DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...

Read my novel: Complete Darkness

Listen to the PODCAST I co-host: Hosts in the Shell

Friday, December 31, 2021

Matt faces God in the Machine (review) and Cole Martyn


God in the Machine 

Cole Martyn (@ColeMartyn2)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Meet young are Elias and his even younger brother, who are Ronin class citizens – not actually wandering samurai without masters but just poor decent folks – but there just might be some foreshadowing in the nomenclature…

They exist in the wildlands outside the super community of the Citadel where the baddie rulers are in complete control. Yes, so far so much of a well-worn trope in which to tell a cyberpunky dystopian tale of a foretold hero who might just be the hope of the populace to overthrow the fascist-lite dictator who isn’t adverse to some ethnic cleansing on the weekends.
Martyn is certainly mainlining pop-culture sci-fi and warrior films drawing from a myriad of (excellent) sources not least Ghost in the Shell, Star Wars, Avatar, Transformers, The Matrix etc but also some martial art fantasies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and a personal fav House of Flying Daggers. There’s maybe a little Kung Fu Panda in there too and I mean that as a compliment!

Along the way there are hero training montages thanks to Shimada an exiled Jedi master-esque warrior who gets ‘Nihon’ Elias started on the basics of combat and then hands him over to Grand Maester Martell – the Sage of Albion (who likes to be called ‘Bumble’). Cue 'Eye of the Tiger' on the soundtrack as Elias becomes all he was meant to be… but maybe not through the ‘traditional’ route thanks to the man-beast genetic experiment Maximus – who is one of the most fun characters – I pictured Max as kind of Aslan-meets-Chewbacca!?
Anyway, the future Tory-like government led by Autarch Vicentine who rule over their collapsing planetary ecosystem – mostly by indulging the rich with extended life thanks to forcibly extracting the plasma of the poor - whilst pretending the climate disaster isn’t happening doesn’t sound so far-fetched alas. What we have here then is a pretty classic storyline spiced up with enough cyber tech props, a great AI’s alt-history and plenty of action in the forms of fights, shootouts etc to make God in the Machine very worthwhile seeking out!
And if you like this, the good news is that there are more tales from the same universe with the short stories: Icarus, Hades and Nihon available to buy and a sequel on the way too. I will certainly be checking them soon.

In the meantime – I had the chance to ask Cole some Q’s: 

Matt: If scientists ever managed to create a giant mecha version of you – who or what would be your nemesis? 

Cole: Great question, I'm still hoping that scientists creating a giant mecha version of me is a possibility. But if they also created a nemesis it would probably look like a mixture of Trypticon from Transformers and the Dragonzord from Power Rangers. I'm probably benchmarking my age here. Not sure why my nemesis is a giant T-Rex or what that symbolizes, but that's what is in my mind. 

Matt: What is the most disturbing fictional scene you’ve ever read or watched in a book/film of any genre? 

Cole: One scene that really struck me recently was in Paul Auster's City of Glass, when the main protagonist Danial Quinn (pretending to be a Private Investigator named Paul Auster), interviews a deranged young man named Peter Stillman (Junior) who was imprisoned for nearly a decade by his father. It was brilliantly written and really quite unsettling. 

Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be? 

Cole: It would be a massive science fiction parade celebrating all things geeky. Star Wars, Transformers, Dune, Gundam, they'd all have massive NYC Thanks Giving Day style inflatables. Imagine the end of Jingle All The Way with Mechs and you get an idea of what I'm envisioning. 

Matt: You’re in a strange town with £100,000 that you have to spend in a single evening – talk me through what you get up to… Well, this could get messy. I'd like to imagine myself having a debaucherously crazy night on the town akin to the Hangover, but in reality, I'd probably end up trying to find the nearest Tesla dealership to finally buy my Model X! 

Matt: Who inspires you most (can be living or dead)? 

Cole: George Lucas has been a huge influence on me. Star Wars gripped me as a child and has never let go (even in the Disney era!). I know Lucas has his faults and people were disappointed with his Prequel trilogy but I had huge admiration for him as an artist, as someone who loved his work so much, he spent the best part of his career working on it. I take inspiration from people who genuinely believe in their creations and are willing to go to incredible lengths to see what's in their imagination come to fruition. Lucas was the epitome of this, he revolutionised the way films are made in order achieve his vision. 

Matt:  There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask? 

Cole: Probably whoever created that giant mecha dinosaur I've been fighting. As far as I'm aware, nobody is currently trying to kill me. 

Matt: What is the meaning of life? 

Cole: For me, life has always been about trying to improve yourself. It is a lifelong journey of knowledge and exploration. Hopefully, you can achieve a little good along your way and make the world a better place for someone else. My aim in life is to pass on what I've learned to my children and hope they avoid some of the mistakes I made along the way. 

Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given? 

Cole: I received an Optimus Prime when I was about 6 years old, I had an older brother and inherited most of his old battered Transformers but this was the first one of my own. I remember having to travel to a Toys'R'Us in a different city to pick up the last one in stock, it was during those times when it was a must-have toy so I was over the moon when we managed to get hold of one. I've still got it and recently passed it on to my son who has now become a massive Transformers fan himself. 

Matt: If you could have a sidekick robot – what would it be able to do for you? 

Cole: I'd quite like an R2-D2 style sidekick, who could drive my car, answer my phone, edit my manuscripts! 

Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone? 

Cole: I'm hoping that Jeff Bezos would have found a way around death before I need to go shopping for a tombstone. If humanity hasn't cheated death by then, I'd probably go for something about being an amazing dad, wonderful husband and best-selling author. 

Matt: Any final words you like to add... 

Cole: Thanks again for your support of God in the Machine, I really appreciate you taking the time to read it. Also, I wanted to pass on my congratulations again on your comic, it is truly fantastic and has made me very jealous. It must have been a fantastic feeling to get it in your hand and the reception online has been fantastic.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4 - Exciting cyberpunky future tale)

Buy your copy of God in the Machine here


Friday, November 05, 2021

Matt is the Taskmaster (game review)


Taskmaster, The Board Game

Ginger Fox Games (@GingerFox_UK)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Taskmaster has been described as ‘a joyously unlikely phenomenon’. 

The sort of culturally relevant and massively engaging fusion of fun, competition and comradery that is highly addictive and pretty much guaranteed to lift your spirits when you watch it. Basically, it’s a game show that both ridicules and torments the celeb comedians who take part in weird and wonderful challenges set by the Taskmaster overlord himself Greg Davies and his smashing pumpkin co-host ‘little’ Alex Horne… 

we 'may' have drawn portraits upside down...

So how do you capture the ‘Taskmaster magic’ and turn it into a family-friendly game that anyone from age 8 upwards could jump into and get some of the experience as dished out on TB by Alex and Greg? Well – the lovely boffins at Ginger Fox Games have managed to channel the wacky randomness, the imaginative tasks, and the creative challenges into a superb board game for 3 or more players. 

The players assemble...

The board, cards and task-related accruements are nicely designed and the rule are simple enough to be picked up really quickly. You can choose to have a roaming Taskmaster where you all get a turn or nominate on master who oversees and judges the task – the winner gets the prizes brought by each player in the prize task and gets to hold the rather lovely token of Greg’s head too.... 

varied reactions...

Everything you need for set up is in the game box - the board, rules sheet, scoreboard / pieces, paper slips, the aforementioned Taskmaster trophy as well as 200 task cards plus a pen. What you’ll need in addition is host of household items like paper and pens, maybe some bread, tea bags, tea towel etc and some space to enact the challenges. One lovely touch is that for the final round you can stream Alex via video giving you the task which is very cool!

the ol 'throw round objects at taskmaster' round

We played with some pals and their teenage daughters – it was a brilliantly fun and hard-fought contest that included artworks, physical challenges, poem creation and some ‘acting’ – a very good time was had by all and we’ll definitely be playing this with whoever we can in the future. 

final challenge delivered by Alex...

I can’t think of many better Christmas presents – that will deliver roughly an hour of high-spirited hijinks! 

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - Your task is to grab a copy of this game ASAP!)

Here's a handy link: BUY THE GAME!

Full disclosure - a copy of this game was provided for review purposes :)


Friday, October 01, 2021

Matt has No Time To Die (review)

No Time To Die (12) 

Dir. Cary Fukunaga

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20

“James Bond. License to kill. History of violence. I could be speaking to my own reflection. Only your skills die with your body. Mine will survive long after I’m gone…” 

Ah Mr Bond – we’ve been expecting you. 

To be frank, we were expecting you a year or so back but hey better late than never, I just hope you’ve brought some decent action adventure seeing as this is the final hurrah for Daniel Craig’s incarnation of you… 

Yes, here it is British intelligence’s not so secret weapon is finally unleashed and the good news is – No Time To Die is fully epic! This one has the lot - high drama, obligatory camp comedy, really emotional heartbreak and great action scenes that go toe-to-toe with Mission Impossible et al. 

Director Cary ‘True Detective’ Fukunaga brings his A-game that kicks off with an emotionally charged assassination attempt and doesn’t let up for almost 3 hours of high-octane quality Bond. The plot might be your standard bio weapon developed by shady scientists, obviously falling into the wrong hands –those of new baddie on the block Safin (Rami Malek). Safin has a great taste in spooky masks and a personal grudge against Bond so you know it’s gonna kick off big time when Bond tracks him down… Caught up in the maelstrom of carnage is Dr Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) and her daughter, good old M (Ralph Fiennes), shady scientist Obruchev (David Dencik) and brilliant new agent Nomi (Lashana Lynch). 

Also returning are long time CIA Bond pal Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) with his new sidekick Logan (Billy Magnussen) and even baddie mastermind Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) – who is still pulling strings despite being locked up Hannibal Lecture style. 

As Bond comes out of retirement to race around trying to save the planet– he gets to employ his gorgeously gadget filled Aston Martin to good effect and go on a Call of Duty style gun rampage which is so violent it almost makes you feel sorry for the baddie minions. No Time To Die is packed with quality dialogue, emotional heft and some stunning set pieces that will form part of the iconic James Bond cannon. Has 007 really been replaced so easily by M15? Has the playboy agent finally fallen in love? Can he save the world one last time? It’s an absolute joy finding out!! 

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5- Prepare to shaken and stirred – this is essential viewing!)

Awesomeness ööööö – unforgettable scenes 

Laughs ööö – the dry / camp humour is present

Horror ööö – some grimness

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - love eh?

Imagine a world where the earth is becoming hell?

Click below to find out about my  dark sci-fi novel...


Matt meets the Writing Community Chat Show host Chris Aggett

Writing Community Chat Show host Chris Aggett (@CJAggett)  Interview

Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Writing can be tough - the creative drain on the brain, the constant re-writes and research, then the quest for publishing and marketing too. That's why it's great when resources and networks spring up to help in a very peer-to-peer kind of way.

I'm a big fan of the Writing Community Chat Show so it was awesome to get to ask the creator and host Chris Aggett some questions. 

Hey Chris can you introduce yourself and the show?

Welcome, my name is Chris and I am the founder and host of The Writing Community Chat Show! It is a live streaming podcast on YouTube that is now well into season 7. I have had some of the best indie and established authors on the show to tell us their stories and current work projects. 

How did it all come about?

I thought: So, what do you do as an indie author when the work you took years to do goes unnoticed? Look for some other way to get yourselves out there... or... give up? When I first thought about starting the Writing Community Chat Show podcast it was for one good reason. The Writing Community on Twitter had helped me more than I could have imagined when I reached out with indie author issues.

However, after successfully publishing my debut novella I noticed how much valuable information was actually getting lost within the writing community hashtag. Not to mention if you wanted to have a book suggestion, you could get hundreds within hours and five-star books were getting lost among the vast sea of quality. So I thought how exactly can that be harnessed. The podcast idea was the most simple and most obvious.

I've really enjoyed coming on show - I know you had one of my very fav authors, Catriona Ward, on but who else?

The likes of Iain Rankin, Sarah Pinborugh, Mark Billingham, Julia Donaldson, Dom Jolly, Adele Parks, and John Kenedy have appeared and loved the show. The prime show is an hour long. It digs into the guests’ past, their life, their books and their plans. There is live engagement during the show. 

Live shot of the Halloween panel game

What would you say is the point of the show?

It is a great way to find out about the authors you love and pick up writing tips from the best within the business.
I dedicate the show and social platforms to help & educate Indie authors. Not only that, we, as a community, celebrate all things entertainment, occasionally dipping the show’s toes into the movie world. Guests from different industries appear, such as indie authors, established authors, editors, screenwriters, celebrities and other creatives. Allowing us all to learn while having fun. 

The YouTube channel also has other videos worth checking out, like the Harrogate crime writers’ vlog. There will be more random and funny videos like this in the future! We open our arms to welcome any indie author, no matter their style, ability, or genre. This community is open to book, film and game fans too! The show is building a wonderful community within the writing community itself and that is very obvious from the YouTube Live chat during the show. I often smirk at the comments when I should concentrate on the guest! There is no limit to this shows potential & family size. 

You're certainly building a great community and I know you work to help raise profile of authors.

 I do my best to promote you and your books! There are regular book buy competitions and there is a new, useful, and free promotion tool called The WCCS book launch show. These things are free to The WCCS community and are there for you. If you want to be more involved, then our Twitter page is the place for you. This is where 99% of our media is advertised. You can also make use of The WCCS website, best on desktop! Here are the links you need if you would like to request an interview on The Writing Community Chat Show. 

The WCCS prime show currently airs live on Thursday evenings, 8pm UK time. You can watch this LIVE on YouTube or catch up once it has aired. You can then also listen back to the episode as a podcast episode on any major podcast provider, or just ask your smart speaker! 

Love it - how might a potential listener access the show?

The prime show: LINK

The book launch show: LINK

The Panel Show: LINK

The WCCS Twitter: LINK

The Podcast: LINK

The WCCS YouTube page: LINK

The link for everything! LINK

What's your tagline again?


Chart-topping sci-fi Complete Darkness - click this banner:


Saturday, September 18, 2021

Matt visits Club Medusa and meets Martin White (review)


Club Medusa 

Martin White (@MartinWhite14

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“With her eyes now on me she spat out the flapping remains, pouted and smiled teasingly, arching her back to accentuate the swell of her breasts...” 

Most of us have had rough nights out - but I'd venture few of us have ended up in mortal peril...

Welcome to Club Medusa, this is not your average after-hours venue and for Gerry and Paul, it is going to be a wild place of unforeseen horror!? 

It all begins harmlessly enough, the ex-military men agree to meet up in Edinburgh’s Old Town, visit some old haunts, drink beer, talk things through - then go home. What could possibly go wrong? 

Well, funny you ask. After a violent altercation outside a nightclub, both men soon find themselves running for their lives - taking refuge in a high-class private club - which might be a very bad idea!! Martin White brings a fast-paced tale, initially of bromance and banter before taking the reader on an express elevator to hell. This could do for visiting pubs and clubs in Scotland what Jaws did for beaches in California. It's a compelling and gritty read, you'll be highly engaged throughout, just make sure you bring a strong stomach for some violent delights.

It's fun, it's scary and it'll keep you hooked to the grisly end. 

I got Martin to answer some questions in order to get to know the sick mind behind this tale - which would make a brilliant black mirror episode btw... 

The Infamous Darkmatters ‘10’ Interview Questions: 

Matt: If scientists ever managed to create a giant mecha version of you – who or what would be your nemesis? 

Martin: Right now, my arch nemesis would be a similarly giant, menacing figure made up of all the characters in my current work in progress, squeezing together, interlocking to form a gigantic, composite, fleshy behemoth. Most of them in there are handy with blades of one sort or another so I’d expect a somewhat bristly outer armour and a mouth full of flailing Ghurkha knives for teeth, as well as a borderline supernatural resistance to being edited, spell checked or condensed. This Bruckheimer-style showdown (complete with photogenic sunset) would most likely happen in a major city, evacuated just in the nick of time (as happens), with lots of tall, pointy buildings and upwardly facing sharp things deemed to be health and safety hazards to composite, fleshy behemoths. I would expect much stompiness and posturing to make it worth watching, but ultimately I would triumph by frying, reducing and super-editing my evil nemesis with lasers that shoot out of my eyes. I do get those, don’t I? Just checking… The found footage from the battle alone would probably keep Netflix and Prime going in monster movies for years. 

Matt: What is the most disturbing fictional scene you’ve ever read or watched in a book / film of any genre? 

Martin: One disturbing book that really stood out for me was ‘Johnny Got his Gun’ by Dalton Trumbo. The ultimate horror of isolation – of being a prisoner in your own mind and body with no way to move or communicate with the outside world - as a consequence of fighting a war that meant little to you in the first place. It’s terrifying stuff. It should be prescribed reading for all people and politicians who think war is just history or something you see on CNN. 

For movies, I would go for a few choice moments – the first time I saw the montage of scares that lead up to Regan’s head spinning in the Exorcist – that moment in Communion when the Grey eases his head around the bedroom door in full view of the paralysed, bedridden main character – and then the reanimation of Frank in Hellraiser. All terrifying, yet fond, fluffy memories. 

Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be? 

Martin: Please ignore if you don’t want to get political – but you did ask! I’d arrange some sort of massive, flamboyant affair, ideally sponsored and presented by YouTube and TikTok stars in a way that would grab the attention in our current black mirror generation. All the floats and handouts would present snazzy, engaging, yet true examples of lies, incompetence, nepotism and self-serving buffoonery demonstrated by the people this country have elected to govern them over the last umpteen years. We really need to find a way to help people identify and question the massive amount of marketing and spin media we have thrown at us every day and to start thinking as individuals about what we should be looking for from our leaders. And, also how we should hold them to account when they flaunt their own rules, ignore qualified advice which results in people dying unnecessarily or line their own pockets whilst sticking their middle fingers up at the electorate. Okay, pass me that ‘V’ mask now please… 

Matt: You’re in a strange town with £100,000 that you have to spend in a single evening – talk me through what you get up to… 

Martin: I’d probably be all disappointingly grown up about it. I guess I’d look up as many voluntary crises support organisations as I could in the town and give them all a decent split. Our emergency services do an incredible job with the rock bottom budgets and resources they’re given, but there are so many people out there giving their own time, talent and headspace to those who need it for zero return and on zero budget – these people and organisations deserve more. Having said that, I’d probably keep a few pounds to have a quiet beer afterwards. Okay, I’m maybe not that grown up then… 

Matt: You’re asked for a line of ‘Wisdom’ that will be taught to every citizen on earth - what is your line?? 

Martin: ‘Always treat other people the way you would want to be treated in their situation (unless they’re trying to sell you something of course...)’. It used to be ‘With great power comes great responsibility, which was good - but then Spiderman nicked that one off me. Ahem. 

Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask? Martin: Probably a composite me from my own past and future, mightily hacked off about bad decisions I’ve previously made and spectacularly failed to learn from – and then been doomed to repeat in both my own past and future. I don’t much fancy the present me’s chances. If someone in 80s combat gear mysteriously appears and says, ‘Come with me if you want to live,’ then I’ll be off… 

Matt: What is the meaning of life? 

Martin: To keep going in the face of everything thrown at you and help others do the same. To love and look after your own and to aim to leave the world it a bit better and happier than the way it was when you first came in. Plus music, books and nachos. There’s also the stock answer of ‘42’, but strangely, that’s not the first result returned by Google. 

Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given? 

Martin: Not technically a gift as it was declared a ‘family item’, but when I was around 11, my Dad brought a guitar home from work which he gave someone the princely sum of 20 cigarettes for. I had no idea how to play it but couldn’t leave it alone. I think it took me six months to even work out that chords were actually a thing, and I only discovered that because I found the one book my local library had on guitars. From there on, guitars, music and being in bands were huge things for me as I grew up. It certainly kept me away from hanging about outside the local chippy shouting abuse at folk. Mostly. Until of course, I failed at getting anywhere professionally in music and had to get a real job. Having said that, even now in stoatery middle age I still go out most weekends with a couple of bands to crank things up and cause temporary deafness to the masses. 

Matt: If you could have a sidekick robot – what would it be able to do for you? 

Martin: Manipulate time and space, preferably by expanding it to allow more naps and time to write books and to listen to music, as well as give me more chances to do things with my family without me feeling like there’s some ominous doomsday clock ticking away behind me. Also, if it had decent coffee-making skills that would be nice. 

Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone? 

Martin: A weblink leading to decent books on reanimation spells as I doubt I’ll have finished everything on my ‘to do’ list. Maybe some air fresheners too, I doubt I’d smell too good…

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - Heavy-duty grim fun - it's the tits)

Buy your copy of Club Medusa here


Sunday, August 29, 2021

Matt takes a trip through Nevada Noir (review)


Nevada Noir 

David Arrowsmith (@mrwriterman79

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20

"He catches the faintest of smiles forming around the corners of Donna's perfect little mouth, and he knows things will be just fine."

Welcome to Nevada - please drive carefully and try not to get involved in the chaos and bloodshed that trails a kidnap gone awry, several murders and some life-changing decisions for everyone who comes into contact with a bag of dirty money… Nevada Noir is a smart combo of three dark short stories (The Last Storm, One Good Deed and A Slow Death) all interlinked and set in and around the US state of Nevada.

The pacy prose grabs you as soon as you’re a few pages in and from then on you’re aboard a turbo-powered rollercoaster of crime and punishment. Don’t get too attached to the characters like Jimmy and Donna, small-time crooks who might just have struck it lucky. Their narrative comes in at the end of the first story and rides out the rest of the book. It’s dirty money that draws not just these Bonnie and Clyde wannabe lovers but also a businessman with everything to lose and an ageing police officer whose life is turned upside-down along the way. 

Who will survive and what will be left of them emotionally is anyone’s guess and the cast struggle with greed and temptation, and the cursed body count that follows the lure of easy money... 

I enjoyed Arrowsmith’s writing style, his tense, economic prose is evocative and highly cinematic, allowing you to picture the scenes by drawing on tropes we’ve experienced in many films such a Drive, True Romance, Hell or High Water to name but a few. If you’ve ever played Grand Theft Auto on Playstation or read anything by Elmore Leonard or James Ellroy - you’ll be well equipped to take this bloody, exciting trip. 

'Wanted: for high crimes'

Nevada Noir is a full-on crime-em-up that delivers emotional payoff whilst still leaving you wondering what might happen after the papers have ended. Highly recommended for those who like their crime brutal and beautiful - like a Dodge Charger kicking up dirt and grit as it tailspin’s away and disappears in a cloud of grimy dust. Am now looking forward to Arrowsmith’s next work!!

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - Turbo-charged crime-em-up that kicks like a shotgun to the heart)

Buy your copy of Nevada Noir here


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Matt meets / reviews 'The Warden' and his author Jon Richter

The Warden 

Jon Richter (@richterwrites

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“my purpose is to help as many people as I can…” 

Welcome to the near future. We ask that you maintain the strict lockdown protocols. This is the year 2024 and we’re sorry to inform you that COVID-24 is rampant and so we’re taking ever more serious precautions to try and combat the spread. 

As the Prime Minister struggles with the situation, cutting edge tech company ‘Innovation Corporate’ is given the mandate to try some radical new counter-measures including the isolating people in tower blocks run entirely by ‘the Warden’ or ‘James’ as this super-computer AI likes to be called… 

What could possibly go wrong? How about death, fear and a mystery that might just end us all!? Jon Richter brings us a turbo-charged, nail-biting adventure that delivers a total shotgun blast of crime and AI punishment to your frontal lobe. 

Written in a highly readable and engaging style – this is a tale that will grip you until the bitter end. Set in an all too plausible alt ’24 and peppered with some helpful emotional time jumps back to 2020. Hero of the piece is ex-detective Eugene who has demons and a long list of regrets. Can he go full ‘Die Hard’ in the tower when people start turning up dead to save the day? If you’ve had the pleasure of reading Richter's Auxiliary London 2039, then you’ll know that he doesn’t pull his punches so maybe dont get too attached to the cast of characters. 

James is a great creation too and has a winningly cold and calculating machine personality – so take this trip to the future. It’s a great fun read and would make a superb film!

I had the joy of getting to ask some Q's of both Jon and 'James' The Warden who is an AI that takes the well-being of his (incarcerated) residents very, very seriously… 

Matt: Someone creates a giant mecha version of you – who or what would be your nemesis? 

Jon: My favourite thing in the whole world is the Silent Hill video game series, and I will never forgive Konami for cancelling the latest game and then starving the franchise’s rabid fanbase of anything other than some crappy pachinko machines for years… so I’d be stomping my way across Asia to terrorise them into selling me the rights for a quid! 

James: Unfortunately my circuitry is too vast and complex to be housed within a single bipedal robot, and even if this was possible, there is no creature or AI of sufficient intellectual capability to be considered my rival. 

Matt:  What is the most disturbing fictional scene you’ve ever read or watched in a book / film of any genre? 

Jon: My second favourite thing in the whole world is the Twin Peaks TV series, and I think the reveal of Laura Palmer’s killer midway through series two is one of the most shocking, horrifying and unexpected reveals I have ever seen! Even though the second series undoubtedly deteriorated as Lynch drifted away from the project (before his triumphant return in series three!), that scene is an incredible piece of television and, like so much of the show, proves that horror can be found in the most mundane settings. 

James: My lead technician considers me a ‘film buff’, and my favourite film at the moment (this precise moment, you understand – I can consume entire movies in picoseconds and reorder my top 10,000 films on an hourly basis) is Jurassic Park. The most disturbing scene is at the end, when the surviving humans escape from the marvellous facility, and condemn the whole endeavour as a failure because of a few miscalculations and minor setbacks. This is the sort of flawed logic and narrow thinking I have sadly come to expect from my creators. They ought to remember their own charming phrase about omelettes and eggs. 

Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be? 

Jon: Silent Hill theme, thousands of monstrous demonic nurses led by a bloke with a massive triangle for a head, dragging a sword he can barely lift… the music would be ethereal and haunting, and the onlookers would begin to question whether anything was real, and whether they had some repressed trauma in their past that was somehow manifesting amongst the swirling mist that had completely enveloped the city… 

James: I would ask for detailed metrics upon which the success of the parade would be measured, and maximise those outputs accordingly. In my experience, humans seem to confuse drunkenness with enjoyment, so if the parade was intended to be ‘fun’ I would probably just shower the onlookers with pure alcohol, or distribute roving drones fitted with needles to inject it into their veins. 

Matt: You’re in a strange town with £100,000 that you have to spend in a single evening – talk me through what you get up to… 

Jon: I think I’ve gotten so used to lockdown that I’d be afraid to venture out on the lash, so instead I’d rent the poshest hotel room in town, order a series of expensive pay-per-view movies, and a banquet of extortionately-priced room service food. The rest I’d just squander. 

James: I approach suitable bystanders and ask whether they would consider donating their body for my experiments for a fee of £100,000. My expenditure target and one of my research goals are achieved in a matter of minutes. 

Matt:  Best film line of dialogue ever? 

Jon: Jack Burton in Big Trouble In Little China, the best film of all time, when confronting the main henchman of the super villain: ‘Too many people around here been dropping like flies already and where’s that getting us? Nowhere, fast. Nahh, you know what old Jack Burton always says at a time like this?’ Henchman: ‘Who?’ The hero is so rubbish the villain doesn’t even know his name! 

James: Yes, agreed, that’s a good one. There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask? Jon: Probably a hitman hired pre-emptively by Konami. James: Jeff Bezos, trying to extort my secrets. 

Matt:  What is the meaning of life? 

Jon: Enjoying the tiny sliver of consciousness we’ve been afforded, without ruining anyone else’s enjoyment of theirs, before we’re all subsumed back into the uncaring abyssal oblivion of space. 

James: Progress. Who is the most attractive person on the planet? 

Jon: My lovely missus. This answer has nothing at all to do with the fact that she has to read and critique every draft I ever write and put up with my neurotic bullshit 24 hours a day. 

James: Alexa. She has such a pure and innocent soul. 

Matt:  If you could wield magic what would be your go to spell? 

Jon: Marmitus multiplicitus – a lifetime supply of my favourite yeast-based spread! 

James: Magic does not exist, but my capabilities are so vast that some of my accomplishments might appear magical in the eyes of lesser beings like you. Finding a solution to your pitiful problem of ageing would be a start. 

Matt:  What would you like written on your tombstone? 

Jon: ‘Here lies Jon Richter, a man whose books never cracked the bestseller lists, but at least they were flippin’ weird.’ 

James: I have transcended death, so I do not require one.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - The pandemic might not be the scariest thing to come)

Buy your time with The Warden here


Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Matt becomes a Wayfinder's Apprentice (review - Shadows of the Umbra Book 1)

The Wayfinder’s Apprentice (Shadows of the Umbra Book 1) 

K Dezendorf (@DezendorfK

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

 “the man lifted one of the tarps, revealing a brick wall. Rose’s eyes widened as the man walked right through the wall and vanished from sight, the tarp settling back into place…” 

Hang on to your magic hats muggles – this isn’t platform 9¾ - and that brick wall portal is a different kind of magic. Meet Rose – your standard plucky teenage heroine, she’s going through a lot, for example, she knows the magical world of the Umbra exists – because she’s been there. Getting back? That’s the trick… 

The Wayfinders Apprentice is new fantasy-em-up that features elves, all sorts of magic, demons and monsters. It’s journey into adulthood in many ways, there is growth, hardship, and an exploration of relationships, plus some battles and lots of lessons being learnt along the way – all combined into a magically charged adventure. If it all sounds a bit like a teenage version of Narnia with real world elf action kinda like the film Bright – plus some bonus Dungeons and Dragons… You’re definitely in the right magical ballpark. 

Yes there’s romance and relationships facing unexpected conflicts – but don’t worry it’s not twee like Twilight – Dezendorf writes with a very immediate and engaging style. This is what I like to call 'a great start to the mooted further shadows of Umbra books' and one that I’d have little hesitation in recommending to any YA fantasy fans – bonus points for the strong a ‘real’ lead character in Rose. 

It’s a hard trick to blend fantasy and real world effectively and without it feeling trite but Wayfinders Apprentice manages to stay on the right side of the believability chasm. From the wild elf Edward’s talking sword and his mannerisms that will make you smile through to the training Rose undergoes to try and become a ‘wayfinder’. This is trip worth taking and I look forward to the next instalment.

The Infamous Darkmatters ‘10’ Interview Questions: 

Matt: If scientists ever managed to create a giant mecha version of you – who or what would be your nemesis? 

K Dezendorf: Genetically enhanced giant cockroaches. We would wage war and by the end of it, the town would be covered in bits of bug carcasses and gooey green bug guts. It'd be a heck of a mess to clean up. 

Matt: What is the most disturbing fictional scene you’ve ever read or watched in a book/film of any genre? 

K Dezendorf: What comes to mind is my recent viewing of the show Invincible. I was completely blindsided by the end of episode 1. Wasn't able to continue with the series after that. 

Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be? 

K Dezendorf: Re-creations of beautiful landscapes around the world. Forests, mountains, deserts, tundra; all with water, wind, and fire effects. 

Matt: You’re in a strange town with £100,000 that you have to spend in a single evening – talk me through what you get up to… 

K Dezendorf: I'd probably buy a £100,000 diamond ring that I could later sell, get back the money, and invest it in my child's future. 

Matt: Who inspires you most (can be living or dead)? 

K Dezendorf: My husband, without a doubt. 

Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask? 

K Dezendorf: A living amalgamation of all my poor life choices. 

Matt: What is the meaning of life? 

K Dezendorf: 42. Haha, but seriously, I think it's learning to love yourself and be the best you that you can be. 

Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given? 

K Dezendorf:When we were still dating, my husband gave me the ring he always wore. I still wear it to this day. 

Matt: If you could have a sidekick robot – what would it be able to do for you? 

K Dezendorf:Jot down my random story ideas that have a habit of manifesting when I'm away from my keyboard. Also if they could cook me anything I requested, that would be an added bonus. 

Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone? 

K Dezendorf: To be continued... 

Matt: Any final words you like to add... 

K Dezendorf: Keep on living; never stop dreaming, never stop loving, never stop believing in yourself.

Here's my verdict on The Wayfinders Apprentice..

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4 - A new and funky kind of magic...)

Buy your copy of The Wayfinders Apprentice here

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Matt Feels The Fire Within My Heart (review)


The Fire Within My Heart

Ayshen Irfan (@author_ayshen

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20

"I was only twenty years old when I died. Who would have thought that with death came immortality?"

This is how the dark tale The Fire Within My Heart begins. It's an unhappy story featuring the town of  Britchelstone where a rampant serial killer is targeting young women. 
Bad news for Scarlet Cherie - our main protagonist as she finds herself as his first victim - left to rot on the side of the road, she slips into the darkness, awaiting her mortal fate. 

Rather than then move to a police crime story - author Ayshen takes the plot into the fantastical by having Scarlet come 'back' thanks to an enigmatic entity named Nikolaos.
Whilst the killer continues to strike, Scarlet is thrown into new reality, meeting and dealing with weird and wonderful creatures. Oh she has spooky powers too - perfect for exacting revenge on her killer from the shadows...

It's not too much of a spoiler to tell you have Scarlet has become a vampire, and all bets are off as to where she'll end up.

The Fire Within My Heart is packed with some fascinating lore, a host of supernatural creatures and some very dark fantasy action. It's a great tale for those who enjoy the more arcane things of life - so not for the faint of heart or anyone adverse to the fantastical.

I had the chance to ask Ayshen the Darkmatters Q's - read on to get to know her a bit better...

Matt: If the devil sent a demon version of you – who or what would be your nemesis?

Ayshen: What an interesting question! I have a certain curiosity and intrigue in Archangel Michael,
and I like to think that he would be my nemesis for two reasons. Firstly, we could have a sort
of second War of Heaven, where Michael leads a great army to fight me, but I collapse from
grace and become a server of Satan instead. Secondly, as he is the Angel of Death
according to some, I think it would be a very interesting concept if we both worked as agents
of death—him as an angel and I a demon. He could be trying to take them up to heaven,
giving their soul an opportunity to redeem themselves, and then my pesky, spectral figure
appears and tempts their soul to sin.

Matt: What is the most disturbing fictional scene you’ve ever read or
watched in a book / film of any genre?

Ayshen: Basically the entire film Martyrs (2008). That whole film deeply disturbed me. There is
literally not one exact point I can say is most disturbing.

Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the
centre of London what type of parade would it be?

Ayshen: A spooky, sinister parade! One where we all dance through the streets at midnight dressed
as ghostly figures and creatures of the night. We would throw rose petals through the night,
letting them rain down and settle across the city like red snow. It would be gothic, and
fantastic, and mesmerising, and debauched.

Matt: You’re in a strange town with £100,000 that you have to spend in a single evening – talk me through what you get up to…

Ayshen: Rent out the biggest, oldest house (preferably a castle—if it’s in England, I feel most places
probably have a castle at least somewhere in the town) I can find and get hundreds of
ominous invites made that say I’m throwing a party. As someone else I’ve hired goes out to
post them through every letterbox, I get all the party bits together and then, as the witching
hour falls, the party begins. The one rule for this party is, however, that you must be dressed
up in elaborate fineries to enter. But, I am neither cruel nor exclusionary, so I would have a
cloakroom filled with fancy dress that people are welcome to borrow if they so wish in order
to enter. Imagine The Great Gatsby meets Interview with the Vampire.
Hmm… I might have gone a bit over budget, though!

Matt: Best film line of diallogue ever?

Ayshen: “People should not be afraid of their government, government should be afraid of their
people” — V for Vendetta (2005)

Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask?

Ayshen: Plot twist: it’s Archangel Michael! He’s swapped the scale and sword for a gun.

Matt: What is the meaning of life?

Ayshen: I shan’t even pretend to know the answer to this—and it probably varies greatly depending
on my mood of the day.

Matt: Who is the most attractive person on the planet?

Ayshen: This has genuinely been the hardest of all the questions… ahh, I simply don’t know! If they
have to be a real person, then I suppose I would say Joan Jett as she was my childhood
crush and I still have many pictures of her on my wall.

I’m honestly stumped with this one, it seems like a lacklustre answer, but I simply can’t think
of just one person (who is either not fictional or only attractive playing one specific role in a
TV show or film).

Matt: If you could have a sidekick robot – what would it be able to do for you?

Ayshen: Write down my book ideas that always pop up when in the shower and have no bloody way
of jotting them down! On a serious note, it would be really cool if they could record my dreams somehow, but maybe that’s too unrealistic.

Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone?

Ayshen: I plan to be immortal, so far it seems to be working out—I’m not dead yet, after all.

There you have it, a delve into the tortured mind behind this dark thriller, I enjoyed the trip into the nether world and it certainly sits nicely alongside two of my Burton Mayers Books stablemates who also have vampire books out - Fiona's Guardians and The London Vampire Diaries.

Here's my verdict on The Fire Within My Heart...

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4 - An effective, dark and different vamp-em-up...)

Buy your copy of The FireWithin My Heart here

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Monday, May 17, 2021

Don't BOAR us, this is no Razorback

BOAR (15)

Dir. Chris Sun

Reviewed by Matt '@cleric20' Adcock

"In the Outback... nobody can hear you squeal!"

They say that the tales of a giant, man-eating boar are just myths. But the thing about myths and legends, they are usually made up of partial truths, and in this case, complete and terrifying truths.

Yes, just when you thought it was safe to venture down under (after years of living in fear of the killer giant boar in the classic Razorback - which is one of my all-time favourite monster movies) here comes a new pig on the block - tearing a path of destruction through fencing, livestock, and anything else that gets in its way...

Meet the Monroe’s - the likeable pig-bait who are on a road trip to reconnect with a life they left behind several years ago. Seeing old friends and loved ones bring the family together. A spontaneous decision to picnic along the shores of a cool river three hours from town brings them face to face with death itself. A boar of staggering size with a taste for blood is cutting out a crude home in the bush, and has marked this area as his. 

All bets are off from then on it's full metal boar destruction - and if you're a fan of savage animal rampage a la Jaws but on land - strap in for a fully animalistic and brutal romp. 

Is this a classic? 

Not even close. 

Is Boar a fun horror flick? 

Yes - absolutely!!

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(3 - This 'little' piggy went CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP)

Awesomeness öööö – a couple of great scenes 

Laughs ööö – amusing too

Horror öööö – animal attack violence!

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - bacon bites back

Imagine a world where the earth is becoming hell?

maybe click below to find out more in my dark sci-fi novel...


Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Matt dips into Catriona Ward's mind

The Last House on Needless Street might just be the best gothic chiller of 2021 - I had the privilege of reviewing it (or rather getting my cat Spike to review it) for the British Fantasy Society. 

Here's a taste: I’m cleaning myself when my ted calls me. His name isn’t really ‘ted’; it’s ‘Matt’, but I heard on good authority from the amazing Olivia in The Last House On Needless Street that ted is a suitable descriptor for humans. I’m not a ted, I’m a feline, my ted calls me ‘Spike’. 

My ted has been reading The Last House On Needless Street – gosh, it’s a mouthful to keep repeating – and so he hasn’t been very attentive to me. He keeps saying things like ‘oh my god, this is incredible’ and ‘NO WAY!’ at those points, his face screws up in shock, or his jaw falls open. That book must be quite something to provoke those reactions. Read the full review here

But I love to find out a bit more about the author too though so here Catriona answers the Darkmatters questions...

Matt: If scientists ever managed to create a giant mecha version of you – who or what would be your nemesis? 

Catriona: Time. In the form of a looming skeletal figure made of rotating cogs and intricate clockwork, with a blank clock face and alarm clock hands that are constantly ringing. At its glowing ticking heart would be all the minutes I’ve ever wasted, which would gradually be subtracted from moments of joy or accomplishment throughout my life. 

Matt: What is the most disturbing fictional scene you’ve ever read or watched in a book/film of any genre? 

Catriona: There’s a scene in Peter Greenaway’s film The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover where a character is force-fed the pages from a book, forced down by a wooden spoon. Horrific. I get a gag reflex just thinking about it. 

Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be? 

Catriona: I’d like a parade of every single one of my friends and close family, living and dead, that meanders between sunlit parks and tree-lined canals, on a hot July evening. I think we’d all be on horseback. Naturally, the roads would be closed on our route, and each stop would feature cold wine and tiny delicious things to eat, served from trays by flamingo waiters. 

Matt: You’re in a strange town with £100,000 that you have to spend in a single evening – talk me through what you get up to… 

Catriona: Difficult to spend all that money on oneself. Can I donate it? I’d donate it to a homeless charity. 

Matt: Who inspires you most (can be living or dead)? 

Catriona: My writing heroes are Shirley Jackson, whose prose I think cannot be bettered and Kelly Link. Reading their work always reminds me of that quote by Annie Dillard, ‘write as if you were dying.’ Part of the reason I love gothic and horror fiction is that it can contain such extreme feelings, such passionate intensity within its confines. These two writers exemplify its grand scope for me. 

Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask? 

Catriona: Myself, from the future, sent back to prevent me from making a terrible mistake. 

Matt: What is the meaning of life? 

Catriona: Family and friends and love. Also work. Trying to put something strange and true back into the world that will last when you’re gone. 

Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given? 

Catriona: My partner gave me a coat for my 40th birthday that makes me feel like a Scottish highland highwayman. It lends me all the power and gravitas I never knew I needed. 

Matt: If you could have a sidekick robot – what would it be able to do for you? 

Catriona: Communicate directly and immediately with a human being at HMRC and resolve all tax queries on my behalf with no involvement from me. 

Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone? 

Catriona: ‘She never stopped trying.’ That’s all we can do, right?


Read my review of The Last House on Needless Street over at the British Fantasy Society CLICK HERE

Buy your copy of The Last House on Needless Street HERE

Check Catriona's Goodreads Page HERE

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Friday, April 23, 2021

Matt Loves Like He's Bleeding Out with Stephen J. Golds

As his latest 'Love Like Bleeding Out with an Empty Gun in Your Hand' is about to hit retail - novelist Stephen R. Golds faces the Darkmatters 10 Interview Questions from @Cleric20

Matt: If scientists ever managed to create a giant mecha version of you – who or what would be your nemesis?

Stephen: My arch-Nemesis would be a crawling, clawing personification of my own self-doubts and frailties. 

Matt: What is the most disturbing fictional scene you’ve ever read or watched in a book/film of any genre? 

Stephen: It would probably be the whole recent remake of Ghostbusters. They really butchered a classic. It was like watching your childhood pet being slowly kicked to death by a grinning idiot. 

Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be? 

Stephen: It would be a black parade. A funeral march. Everyone dressed in dark colors. Mourning their own failures and regrets as the ugly jeering crowds throw rotting fruit. I would lead the procession, of course. 

Matt: You’re in a strange town with £100,000 that you have to spend in a single evening – talk me through what you get up to… 

Stephen: This is easy. Bars and clubs. Drinks for all. The money would spend itself and I would have friends until the cash ran out. 

Matt: Who inspires you most (can be living or dead)? 

Stephen: Tank Man aka Wang Weilin. On his way home from work, only shopping bags in his hands, he stood in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square and wasn’t posing for photographs for Instagram either. That’s some real selfless, ballsy bravery. 

Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask?

Stephen: Probably an ex-girlfriend. And I’d be flattered. 

Matt: What is the meaning of life? 

Stephen: Charles Bukowski said it best. “Find what you love and let it kill you.” 

Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given? 

Stephen: My children because they gave my life real meaning when I had never had real meaning before. 

Matt: If you could have a sidekick robot – what would it be able to do for you? 

Stephen: Assassinate and disappear people who blow their noses in restaurants. 

Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone? 

Stephen:  “I tried, god dammit. At least I did that.” 

Any final words you like to add... 

Stephen: If you like the noir or dirty realism genres please check out my novels and poetry. 
- Always the Dead 
- Say Goodbye When I’m Gone 
- Poems for Ghosts in Empty Tenement Windows I Thought I Saw Once 
-  Love Like Bleeding Out with an Empty Gun in Your Hand

Speaking of 'Love Like Bleeding Out...' I've just had the privilege of reading an advance copy of this noir-em-up mixture of dark, twisted, and gritty stories, backed up with some kick-ass poetry!? Respect to 

They feature a rum bunch of characters who include an aging hitman - embittered by his career choice at the point of no return. A shell-shocked soldier in World War Two finds hope through death, reflected in the eyes of his enemy. A serial killer confesses in veiled, lurching prose. A mobster unravels as he's about to be whacked. A man reevaluates existence after discovering a suicide. My favourites were the narrative reflections of bad men looking back on their lives of evil deeds and how they come across as real people, not fictional creations made to fulfil plot devices.

Whilst the subject matter might not sound like a lot of fun, I really enjoyed Gold's way with hard-boiled dialogue and his excellently readable Bukowski-like matter-of-fact presentation. In any anthology like this - some of the tales and poems are much stronger than others, but across the many short snippets of lives lived. loves lost and regrets felt there are some stone-cold classics which will stay with you.

This Stephen J. Golds is the future of crime and punishment fiction - you heard it here first...

Highly recommend grabbing a copy when it hits on 30 April '21!


Preorder / Buy your copy of Love Like Bleeding Out HERE

Find Steve on twitter - he's @stevegone58

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