Joel Lane's Where Furnaces Burn was published by PS Publishing in October 2012.

Information Joel Lane:

Joel Lane is the author of three other collections of supernatural horror stories, The Earth Wire, The Lost District and The Terrible Changes; a weird novella, The Witnesses Are Gone; three collections of poems, The Edge of the Screen, Trouble in the Heartland and The Autumn Myth; a booklet of crime stories, Do Not Pass Go; a chapbook, Black Country; and a pamphlet of erotic poems, Instinct.

He has also edited an anthology of subterranean horror tales, Beneath the Ground, and co-edited an anthology of urban crime and suspense stories, Birmingham Noir (with Steve Bishop) and an anthology of weird and speculative fiction stories against racism and fascism, Never Again (with Allyson Bird).

Information about Where Furnaces Burn:

Episodes from the casebook of a police officer in the West Midlands:

A young woman needs help in finding the buried pieces of her lover... so he can return to waking life.

Pale-faced thieves gather by a disused railway to watch a puppet theatre of love and violence.

Why do local youths keep starting fires in the ash woods around a disused mine in the Black Country?

A series of inexplicable deaths lead the police to uncover a secret cult of machine worship.

When a migrant worker disappears, the key suspect is a boy driven mad by memories that are not his own.

Among the derelict factories and warehouses at the heart of the city, an archaic god seeks out his willing victims.

Blurring the occult detective story with urban noir fiction, Where Furnaces Burn offers a glimpse of the myths and terrors buried within the industrial landscape.


This review is based on a PDF ARC.

Joel Lane's Where Furnaces Burn caught my attention a couple of months ago when I was looking for new and interesting dark fantasy and horror short story collections to read. A friend of mine most warmly recommended this collection to me, because he knew that I'm a big fan of well written dark fantasy and horror fiction, so I decided to read and review it. I'm glad that I had a chance to review this collection, because it turned out to be an excellent collection.

Where Furnaces Burn contains the following short stories:

  • My Stone Desire
  • Still Water
  • Morning's Echo
  • The Hostess
  • Blue Smoke
  • Beth's Law
  • A Cup of Blood
  • Even the Pawn
  • A Mouth to Feed
  • Quarantine
  • Black Country
  • Without a Mind
  • The Sunken City
  • Incry
  • The Last Witness
  • Dreams of Children
  • Waiting for the Thaw
  • Stiff as Toys
  • The Victim Card
  • Winter Journey
  • Slow Burn
  • The Receivers
  • Wake Up in Moloch
  • Point of Departure
  • Blind Circles
  • Facing the Wall

Where Furnaces Burn is one of those short story collections, which will charm you with their weirdness and originality. These stories are weird, intriguing and horrifying.

I like Joel Lane's prose and writing style very much. He fluently combines occult detective fiction, noir fiction, sensuality, gothic fiction, dark fantasy and horror to create dark fantasy and noir flavoured speculative fiction. The author balances nicely between noir and fantastical elements, using both to his advantage.

It's easy to see that classic horror and noir stories have inspired Joel Lane, because he writes stories in which the happenings develop gradually and end in a perfectly satisfying way. His prose punctuates the terrifying happenings and horrifies the reader in an unsettling way (he lures the reader into a macabre world by writing about small details with shockingly effective and beautiful phrases).

What I like most about these stories is that the author writes about urban decay and macabre things in a fresh and disturbing way. In my opinion the bleak and gloomy settings create a haunting atmosphere to his stories.

The characters and their fates are interesting, because the author writes in the first person narrative style. It adds depth and style to these stories.The cover art image (Wednesbury by Night in the 19th Century, unknown artist, courtesy of  Ironbridge Gorge Museum) looks beautiful. It's a perfect cover art image for this collection, because it sets the right mood for the reader.

Because Joel Lane is a good author and I liked this collection very much, I intend to read more of his stories. In my opinion this collection belongs to the bookshelf of every reader who's ever been interested in horror and mystery stories.

Highly recommended to fans of dark fantasy and horror short stories!

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