Wednesday, 14 September 2016

REVIEW: J.G. Clay - Tales of Blood and Sulphur

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Shadow Work Publishing
Publication Date: 29th July 2015
Pages: 214


A copy of Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, J.G Clay in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Shadow Work Publishing.

Sometimes things take a strange twist and you end up reading something unexpected.

This is the case with this one. I have been friends with J.G Clay’s alter ego, Pardip Basra, on Facebook for a while now. I thought he was another book lover. I didn’t realise he was J.G Clay. Then through some weird circumstances, we got thrown into conversation and it was suggested I needed to give Tales of Blood and Sulphur a go. I was actually very glad when I was asked if I wanted a copy to review. I have seen some really good things about this man’s writing and this book in particular on social media. After picking it up, I then discovered that this edition is published by Shadow Work Publishing. Those guys don’t put out rubbish so it must be a match made in heaven right?

This is what I thought.


Cameron Vale and his colleague, Darrow are interrogating a man who gives his name only as Null. He is trying to enter the UK and Cameron and Darrow are to question him on his motives for trying to enter.

They are getting nowhere with him when Cameron discovers that Null claims to be a story teller who has collected stories for centuries. He gets rid of Darrow and sits back to listen to some of the tales Null has to tell.

He knows there is a price to pay for listening, though he has no idea what it may be.

Null begins with the first tale…..


A mysterious gambler seems to have fallen on hard times. His luck has run out and he is on the brink of a total wipe-out. An even more mysterious stranger offers to teach him some life lessons and help get him back on the successful path. This will all be done with the help of an ancient book, Speculum Mysteriis.

The gambler doesn’t plan for the consequences of his new found success. He soon realises that the success comes with a very heavy price and he may just be a very small player in a much larger game.

This is such a wonderful opener for a collection. This is so dark and psychedelic it will have you mesmerised. You follow the gambler through the peaks and troughs of his new found life, all the while waiting on the kick to come. He never seems to realise just what is going on though.

This story is largely a narrative without any dialogue and it is wonderfully effective. It gives you a true feeling of the hidden depravity involved and feels so beautifully dark.

The use of language in this writing is something I hope continues throughout this collection. It’s intelligent and well thought out and adds so much to the atmosphere.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


The Gods are not happy. The humans have desecrated and destroyed the world they were given. The Gods have been to war with them and still it makes no difference.

Baimie has been given one last chance to solve the problem. He knows that if this does not work, he could be banished forever.
Wow. That is all. Wow.

This is a sort of flash fiction piece really. Again, there is no dialogue in this. It is a short narrative basically about how we, as humans, have destroyed the gift we have been given.

Extremely powerful and emotional and moving, this shows again just how intelligent JG Clay’s writing is and shows exactly what can be done with descriptive text only.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Harvey is a writer. Stereotypical in many respects. Struggling for inspiration. Alone after his marriage has failed. Fond of the drink.

He has a weird patch in his back garden that is covered in slime and a rank smell emanates from it. It seems to be getting bigger. That may be because of the bodies that keep disappearing into it.

Friend is developing. He will come to speak to Harvey soon.

Oh. My. God. 80’s inspired horror all the way. Beautifully written again to give you the creeps from the get go, this will have you squirming. It will have you on the edge of your seat. It will scare the pants off you and have you smiling from ear to ear at the same time.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Captain Danning is alone in his room, but he is not alone inside his own body.

Rahhasha must find the Gestalt, Lazlo, and extract the information on how to save the Archon Morbius before killing Lazlo.

In a world of hidden demons, nothing is ever as it seems.

Like monsters and demons and other worldly entities hell bent on taking over the world?

Look no further than this tale to mesmerise you and fascinate you and scare you.

Another top notch story.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Pete the Neat has disappeared. Just totally vanished. It is often discussed in the pub as to what happened to him. One person knows but he isn't for telling.
He doesn't want to give his plan away.

Another one that is nearly all narrative from an unnamed source giving his account of what happened to Pete the Neat.

Again, JG Clay does this wonderfully well. You get into the head of the narrator very quickly and feel very at ease with the story.

This one again has monsters and mysterious beings that you have no idea where they came from. JG Clay has a fantastic imagination and the writing skills to match.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Darrow is still out of the room while Cameron listens to Null telling the many tales from his journey.

He still has an hour to kill. This is as boring as hell. Cameron on the other hand is having a ball.


Meet George, a ponderous chap sitting in a pub waiting for his friend Sparky.

Things start going a bit weird when a stranger, and smelly man, suddenly appears in the booth beside him.

George can't be sure but he thinks he has just had a conversation with Lucifer. 

Following the thoughts inside the head of George, this one is filled with a certain dark sarcastic humour that will have you smiling a lot as you read. 

Look a bit deeper though and it will scare the pants off you as well.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


J.D. is a reporter. Not a very happy one. He gets a job he doesn't want, but when it becomes clear he may have the scoop of all time his excitement grows.

This is a story he has to get live on air.

Think War of the World's. Think Independence Day. Now add in the wonderful writing of JG Clay and you have a story full of horror and dry humour and words that will have you gripping the edge of your seat right to the very end.

A mix of horror and sci-fi, this is just absolutely superb. It paints a beautiful picture full of wondrous sights and sounds and smells. This stinks of all those monster movies I used to watch on a Saturday afternoon when I was a kid, hiding behind the cushions.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Pastor John is in his element. Leading the purge of the D-70's and filling his pockets with the proceeds, life couldn't get much better. And then he gets the offer of a lifetime from the most powerful man around. 

One person doesn't want him getting the position though. Not all the tracks have been covered.

This one is set in a dystopian world where the church is in total control of the minds and bodies of everyone. Sounds like today doesn't it?

This is where this story comes into its own. To me it is a variation on a theme. JG Clays interpretation of the world we live in.

When you think about it after reading it, it scares the shit out of you.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


A diary has been discovered written by a nameless man as he tries to survive the apocalypse. Live through his eyes as he fights for survival. It's the only thing he can do.

I have read a few stories like this, written in diary format. I don't know what, but something just stands out with this one. I think it's the fact that the feeling of isolation and fear is so prevailing. When this man struggles to sleep at night because of the noises outside, you feel yourself holding your breath with him.

Perfect tension and a perfect sense of total fear. This one though also shows that even when the world goes to shit we humans still have to face the normal day to day horrors that we do at the minute.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Arch-Pastor Michael has full power over the people with the help of Penelope and The Smiling Men, a group of genetically enhanced soldiers that appear to be invincible.

Malky and his renegade friends are trying to destroy The Smiling Men, and the regime they represent. Malky should be able to do this. After all, he made the Smiling Men.

Another trip into the dystopian world that JG Clay has developed so very well.

This is a wonderful story of the peoples rise against the aggression of the power hungry fools. The way it is told though is like an adult version of The Hunger Games. No fancy games to be played in this one. This is scary shit.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Darrow’s break is over. Time to go back and check on Vale and Null.

All is not as it seems. The tales have had some sort of effect on Vale. Null needs to explain and Darrow isn't going to like it


Marnie Klein was always told by her father to fear nothing, especially in the dark. This is a mantra she keeps to this day. She is going to need to say it over and over.

Things aren’t going too well with her and her sadistic natured boss. Others from further afield in the Omniverse have plans for him though.

Marnie is going to like them. Her boss isn’t.

What can I say? If you thought the rest of the stories in this collection are good, then this is the perfect way to finish it off.

An evil boss. A mysterious being. Retribution and peace at last. This story has it all. Oh and it’s quite scary!

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.

So there it is. My thoughts on Tales of Blood and Sulphur. Did you notice something when you were reading through it? A common factor with all the stories? Yeah, for only about the third time, every single story in this collection got full marks. Does that tell you something? It should. You really need to go out and buy this book. It is an essential collection to have. There is a space on your shelf just begging to be filled with this one.

JG Clay is a name that not a lot of people will be familiar with. At the minute. I make a prediction though. In a few years’ time, everyone will know his name.

This is a brand of writing that will blow your socks off. He has created a world known as the Omniverse. All of these stories are loosely connected within that world. All of these stories are horrific. All of these stories are not just stories. They all have a hidden agenda if you like. They all have much deeper meanings. They are very intelligently written.

JG Clay isn’t just a storyteller. He is one of the most intelligent story tellers I have ever read. His words will inspire you. They will make you feel scared, ashamed and emotional. They will make you laugh. They will creep the hell out of you. They will make you think about the world you live in and the world you could live in. They will make you very thankful for what you have. Above all, they will make you long for the day his next book comes out.

To summarise: I need say no more. Buy it or go sit in the stupid corner.

General rating:

★★★★★ absolutely perfect!

Horror rating:

★★★★★ absolutely perfect!

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy Tales of Blood and Sulphur or any other books from J.G. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews.


Book Synopsis:

J.G Clay takes you on a journey through the voids of Reality and into dark places where demons, mutants and inter-dimensional creatures taunt, taint and corrupt Humanity. Survival is not guaranteed, sanity is not assured and death lurks in every corner. These are the Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor; eleven twisted tales of terror and mayhem.....

There are cracks in the skin of Reality. Some are microscopic, others are as wide as a four-lane motorway. As the fault lines increase and widen, the door to our world shines like a beacon in the darkness, a warm and inviting sight to others beyond our understanding. When They cross over into our realm, The Tales begin......

A gambler taking one last desperate throw of the dice. A struggling writer making an unholy alliance. An eternal being fighting to stay alive in the financial capital of India. A man burdened with a terrible town secret. The Law Enforcers who must never cry. The End of Days live and direct from the rural heartland of England.

The blood is warm, the sulphur is burning, the tales will be told, the Apocalypse Minor is imminent!

J.G Clay is definitely a Man of Horror. There can be no doubt. Putting aside the reverence he has for the horror greats, such as King, Barker, Herbert, Carpenter, Romero and Argento, there is another fact that defines his claim for the title of the 'Duke of Spook'. He was born on Halloween night. By a quirk fate, it was also a full moon that night. Co-incidence?

Here at Clay Towers, we don't believe in coincidences.

The 41-year-old hails from the Midlands in the United Kingdom, is married with one step child and two dogs that bear a strong resemblance to Ewoks. Beyond the page and the written word, he is music mad and can hold down a tune on a bass guitar pretty well. He is an avid reader and also has an enduring love of British sci-fi, from the pages of the '2000A.D' comic to the televised wanderings of Gallifrey's most famous physician. Clay is also a long-time fan of the mighty Birmingham City Football Club and endures a lot of flak from his friends for it.

And for more about J.G. visit his site, or find him on social media:

Website – Facebook – Twitter - Goodreads – Amazon Page

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