A short-story collaboration that ended up five hundred pages long, Escardy Gap was pure fun from start to finish. Pete and I set out to concoct an affectionate and respectful homage to Something Wicked This Way Comes, but, as the book evolved, we found we were creating something entirely different and altogether darker. The typical mid-Western small town of the title is visited by a train bearing the Company, a troupe of performers whose aims are, at first, as difficult to discern as their various talents. Over the course of a long (and unpleasant) weekend, the truth about the Company emerges – I’ll give you a clue, they’re not nice people – and it becomes clear to the residents of Escardy Gap that their town is under siege from within and that there is, apparently, no escape. At the same time, a framing story unfolds, featuring the author of a novel called Escardy Gap who finds, as his book takes shape, that the burdens and responsibilities of creatorship are much greater than he ever thought.

Big and bizarre and tongue-in-cheek and never going quite where you expect it to, Escardy Gap was the product of numerous long, long telephone conversations and the baton-passing technique of collaboration whereby each of us would leave the other a problem to clear up, resulting in twists and turns that neither of us could have predicted. The book was very well received – although critics compared it with King more than Bradbury, which just goes to prove how unread critics can be – and found its way on SFX’s reader-voted list of the top fifty SF/Fantasy novels of all time, ranked above such notoriously shabby fare as The Stars My Destination and I, Robot. This was as much of a surprise to its authors as anyone.

Amazon UK:


  • “In the tradition of Stephen King- Vivid descriptions and characterizations will attract King’s readers. Highly recommended” – Library Journal

  • “Steeped in Americana, stylishly written- Crowther and Lovegrove bring their townspeople vividly to life- Escardy Gap is a deeply eloquent book” – Locus

  • “The language is lyrical, fantastical, and uplifting; the characters honest and sympathetic; the plot compelling, well-paced, and with more than a few good twists- The authors take stereotyped ideas, characters and writing styles and breathe new and magnificent life into them” - Fangoria

  • “A feast for anyone who loves fantasy” - Ramsey Campbell

  • “A deliciously nasty treat” - Ian McDonald

  • “Exceptionally well done – for those who do like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they will like a whole lot” – Chris Gilmore, Interzone

  • “Witty, macabre and awe-inspiring” – Simon Clark, SFX

  • “This is a fine Dark Fantasy, dredging the depths of the psyche for ever more poignant ways to inflict pain and terror. I loved it” – Dave Howe, Starburst

  • “This is a novel of dark content and great originality, and – builds into a highly enjoyable urban horror that will surely please fans of psychological horror and urban fantasy alike” – Michael Rowley, The Alien Has Landed

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• Filed under Books • 01/04/1998 •