Thana Niveau is an American horror writer who lives in England with her husband John Llewellyn Probert who is also a prominent writer of horror fiction. Thana has had two short story collections receive nominations for a British Fantasy Award in From Hell to Eternity (2013) and Octoberland (2019). Her haunted house novel House of Frozen Screams was released in 2018 by Horrific Tales Publishing.
I became a fan of hers after reading her excellently short story “The Pier” and have since made a point of reading several more by her. Below is a brief look at them. I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite from these as I enjoyed them all a great deal.
1. “The Pier” (2010) – After the ordeal of spending a week with his in-laws, a man takes his wife to check out a dilapidated pier which is lined with old commemorative plaques. She finds the place creepy, but her husband loves its rustic beauty. As they move on, they start to notice strange, morbid messages etched onto the plaques, making it seem as though the dead are speaking directly to them. This is a fantastic, atmospheric tale.
2. “The Scouring” (2012) – Still grieving the loss of her husband, a woman takes their young son to the Cotswolds. The boy becomes fascinated by the Uffington Horse, an ancient engraving of a giant horse on a hillside that has been filled in with white chalk. The boy begins to draw pictures of it, some making it look like a monstrous creature. They learn from a local resident about a ritual called The Scouring which used to be held to satisfy a grim purpose. This is an excellent story with a great setting, well developed characters and a very eerie plot.
3. “The Face” (2014) – Harrie, short for her full name of Angharad, goes along with her two adventurous brothers to scale a frozen waterfall to take pictures of the majestic sight. Harrie, however, keeps seeing a giant spectral face behind the falls. She feels a deep sense of dread of which she tries to convince herself must be an optical illusion.
4. “Two Five Seven” (2015) – A young girl hears the voice of another girl coming from the radio at her grandfather’s house. The voice keeps reciting numbers and singing a cryptic song. Her grandfather says she must have tuned into a numbers station (a real and very mysterious occurrence), but when the voice begins to communicate more, it seems it’s trying to tell her something important.
5. “The Dawning of His Dreams” (2016) – This tells the origin tale of the monstrous entity known as Gla’aki (created by Horror Grandmaster Ramsey Campbell). Gla’aki dominates and controls a sad, alien world forcing the gaseous lifeforms that live there to worship him as he prepares to leave to head across the cosmos to Earth.
6. “Losing Its Identity” (2017) – An elderly woman whose memories are beginning to slip away refuses to abandon her house on a deteriorating coastline called Lost Moon in Cornwall, England, despite her daughter’s urging. It’s where she and her husband lived until his death and where his ashes were spread. She believes she still hears his voice speaking to her there. One evening, a powerful storm draws the water further away from shore than before, revealing a forgotten town which had been submerged for untold years. She walks through the old buildings that stand on the seabed. This is a well written, interesting tale.
7. “The Sixth Floor” (2017) – A woman finds a cheap place to stay called The Franklyn Hotel after she’s finally built up the courage to leave her husband. The place is rundown looking and seems to have little to no other occupants. To make matters worse, the elevator keeps stopping at the sixth floor and opening its doors to a damp-smelling, silent floor before continuing on to hers the next level up. This is another excellent, atmospheric tale by Niveau, which was written in homage to Ramsey Campbell.
8. “White Mare” (2018) – After being forced to move from her hometown in America to a remote village in England for a few months with her father, Heather struggles to be accepted by the locals. She and her father, who’s been raising her alone following the mysterious disappearance of her mother, are only going there for a few months to sell an old farmhouse full of antiques they inherited from a recently departed aunt. Heather’s misgivings about the move are swiftly eased once she discovers the place has a beautiful horse with which she instantly falls in love. When she asks around about Halloween, she is mocked by the local kids and is told that what they have is very different than what she’s used to, but that she’ll find out for herself soon enough. The arrival of Halloween night brings a terrifying horde to their door where a bizarre ritual takes place. This is another great story with a superbly eerie play-on-words involved which I don’t want to give away here.
Thana’s Website: http://thananiveau.com
Thana’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Thana-Niveau/e/B008YZ73LC%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share
House of Frozen Screams: https://www.amazon.com/House-Frozen-Screams-Thana-Niveau/dp/1910283215/ref=nodl_
Article by Matt Cowan