I first discovered the writing of Reggie Oliver back in 2013 after stumbling across a copy of his most recent short story collection which was curiously titled The Complete Symphonies Of Adolf Hitler. I finished the book in just two sittings and was completely gripped by the general air of unease and oddness of the stories contained within the volume. Here at last was a worthy successor to the late, great Robert Aickman as an author of classic English strange fiction. It wasn’t long before I had purchased the remaining three of his available collections which were luckily all in print via Ray Russell’s wonderful Tartarus Press.
Last month I received an email from Ray explaining that Tartarus were issuing a reprint of Oliver’s much sought after 2007 collection titled Masques Of Satan, the first time it had been available following its initial publication by Ash-Tree Press. I was quite naturally excited at the prospect of reading more by this extremely talented author, playwright and accomplished artist.
This morning I received a package containing my copy of the book which was signed and hand numbered by Mr Oliver himself, a lovely touch indeed.
The volume itself is a large format paperback which is unusual for Tartarus who mainly specialise in hardback editions although my other four Oliver collections are printed similarly. Needless to say, Ray has made the Tartarus paperback a thing of beauty by dressing it in the familiar cream livery of its hardback companions and used a much heavier, higher quality stock of paper than is usual for the leaves. It feels so much more tactile and durable than any other softcover book I have on my library shelves.
Another great touch is that each of the 12 shorts and novella in this volume are once again accompanied by a beautifully detailed black & white illustration by the author himself. Reggie Oliver is clearly as good an artist as he is a writer, I’d be interested to see a collection of his drawings published too at some point.
Masques Of Satan is available in a limited run of 250 copies so do be sure to order quickly as stocks tend to sell out rapidly, the Tartarus Press website can be found here.