Ex Occidente Press, 2009

Short Story Collection


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"Putting the Pieces in Place"

"There is Nothing That I Wouldn't Do"

"In Hiding"



"Afterword" by Elizabeth Brown


The five stories that make up R.B. Russell’s debut collection, Putting the Pieces in Place, demonstrate a subtle mastery of the macabre. Enigmatic and enticing, they combine a pleasing respect for the great tradition of supernatural fiction with a chilling contemporary European resonance.


In the title story, an obsessive collector goes to great lengths to recreate a moment in time. An author who many years ago sent one of his characters out into the world, finds that she returns to him in "Eleanor". In "There is Nothing That I Wouldn’t Do", a young woman finds that a boyfriend’s feelings for her are more heartfelt than hers for him, while a young woman in distress attracts the attentions of a sinister landlord in "Dispossessed".


With original and compelling narratives, Putting the Pieces in Place offers the reader insights into the more hidden, often puzzling, impulses of human nature, with all its uncertainty and intrigue. There are few conventional shocks or horrors on display, but you are likely to come away with the feeling that there has been a subtle and unsettling shift in your understanding of the way things are. This book is a disquieting journey through twilight regions of love, loss, memory and ghosts.


Please note: The stories are reprinted in Putting the Pieces in Place and Literary Remains.





'...an excellent and very satisfying debut collection...' - Ellen Datlow, The Best Horror of the Year Volume Two.


'The hallmark of these stories is their subtlety. Putting the Pieces in Place is a wonderful debut from an author who is among those leading the way in blending horror and the strange tale.' The Speculative Fiction Junkie


'Ray Russell's stories in Putting the Pieces in Place are captivating for their depth of mystery and haunting melancholy. These qualities place Russell in a tradition of authors that includes Sheridan LeFanu and Ramsey Campell, storytellers whose works proceed with a creeping uneasiness that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.' Thomas Ligotti


'. . . classy, tasteful stories of quiet horror told in an unassuming, polished narrative style. Mostly starting out as mainstream tales, Russell’s stories gradually convey a subtle feeling of disquiet as, page after page, the supernatural or the horrific unobtrusively creeps in. . . . In short, an enticing, remarkable collection proving that it was high time Russell would start a career as a writer. I’m looking forward to his next book.' Mario Guslandi, Hellnotes


'R.B. Russell has produced a work of timeless elegance which wouldn’t be out of place among the classic European ghost stories collections. The stories are all richly enigmatic with a subtle horror subtext. The European setting give the stories a distinctive feel, everything here is slightly, subtly different.' Highlander's Book Reviews


'As with Henry James, one might ask whether Russell is telling stories of the supernatural or of the psychological. It comes down to perception and this superb collection illustrates how each of us has a different way of putting the pieces in place.' Brian J. Showers, Rue Morgue


'In Putting the Pieces in Place R.B. Russell plays with human emotions without drawing a perceptible line between reality and fiction, passion and obsession, and creates an atmosphere of unease without pointing exactly the reason for it.' Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews


'Russell's horror is profoundly internal - the horrors of alienation, of loss, of obsession, even of love. Fans of Walter de la Mare take note. Hartley makes a good point of reference … for like him and his successor Robert Aickman (and by that logic his predecessor Henry James also deserves a mention), Russell is concerned primarily with giving you a glimpse of daily life gradually warped into another perverse shape without you knowing it. … an outstanding collection.' Andy McQuade in Gorezone, June 2009


'...the author's gift for a finely-turned sentence and a well-crafted tale.' David Longhorn in Supernatural Tales 15.

Copyright R.B. Russell, 2024