by Stephen Volk
(story collection, PS Publishing, 2016)
*Shortlisted for This Is Horror Best Collection 2016
*Longlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize
*Shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award 2017 


Check out the book trailer here

An illusionist preparing his latest, most audacious trick... A movie fan hiding from a totalitarian regime... A pop singer created with the perfect ingredients for stardom... A folklorist determined to catch a supernatural entity on tape... A dead child appearing to her mother in the middle of a supermarket aisle... A man who breaks the ultimate taboo -- but does that make him a monster?

In this rich and varied collection of Stephen Volk's best fiction to date, characters seek to be the people they need to be, jostled by hope, fears, responsibility, fate, and their own inner demons -- and desires. These tales of the lies and lives we live and the pasts we can't forget include the British Fantasy Award-winning Best Novella, Newspaper Heart.

"They tell the human story the way only the best horror fiction can. And no one tells that story better than Stephen Volk" Nathan Ballingrud, from his introduction

"Volk has a gift for taking ordinary situations and making you see that darker side that lurks just behind. One of the best short story collections I've read in recent times - highly recommended. 10/10" Sci-Fi Bulletin

"One of the must-have collections of the year" James Everington

"Stephen Volk is one of those annoying people who can't write a bad story" Guy Adams

"Stephen Volk is gradually earning the label as a master of the British horror short form. If Monsters in the Heart gave us a glimpse of this excellence, then The Parts We Play has blown the screen door wide open" Anthony Cowin, This Is Horror

"This collection demonstrates an impressive range, as well as a biting sense of humour. Terrifically written... varied and highly enjoyable" Will Salmon, Horrorville

"Consistently good... a very enjoyable collection by a writer who knows how to entertain and entice his audience, on the written page as well as on the screen" Mario Guslandi, Hellnotes

"Excellent anthology with no styrofoam fillers. Stephen Volk's writing is so smooth and polished that it lifts you up and carries you along until you're suddenly knee-deep in the story and the only way you can go is onwards to the end. There are no parts where your attention wanders, no unnecessary words or clumsy exposition. In fact it's hard to imagine that these stories were ever constructed or edited or laboured over, as they feel they've existed forever. I would heartily recommend this, though be aware that many of the stories contained within will niggle and unsettle, leaving you either slack-jawed with shock or with a deep sense of unease that's hard to shake"  Phil Hickes, author (Childhood Nightmares, Gothic Blue Book) 

"Taken on their own, these are all admirable and gripping tales; each one differently twisty, moving, fantastic or incisive. More importantly, they stretch a theme and vision across the varied narratives, developing as they span the slippery changes within and through their horrors." Mythogeography

"Consistently well-written and absorbing, it is one of the best single author collections I have read in recent years. Stephen Volk is one of the best practioners of the horror story active today. A true master of the genre"  David A. Riley, The British Fantasy Society

"In his latest collection, Stephen Volk firmly consolidates his reputation as one of the very best short story writers working in the field. The sheer breadth and scope of stories here is gobsmacking, but whereas Volk constantly keeps his narratives fresh and surprising by employing a variety of different styles and approaches, they are nevertheless united by a bold and glittering vein of empathy, of humanity in its purest form, allied with a razor-sharp observational eye, and the enviable ability to draw the reader in, to utterly captivate, from the first sentence to the last"  Mark Morris, author of The Obsidian Heart Trilogy

"Stephen Volk is one of the finest writers of short stories (or weird fiction, whatever) writing today"  Peter Coleborn, Piper at the Gates of Fantasy 

Read the review on Sci-Fi Bulletin

Read the review by Anthony Cowin on This Is Horror

Read the review on Hellnotes

Read the review on Mythogeography

Read the review at the British Fantasy Society website 


"Horror and Heartbreak" - Introduction by Nathan Ballingrud
Celebrity Frankenstein


A Whisper to a Grey

The Arse-Licker

The Peter Lorre Fan Club

Certain Faces
With All My Love Always Always Forever XXX

Matilda of the Night

The Shug Monkey


The Magician Kelso Dennett

Newspaper Heart

Story Notes

Read Stephen Volk's blog about the writing of the collection

Accompanied (in the slip-cased PS edition) by:

Two stories by Stephen Volk
(PS Publishing, 2016)



The Three Hunchbacks
The House That Moved Next Door
*Selected for Best New Horror 28, ed. Stephen Jones, PS Books, 2018
Story Notes

Check out the ordering information at the PS Publishing web site