stone step at infant’s school because I fancied the shiny brass bit at the end…”
“But you could say that was plain ignorance. And I put a .22 brass starting pistol cap in a brick wall once and hit it with a hammer and nail…”
“at infant’s school? A shotgun cartridge…”
“And if there was anything of a bone breaking height to throw myself off or round, I was your boy. But dark imagination, that was a demon I had no hold on at all.”
I looked up at Andy and felt myself slowly smiling in what I hoped was a friendly way.
“Still don’t…” I said.
And on that note Jeremy must leave for the next stop on his tour and all that remains is for me to say "Thank you for stopping by"
*WARNING: NOT FOR PASSENGERS OF NERVOUS DISPOSITION* THE WRONG TRAIN Jeremy De Quidt Publishing in hardback from David Fickling Books on 1st September 2016, priced £10.99
Master of horror, Jeremy de Quidt, is back with this terrifyingly good collection of ghost stories that will send shivers down your spine.
Just don’t say we didn’t warn you…
“It dawned on him slowly that there was something wrong…”
It’s late. Dark. A boy rushes to catch a train, leaping aboard just before it pulls away. Suddenly he realises that it’s the wrong train. He’s annoyed, of course, but not scared… Yet.
He gets off at the next station, but the platform’s empty, and it doesn’t look like any station he’s seen before. But he’s still not scared… Yet.
Then a stranger arrives – someone with stories to help pass the time. Only these aren’t any old stories. These are nightmares, and they come with a price to pay.
…Scared yet? You will be.
Praise for Jeremy de Quidt: “Pacy, exciting and inventive” - Guardian “Thrilling, dark and exciting” - The Bookseller
About the Author:
Jeremy de Quidt is available for interview and to write features. For further information please contact Carolyn McGlone, PR Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org; 01865 339 008