Now It’s Dark by Lynda E Rucker, intro Rob Shearman, cover John Coulthart; limited edition hardcover.
“A student’s research into an obscure pulp writer takes on increasingly sinister tones; three friends reunite to fight an evil they thought they’d escaped decades earlier; a woman in a seemingly perfect marriage finds herself haunted by the mysterious absences in her memories of their life together.
In her third collection, Lynda E. Rucker reminds us that mystery lurks even in the most banal settings—a British holiday park, a Moldovan tower block, a stretch of industrial wasteland—but as these ten stories reveal, there can also remain a dreadful beauty amidst the horror.”
Also: “Now It’s Dark is a collection of horror stories (or possibly “strange stories” à la Robert Aickman), and a very fine collection it is. I was given carte blanche with this one so the cover is a mood piece rather than anything directly illustrational. One of the stories concerns the god Pan, which tempted me at first to do something with a satyr-like face, possibly as an architectural feature like a mascaron. But focusing on a single story in this way usually makes me worry about giving that story too much attention if it hasn’t also provided the title of the collection. Thinking about mascarons and their positioning above arched doorways led to the design you see here, a gesture towards a minor trend in horror illustration that makes use of the Arcimboldo effect, as with my battered Shirley Jackson paperback. … My cover is a variation on a real place, the “House of Monsters” entrance of the Palazzo Zuccari in Rome which today houses the Bibliotheca Hertziana.”—Now It’s Dark