Manchester, the present. Michael divides his time between the job centre and the pub. A chance meeting with Lee, an introduction to her ‘Uncle’ Ian, and a heavy night on the lash lead to a job working the door at a Northern Quarter massage parlour.
After witnessing the violent death of one of the ‘punts’, Michael experiences blood-drenched flashbacks and feels himself being sucked into a twilight world that he doesn’t understand but that is irresistibly attractive. When he eventually finds out what goes on in the room below 7th Heaven, Michael’s life will never be the same again.
Think Bret Easton Ellis. On a writing break in the north of England. And all he packed was Fight Club and some early Stephen King novels. Stephen McGeagh’s powerful debut will stay with you for a long time.
‘A raw slice of urban menace as immediate as a dangerous night out on the town. In the vivid language of the streets it invokes the paranoid spirit of the city. It's as harsh and clear as neon, and it rings alarmingly true. Be warned – this is not comfortable fiction. Perhaps there's no escape.’ —Ramsey Campbell
‘The message, if there is one, seems to be that only those at the top and bottom of society’s food chain can abandon conventional morality, those who have nothing to gain by adhering to social mores or lose through abandoning them, though here, for Michael and the others, ultimately that doesn’t turn out to be the case. Not so much a horror story as misery memoir etched on human flesh and with blood red trim, this is a powerful first appearance from a young writer who will bear watching.’ —Peter Tennant
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