Ray Cluley is a horror/speculative fiction writer from Wales who has won a British Fantasy Award for Short Fiction (“Shark! Shark’) and has had both a novella (“Water For Drowning”) and a short story collection (Probably Monsters) short listed for major awards as well. He’s also had several of his stories appear in Best Of anthologies. Personally, I’ve always found his tales imaginative and compelling. Below are a list of all the stories by him I’ve read thus far and I definitely plan to read more in the future.
THE STORIES (Listed by publication date order)
1. “Travellers Stay” (2011) – In the midst of a long drive with his wife and stepson, Matt pulls off for the night at a rundown, cockroach-infested hotel called Travellers Stay. While there, he struggles to cope with their collective contentious relationship and laments the direction his life has taken. The rest stop proves a bizarrely transformative experience for each of them. This one captures the atmosphere of the grimy, roadside hotel well. You can listen to this one here for free: https://talestoterrify.com/episodes/tales-to-terrify-show-68-ray-cluley-john-everson/
2. “Whispers in the Mist” (2013) – A man who’s struggling with the loss of his girlfriend travels to her hometown where local legend says you can hear the whispers of those who have died in the heavy mist that rises up from the moors. There’s a twist at the end of this sadness-tinged tale.
3. “Under the Windings of the Sea” (2014) – A father who’s separated from his wife takes his son to show him areas of Wales where he grew up. The father, who loves poetry, struggles to connect with the boy who’s sullen and completely fixated on video games. When they arrive at Aberdyfi, he tells him the legend of a sunken city there and the bell that can still be heard from it. This is a well-told, somber story of a father trying desperately to keep his family together.
4. “Housekeeping” (2015) – A recently hired hotel maid finds a note under the door from the occupant of a room she’s about to clean warning her he’s killed himself inside and that she should not enter, but will she follow this directive?
5. “Indian Giver” (2015) – Set in the American Old West, a whiter tells of how he and his men were attempting to clear some Native Americans from their homes and of the brutal turn it took and how it ended badly for both sides. This resulted in him and his men beingsubsequently haunted by a vengeful specter. This is an interesting, well-told story.
6. “In The Light of St. Ives” (2017) – Always reliable Emily breaks into her artist and free-spirit sister Claire’s apartment while she’s at the hospital being treated for burns. Emily is searching for clues as to what caused Claire to set fire to her own apartment while she was still in it. There seems to be something strange about the light in the place.
7. “The Whalers Song” (2018) – A crew of Norwegian whale hunters run into trouble at sea after catching one of their prey. They are forced to abandon ship in a life raft which eventually washes up on a wintery, forgotten island where they struggle to survive and stay sane amidst the ruins of some unknown previous island occupantsthey discover.
Ray’s Website: https://www.raycluley.com
Ray’s U.K. Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Books-Ray-Cluley/s?rh=n%3A266239%2Cp_27%3ARay+Cluley
Ray’s U.S. Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Ray-Cluley/e/B092DYXJT9%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share
Article by Matt Cowan