COMPETITION - Hell is Empty

Conrad Williams has a new Joel Sorrell novel out and to celebrate, thanks to Titan Books, we have a competition and an exclusive excerpt from Sonata of the Dead to share with you...

In DUST AND DESIRE, PI Joel Sorrell found himself on the trail of The Four-Year-Old, an extraordinary killer hell-bent on destruction.

In SONATA OF THE DEAD a photograph at the murder scene of a familiar face lead to an underground writers group with heavily mounting body count.

But throughout the course of his investigations – and hangovers – Sorrell has yet to find the one person he’s truly looking for: his daughter Sarah… Now an SOS from a childhood sweetheart sees him spring into action once again, but nothing about her or her problem seems to make any sense. Everything points towards an old enemy of Joel’s, who has risen to prominence while incarcerated. On the run and in fear for his life, Joel finds himself tangled in a web affecting both the present and the past, and most certainly the people closest to him.

With Joel’s life and the remnants of his family at stake, any chance of peace depends on the silencing of his nemesis once and for all. But an unexpected obstacle stands in his way…

Conrad Williams has written eight novels, four novellas and two short story collections. One won the
August Derleth award for Best Novel in 2010, while The Unblemished won the International Horror Guild Award for Best Novel in 2007 (he beat the shortlisted Stephen King on both occasions). He won the British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer in 1993, and another British Fantasy Award for Best Novella (The Scalding Rooms) in 2008. His work has also been shortlisted for the Shirley Jackson Award and the Crime Writers’ Association Daggers.

Thanks to Titan Books we have THREE COPIES of  the first book in the Joel Sorrell series by Conrad Williams, Dust and Desire, to give away in our new competition.

To enter all you have to do is TWEET US your answer at @Garbage_File using the hashtag #GFTitan or COMMENT on our Facebook post for the competition with the answer to this question:

What is the number of the A road mentioned in the excerpt below that is near Keswick?

The closing date for entries is Sunday 11th December 2016 at 11:59 pm GMT - see the small print at the bottom of the article.


To give you a taste of Conrad Williams' writing, we have been lucky enough to be given an exclusive excerpt from Book 2 in the series, Sonata of the Dead ...

I walked through Keswick in the direction of Windermere. Eventually I reached the edge of the town and headed away from houses and roads, walking a bridle path with the hill of Latrigg to my left. I crossed the A66 over a footbridge and veered left at a fork in the path, which would take me around Mallen Dodd. I’d walked these roads with my parents and, later, with flings and friends so many times that even though I hadn’t been back for years, I could follow the route without thinking.

I slipped through a gate and walked a fenced path alongside a plantation of Sitka spruce. Up ahead was a ridge called Saddleback. It started to rain, which gave me pause – I was wearing jeans and Converse and a light jumper over a thin-as-skin T-shirt – but I thought, Sod it, it’s April. I might get wet, but I won’t freeze to death.

I turned left and passed through a kissing gate into a field populated with sheep. They all watched me as I strode through the tall grass, the denim darkening with every step, past a stone cross and on to a gravel path leading towards Skiddaw mountain. Things got steeper, but that’s mountains for you. I felt my heart rattling in my chest like a brick in a tumble dryer. My breath came in huge whooshing noises and I was put in mind of the three sucking chest wounds I’d heard in my life, all of which sounded like small beer compared to this. After a while the incline eased off and I plodded gamely on, kind of enjoying it, kind of not, the rain increasing in intensity, my clothes increasing in weight, until I reached a row of cairns that led me to the summit ridge.

At the top I crouched and concentrated on levelling out my breathing. It wasn’t cold by any means, but I was shivering like a shitting poodle. Out of shape. Ten years away from heart attack country, if I wasn’t already there. I felt a shiv of fear stab me in the chest at the thought of suffering some sort of attack out here. I hadn’t told Mum where I was going. If she called 999 she’d tell the ambulance service to check all the pubs in the town before she thought of any of the walking routes.

But I calmed down, and the wind calmed too, even if the rain did not. I stared out at Helvellyn and, further afield, the Yorkshire Dales and the Forest of Bowland. On clear days you could see as far as the Mourne Mountains, and Goat Fell on Arran. But the sky was torrid, skeins of rain drifting down like barrage nets, and visibility was failing by the minute.

I turned to leave, and I heard the whistles and frenzied cries of an osprey – kareek, kareek – the sound it will make when its nest is under attack. I searched the sky and peered into the black ledge of trees further down the ridge but could see nothing wheeling. The sound was not changing in tone or consistency, either, which confused me until I skipped around a thin ledge of rock and saw the fish hawk snagged on a length of barbed wire.

It was a juvenile – that much I knew from the streaked feathers on its head – but I couldn’t tell its sex. It was clearly in distress. The blue cere at the bridge of the black bill was torn, and blood coated much of the plumage. It was trapped fast by the teeth of the metal; one of its wings was broken, the primaries drooping like long-fingered hands. I couldn’t tell how long it had been here, but the blood had dried, and the nictitating membrane across its eyes seemed dry too, or reluctant to peel back fully. Its golden brown irises fixed on me, and it flapped in extremis, trying to get away as I approached.

I didn’t know what I could do. I pulled out my penknife but the blades were blunt and it was adorned with nothing so grand as a pair of pliers. Even if I could have cut it free, there was no flying left in this poor beast. It was thin. It was dying. It didn’t try to attack me when I reached for it. The black talons dimpled my hands, nothing more; no strength to drive them into me.

I wrenched its neck and shut off the pathetic cry.

The Competition small print...

The prize is as stated and no alternative is available.
The competition is open to UK and US residents only.
Three winners will be chosen at random from all the correct answers after the closing date and contacted by /Garbage-file when they will be asked to provide a postal address by email which will be passed on to Titan Books for the prize to be sent out.
The Winners' names only will be announced on the /G-f website and social media once they have been contacted.
/Garbage-file and DreamCage Media Group accept no responsibility for the provision of the prize which will be supplied direct by Titan Books.
Please read our information privacy policy to see how your information will be used by /Garbage-file. We are not responsible for how your information is stored and used by Titan Books.

Image, Excerpt and Prizes - Titan Books