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Peter Atkins


Re-publication of a cult favorite

Trade Paperback (6" X 9")
$15.95 US
256 pages
ISBN: 0-9742907-7-7
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Novelist and screenwriter Peter Atkins was born in Liverpool, England. After receiving an honors degree in English Literature, he spent five years working in theatre as a founder member of the legendary Dog Company--whose fellow alumni include Clive Barker and Doug (Pinhead) Bradley. Abandoning theatre after realizing he was possibly the world's worst actor, he spent a further five years as a rock'n'roll musician fronting his band The Chase in the bars and clubs of his hometown, his final gig being at the world-famous Cavern Club.

He became a full-time writer in 1987 when his first screenplay was produced. Since then he has become well-known as the author of three of the Hellraiser movies, one of the most critically-acclaimed and commercially-succesful horror series of the last decade. He went on to create his own horror franchise in 1997 when, for Executive Producer Wes Craven, he wrote Wishmaster, which has so far spawned three sequels (by other hands).

When Atkins' novels Morningstar and Big Thunder were first published in England, they were received rapturously received by critics and readers alike, Ramsey Campbell decreeing that "few fantasists combine the visceral and the visionary with such wit, skill, and inventiveness as Peter Atkins" and Clive Barker saying "Atkins is a brilliant supplier of shudders and splendours. His voice is utterly distinctive and will surely be heard for years to come". Atkins has also authored the story collection Wishmaster and two plays.

Peter Atkins is married and lives in Los Angeles where he gigs (far too rarely) with his new band Invisible Cinema.


Acclaim for Morningstar:

  • "Morningstar is a wonderful book-intelligent, well-written and filled with memorable scenes and images that will stay with me for a long time to come." -Bentley Little, Hellnotes
  • "Atkins knows how to sell a story and keeps this one thrumming with tension. Devotees of dark suspense will find it to their liking..." -Publishers Weekly
  • "An audacious mix of vampires, ghosts, goddesses, and psychopaths. Wonderful stuff" - Neil Gaiman
  • "Morningstar is by turns stomach-turning and witty, sexy and disturbing; a mingling of thriller and horror story that makes for an irresistible ride." - Clive Barker
  • "Witty, gruesome, swift, unpredictable, and ultimately awe-inspiring." - Ramsey Campbell
  • "The descriptions of the murders are breathtakingly foul and Atkins manipulates his readers' sympathies mercilessly .. the pace rarely flags" - Time Out
  • "An effective horror thriller... Atkins draws from his movie work a real capacity to visualize phantasmagoria in credible terms" - New Statesman
  • "Atkins writes with elegance and wit... and springs one or two awe-inspiring surprises." -Roz Caveney, The London Times
  • "Atkins manipulates his readers' sympathies mercilessly... the pace rarely flags." -Time Out
  • "A fast-moving and witty scenario, alternately chilling and awe-inspiring... written with elegant precision... it leaves one panting for more." - Anne Billson, Starburst
  • "A zingy fusion of contemporary hard-nosed thriller with elements of gothic horror..." - The Dark Side
  • "Morningstar is original and fresh with a dark and gruesome wit." - Stephen Laws, Million
  • "A lulu! Revelatory twists... impressively written... a talented writer with real imagination." -Faren Miller, Locus
  • "Establishes Atkins as a major genre voice... proceeds unstoppably to a truly visionary climax. A star is born with this daring dazzling debut novel" - John Martin, Samhain
  • "Excellent... a sense of wonder and surprise .. there are no wasted moments... impressive... an addictive read" - Mike Baker, Afraid
  • "An outstanding piece of fiction... wonderful... a seductive read... a cleverly twisted plot... the final confrontation is a classically executed waltz of death... keeps the reader's eyes wide open" - Joe Mauceri, World of Fandom
  • "Polished, readable, and fresh .. a cataclysmic finale as unexpected as it is mystical... leaves the reader feeling he's sensed something from the Great Beyond" - David Sutton, Critical Wave


Excerpt from Morningstar


THE ONE that was bleeding was bigger and stronger, but he was a stranger in this place and the red light confused him and the yards of polyethylene caused his feet to betray him.

Of the many cuts his body boasted, the one above his left eye, though small, was very productive and his wiping hands could not keep pace with the blinding flow of his blood. His left arm, in any case, dangled uselessly beside him; split deep as it was from shoulder to elbow, its only functions now were to send rhythmic telegrams of agony to an already panicking brain and to piss distressingly large amounts of bright red blood onto the polyethylene sheets on which he tried to run.

The other cuts were insignificant. Though two or three, in fact, were quite vicious enough to scar him for life, they were not disabling, and that was the only criterion here-- here in this circle of red light and torment where life meant running and slipping and being or not being cut. Any thought or memory of a life prior to this, a life of house payments, of arguments and reconciliations, of painful loss and healing love, had been put to flight by the same charge of adrenaline that had removed the concept of futurity from his mind.

Twice rage had gotten the better of fear and twice he had charged, bellowing, at the graceful, slick bastard who was doing this to him. And twice he had received the serious cut -- the tactically blinding one to the forehead, the cruelly crippling one to the arm. The other cuts arrived as almost playful punishments for when he was clumsy enough or frightened enough to fall over. He was often clumsy. He was very frightened. He was going to die and he knew it.

The Matador was different. The Matador moved with sure steps and little sweat and his knife danced as gracefully as he. He felt no pity for the lumbering animal trying hopelessly to avoid him or foolishly to attack. He felt only contempt for its easily summoned sweat, blood, and breathlessness. There was little sport here. This one had no idea. There. It was down again. Sent tumbling by its own blood, slick on the polyethylene. Knife arcing elegantly beside him, he flew at it, marked his passing with a thin, red signature on its cheek, and stepped back.

The figure on the floor felt his cheek stroked and waited for the cold, sharp stinging that always followed. It wasn't long coming. He put his good hand up to his face and touched the wound. The tip of his middle finger disappeared inside his face as his cheek opened moistly for him like an eager lover. He screamed. And for the third time the scream was born of fury not of terror. Blind to danger, blind to pain, blind at last even to the possibility of failure, he scrambled to his feet and ran roaring at his tormentor.

The distance between them was too short and the demands of his rage too great to allow for confusion to take a proper hold of his mind, but he did have time enough to register a brief, animal surprise at the response of the Matador to his charge. Throwing aside the knife, which skidded away across the blood-slicked polyethylene sheeting, the Matador stood perfectly still and awaited his attack with lowered arms.

He didn't need the invitation that this gesture implied; his momentum and his hatred threw him forward anyway. He smashed into the Matador and, the blood having filled his eyes again, groped blindly for something breakable to seize. Then he felt it.

Not a knife, but equally sharp. Not steel, but equally insistent. He felt the piercing, the puncturing, the rupturing. He felt the blood well to the wound as if eager to leave his tortured body. He felt the Matador hug him tight as if the making of death, like the making of love, was a mutual endeavor. Strangely though, at the last, he felt no pain. It was as if his mind, knowing it could no longer act on his body's signals of suffering, was leaving the phone off the hook, having already gotten the message. He decided to scream anyway -- almost as a point of principle -- but he found his mouth was full of blood, and by the time he'd spat, swallowed, or choked it away, a scream seemed for some reason to be not worth the effort. A little like breathing. Or thinking. Or being.

* * *

A short time later, at one end of the room, a set of double doors opened. Another man entered the room, a tall man, a stone-faced man, a man whose build was a little too stocky to suit entirely the costume in which he was dressed -- which was a chauffeur's uniform of soft black leather.

He glanced quickly around the room to be certain all had gone as expected. It had; his employer was seated, the other was dead.

The chauffeur moved forward. In his right hand he held a large black plastic waste bag into which, with a minimum of ceremony but a fair amount of effort, he placed his employer's bloody handiwork piece by piece.

Folding over the top of the bag, he then dragged it along the floor, the polyethylene aiding the smoothness of its journey, and out into the corridor beyond the doors.

Leaving the bag behind, he reentered the room and began to fold the polyethylene sheeting in upon itself, a trick he performed swiftly and with the efficiency of familiarity; despite it not yet having attained a state of stickiness, none of the blood escaped onto the highly polished wooden floor that was revealed as his work progressed. When this second bloody bundle had joined the first in the corridor, the chauffeur, playing with a couple of light switches by the doorway, exchanged the red light for white and looked carefully around the room to ensure that his confidence had not outstripped his cleanliness. But he had been diligent; the room was spotless.

The Matador was still sitting calmly at the far end of the room. He remained silent as the chauffeur saw to the bringing in and the laying out of replacement polyethylene. Once this was done, the chauffeur, back in the open doorway, took hold of the two bundles of trash and, for the first time, looked directly into the eyes of his employer.

"You know where to take it?" the latter asked.

The chauffeur nodded.

The Matador made a small gesture of dismissal and watched as the chauffeur closed the doors behind him. He stood up and walked across his room to the double doors. Reversing his employee's action with the light switches, he once again flooded the room with redness and then placed his mouth close to a small intercom that was adjacent to the switches.

"Next," he said.