The Respectable Face of Tyranny by Gary Fry is the first in a line of novellas to be published by Spectral Visions, which is a division of Spectral Press. I have done a review of Spectral Press and had many fine things to say about them; you can read it here. There are two versions of this novella, one that is in hardcover and limited to 100 signed and numbered copies that had sold out prior to publication, and one that is available through Amazon in paperback. The hardcover edition also includes a bonus novella, titled World Wide Web.
The paperback contains the title story, and it is well worth getting. This is the first thing I have read by Gary Fry, but his wonderful flowing prose and fully realized characters ensures that it will not be the last. This is a story of economic loss that is all too easy to relate to during these trying times; the main character, Josh, is seeing the ancient monsters that are the seeming cause of all the chaos every time he looks at Saltwick Bay. But what is he really seeing? What is really plaguing him? This novella is weird fiction at its best. It encourages the reader to think of the possibilities within the story but also leaves the reader with that creepy feeling that you may have just seen something out of the corner of you eye...or did you?
The bonus novella, World Wide Web, is one the many reasons why you should always pre-order things from Spectral. This was a wonderful Lovecraftian tale that was an excellent match to the weird fiction of The Respectable Face of Tyranny. I won't give away any surprises to those of you who will be lucky enough to read this one. I think it is sufficient to say that the tension builds slowly, with those oblique glimpses of a monster that you know is coming at the end. I found myself reading faster and faster as I got to the end of this story, and was left feeling very satisfied by the chilling conclusion.
I give it five cocktails.