‘It’s in The Half Man! That’s why they’re gathering. You think they cared about Justin? They couldn’t wait to see him dead! They didn’t come here to pay their respects; they came to sniff around his corpse!’
What is the secret of The Half Man, a creepy old inn on the windswept coast of Norfolk? Vic, a low-ranking foot soldier from London’s gangland, has orders to find out what it is and bring it back to his boss, or else… But easier said than done, especially when his fellow guests at the inn are such a rum lot, no-one is what they appear to be, and one of them is decapitated right in front of him.
They all know whodunit, but why? Soon Vic will find himself up to his neck in hot dames, nosy cops, old magic, ancient rituals and quicksand. Lots of quicksand.
The Half Man is a fast-paced supernatural thriller with echoes of Get Carter, the mysteries of Agatha Christie and the ghost stories of M. R. James.
The Half Man started life as a screenplay, written in the mid-1990s by me and my friend Lawrence Jackson. I think we envisaged most – if not all – of the leading roles being played by Paul Whitehouse. This was long before The League of Gentlemen and Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, but I daresay had we been aware of those actors we would have mentally cast some of them as well.
Twenty years later, I dusted off our old MS and decided to use it as the outline for a novel, confidently expecting I could whip it out in a couple of weeks. Inevitably, the task proved more complicated than anticipated and ended up taking me several years, but the results are now available in paperback and ebook format.
It’s not like my previous novels – Suckers, Stiff Lips, The Ex and The Coming Thing – in that it’s written in the third person and, apart from a couple of establishing scenes, doesn’t take place in London, so I decided the cover art should be in a different style. Enter the very wonderful Craig Becton Field, who read the novel, liked it, and supplied me with a selection of smashing potential cover images. This is the one I chose.
And here are some reviews:
“Do you want to relive the glory days of British pulp horror? Remember those great NEL paperback originals and those Dennis Wheatley reprints in the seventies? Well, pick up a copy of Anne Billson’s latest novel The Half Man and you’ll be right there.” (R. T. Brown)
“Pick up Anne’s THE HALF MAN – it’s an absolute ‘blast’!” (Stephen Laws)
“a witty, baudy, surreal, head trip of a book that mixes occultism and East End gangsters together with the kind of humour and great sense of character that Anne Billson shows in all her books… like a collaboration between Evil Dead 2 era Sam Raimi and surrealist Luis Bunuel… Billson is an author that I think more people need to discover. Her books are consistently funny, imaginative and entertaining.” (review by Olly C. at Sci-Fi & Scary. Read the rest of it here.)
You can download The Half Man from smashwords (in kindle, epub and PDF formats)
or in paperback or kindle formats from:
and all the other amazons.