The Witnesses Are Gone is a first-hand account of a journey into the underworld in all the wrong places. Martin Swann, its narrator, moves into an old house and finds a box of videocassettes in the garden shed. One of them has a bootleg copy of a morbid and disturbing film by a little-known French director, Jean Rien.
Martin's search for Rien's other films, and for a way to understand them, draws him away from his home and his lover into a shadow realm of secrets, rituals and encroaching decay. An encounter with a schizoid film journalist in Gravesend leads to a drug-fuelled vision in Paris – and finally to the Mexican desert where a grim revelation awaits him.
The Witnesses Are Gone updates the Orpheus myth for a world losing touch with reality. Blending supernatural horror with eroticism and warped comedy, it takes a look behind the screen on which our collective nightmares play.
Joel Lane (1963–2013) was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, critic and anthology editor. He received the British Fantasy Award twice.
Born in Exeter, he was the nephew of tenor saxophonist Ronnie Scott. At the time of his death, Lane lived in south Birmingham, where he worked in health publishing. The latter city frequently provided settings for his fiction.
Although the majority of Lane's short stories can be categorised as horror or dark fantasy, his novels are more overtly mainstream. From Blue to Black (2000) is a portrait of a disturbed rock musician, whilst The Blue Mask (2003) follows the aftermath of a brutal and disfiguring attack.
Lane addressed the Birmingham Science Fiction Group in ... (more)