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The Shadow Fabric

The Shadow Fabric

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Leo remembers little of his past. Desperate for a new life, he snatches up the first job to come along. On his second day he witnesses a murder, and the Shadow Fabric – a malevolent force that controls the darkness – takes the body and vanishes with it. Uncovering secrets long hidden from humankind, Leo’s memory unravels. Not only haunted by the past, a sinister presence within the darkness threatens his existence and he soon doubts everything and everyone... including himself.

Now Leo must confront the truth about his past before he can embrace his future. But the future may not exist.

The Shadow Fabric is a story revealing the unknown history of witchcraft and the true cause of the Great Fire of London. A supernatural novel of sins, shadows, and the reanimated dead.

340 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 18, 2014

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About the author

Mark Cassell

99 books51 followers
Mark Cassell lives on the south-east coast of England with his wife and a number of animals, including Arnie the bearded dragon. Mark's jobs have included baker, lab technician, driving instructor, actor, and was once a spotlight operator for an Elvis impersonator. Best known for supernatural horror, he has seen almost 50 stories feature in magazines and anthologies by, among others, Crystal Lake Publishing, and The Sinister Horror Company, where he proves his penchant for ignoring typical horror tropes and casting them into the void.

His best-selling debut novel THE SHADOW FABRIC is closely followed by the short story collection STITCHES AND THREADS, both of which are a fraction of an expanding mythos of modern-day cosmic horror. The novella HELL CAT OF THE HOLT further explores the highly regarded Shadow Fabric mythos with ghosts and a black cat legend.

Collaborating with Future Chronicles Photography, Mark’s dystopian cyberpunk collection CHAOS HALO and his Lovecraftian steampunk horror novelette IN THE COMPANY OF FALSE GODS sees his prose in other genres.

Website: http://www.markcassell.co.uk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Mark_Cassell

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5 stars
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23 (24%)
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Displaying 1 - 29 of 29 reviews
Profile Image for Nev Murray.
448 reviews31 followers
October 26, 2016
"One thing is for sure. I will definitely be reading more of Mark Cassell. His writing is extremely good. The way his words flow should put many other authors to shame and to be honest, there are a few who should read this book to see exactly how intelligent writing is done. I think they will pick up some valuable tips."

See here for the full review:

The Shadow Fabric

Profile Image for Phillip Stephens.
Author 12 books31 followers
August 22, 2016
Every monster in an old fashioned Saturday matinee

Mark Cassell pulls out every stop in his horror thriller The Shadow Fabric, throwing every monster you'd hope to see if you sat down to binge watch a day of horror features. Except vampires. And werewolves. On the other hand, eight million paranormal romances with female leads brooding over vampire v. lycan love turned vampires and werewolves into cuddly plush dolls.

Cassell delivers sorcerers, witches, mad scientists, frankenstein's monsters, reanimated corpses, shapeshifters, flesh-eating zombies, creatures that dwell in the shadows and—best of all—ancient gods looking to rule the world. Deliver that package in 70,000 words, combine it with betrayal, double cross and triple-cross and you have a tightly twisted thriller that will keep readers awake through the night, unable to close the book's covers.

Cassell wraps the entire package in a mystery surrounding his narrator, a man with no memory prior to four years before, a tabula rasa upon which the machinations of the shadow fabric turn. The shadow fabric, it seems, steals the darkness in people's souls to weave a fabric of evil that will pave the way for the a horror that will devour all of humanity. The narrator, Leo's employer Victor, wishes to find the fabric to prevent his return.

Victor and his brother Stanley collect rare antiques in partnership with Leo's patron Goodwin. They consider the shadow fabric one of their finest prizes. Unfortunately, when a vagrant surrenders the Fabric to Victor, the Fabric compels Victor to murder his brother, launching a string of catastrophic events that unleashes the forces of darkness and the undead.

Everyone except Leo has been keeping secrets. Leo might be, he just doesn't remember what his are. He partners with Victor and Isidore, a first class thief, to recover the fabric before its power grows too large to contain.

Cassell understands pulp—fat, juicy and hurled against a wall to drip in all its gory delight. No literary pretense, this is slash an burn with visceral terror from page one when Victor slams his knife into his brother Stanley's chest until the last page when all's well that should end well. Only it doesn't.

Will Cassell deliver a sequel? Probably. He offers fans a collection of related short stories, Sinister Stitches. Plop your dime down now. The Shadow Fabric is worth the read.

Rating system:
5 = Delicious dialogue, crisp prose, clever characters & compelling plot
4 = Great read, won't want to stop (Some reviewers rate this 5 stars)
3 = Worth buying (but…)
2 = I will tell you what audience will like this, but other readers might want to look elsewhere
1 = If I review a book this bad I felt seriously compelled to warn you
Phillip T. Stephens is the author of Cigerets, Guns & Beer, Raising Hell and the new release Seeing Jesus. You can follow him @stephens_pt.
Profile Image for Dawn.
Author 1 book21 followers
March 28, 2017

Loved this book! Can't wait for the sequel. Vivid characters, a great story and lots of action. Highly recommended by me.
Profile Image for Chromis.
11 reviews
March 18, 2015
Mark Cassell's THE SHADOW FABRIC is an outstanding debut. A well-researched and emotionally involved piece, the novel's exciting characters lead us on a terrifying journey of dark discovery.

The story follows the experiences of our baffled and terrified protagonist Leo as his world and the laws that govern it unravel and break apart. Chunks of Leo's memory are missing and, as they return, gradually reconstruct a puzzle that the author disassembled to create his work. Leo's antagonist is a primal and atavistic malevolence, something so fundamental and incomprehensible that the disturbing sense of invulnerable threat taking root in your soul will keep you up at night.

Rich with sensory indulgences, and boasting a plot as tightly woven and malevolent as the Fabric itself, THE SHADOW FABRIC is not to be missed by fans of the genre, and would be an excellent starting point for readers new to the genre, too.

Horror aficionados might recognise certain horror themes here, but they will be surprised at how the author has twisted and re-invented them to suit his imagination. The originality, especially in such a well-constructed fictional Universe, is quite striking.

Mark is a born storyteller, and I urge you to read this book. I can't wait for more!
Profile Image for Rebecca.
201 reviews3 followers
June 7, 2020
I’ve owned this book without actually reading it for a long time, I actually bought it at my first Horror Con. Unfortunately, what with most requests for review coming in on Kindle, it’s easy to forget to read the real, physical books on your shelf. The other thing of course, is that when you’ve been asked to read something you seriously neglect yourself in terms of reading what you want to read.

Nevertheless, I have actually read this now, after reading the authors more recent release of Stitches and Threads. (Reviewed in February)

This book lays out the mythos of the Shadow Fabric brilliantly, something I’ve always liked about Cassell is his ability to weave words into imagery and make us feel like we’re watching events take place. Undoubtedly a skill which you couldn’t go without if you want to be successful in the writing world. The characters are nicely developed also, and as with most books the action picks up around the half way point, although in this one it isn’t completely absent from the first portion.

Refreshingly, nothing in this book feels like a repeat, whilst it’s true Cassell may have drawn inspiration from other writers or film makers in order to create his mythos, it feels new and fresh whilst being in no way modern. The artefacts and the events which take place feel like a very old evil, from before any semblance of the world as we know it.

As the book progresses, you’ll find yourself more tied to finding out what Cassell has in store for his audience, you’ll be drawn further into the mythos and become more like a fly on the wall.

For me, there were some parts that maybe felt a little long and drawn out, but having reached the end of the book, it really wouldn’t have been the same without those bits so if you think it’s started to feel like that then honestly just push on. Like when you get a slow bit in a film, it’ll be going somewhere. You also might not think that when you read it, so don’t be expecting it but if you do feel that way just know that it’s worth getting through the bit you might not like so much because you’ll find that it’s needed later.

I’ve read a few different bits by Cassell now and each story offers up it’s own bit of life, it’s own spark. When you read Cassell you know you’re reading something that was made with love because it shows in the quality of the writing and the story.

Definitely recommend this one, check out my review of Stitches and Threads which is also tied into this mythos, and definitely, if you see his name on a book of short stories – buy it.
Profile Image for Charlotte Munro.
Author 22 books50 followers
April 18, 2017
The Shadow Fabric is a thrilling, fast-paced page turner. An exquisite dark story woven with the brilliant supernatural twist, it leaves no room for error. A mixture of characters that leap off the page with their realistic flaws and personalities.

Mark Cassell has a remarkable way with words and is a riveting story teller and weaver of dark tales. The horror elements were both unnerving and raw, leaving me wanting to find out more yet dare to tread deeper and find the secrets of the Fabric.

Set in a small town, actually, village. I don't live too far off from where this takes place and the descriptions were amazingly accurate with flawless metaphors throughout.

This is the first book I've read from the author and I have not been disappointed. An original idea that was expertly woven and with a decadently dark imagination with some nightmares in intertwined.

And like this to infinity, I would highly recommend.
Profile Image for D.E. McCluskey.
Author 23 books127 followers
September 4, 2017
Great fast paced book... gripped me from the start... got a little bit confusing in the middle as there were a few too many characters introduced for my little brain to comprehend... but in all... I will be reading more into Marks fabric universe
Profile Image for Morgan Scorpion.
46 reviews12 followers
February 8, 2017
It just didn't work for me.
I got about one third of the way into it and just wandered off.
Life's too short.
Profile Image for Mark M J Green.
Author 6 books36 followers
June 24, 2022
It was an interesting journey that led me to purchasing this book and it all started on twitter when something that I had been mentioned in was re-tweeted by a chap named Mark Cassell. As I often do, I decided to look him up and find out who he was and I soon discovered that he was an author and that he had written a novel that was titled The Shadow Fabric and that it seemed to be garnering some rather good reviews on amazon.

Intrigued, I decided to by myself a copy but before I did, I found out that Mark would be appearing at a horror convention that I was going to be attending and that he would be signing copies of the book.

Obviously I did what anyone else would have done and bought a copy from Mark himself at the convention and got it signed too.

But was the book going to be any good? I used to read a book in around a week or two but I’m a very slow reader at the moment just down to the fact that I don’t get enough spare time to actually just sit and read and more often than not it will take me around 6 months to a year to finish a book.

I read this in 3 months which for me currently, is very good indeed.

It’s intriguing and well written with the characters being nicely fleshed out without the narrative getting bogged down by being overly descriptive. It does exactly the right amount for you to know what’s going on and to understand the characters, or at least; to think you understand the characters because a lot of them are keeping secrets that as a reader, you are either eagerly awaiting their revelation, or shocked when someone reveals a facet of themselves that you just didn’t see coming.

Although the story is about an encroaching darkness, reading it is like slowly clawing away at the darkness to reveal more of what is hidden within the shadows as you get deeper into the story and more and more gets revealed.

There were a few things that I didn’t quite fully comprehend, but that was more down to me rather than any problems with the narrative and to be honest, I really don’t mind having those few things that my brain couldn’t quite make sense of as it just means that I going to be reading it again in the not too distant future.

And that’s something that I’m looking forward to doing; along with whatever else he’s got in store for us, whether it’s part of The Shadow Fabric mythos (I really want to know about what happened between Victor & Lucas), or something completely new.

I won’t go into the plot in any way, after all that is explained in the item description and I don’t want to repeat what’s written there; instead I just need to tell you one very simple thing:

If you enjoy horror stories; then you need to buy this as it is very, very good.
Profile Image for Morgan Tanner.
Author 12 books33 followers
June 13, 2017
Wow! Now this here's a book that will make you scared of the dark. Is that a shadow in the corner of the room or a black, venomous tentacle of a shadowy beast that's waiting to impale me and spill my chunky viscera all over my bedsheets? OK, it was actually just a shadow that time!

The story follows Leo, a man who has been involved in a car accident (or so he thinks) that has left him with amnesia. His is helped by a man named Goodwin, a friend of Leo's family who he doesn't remember (or so he thinks). He's got amnesia, remember?

Leo takes a job with an acquaintance of Goodwin's, Victor. The man is rather eccentric and pays Leo handsomely for, well just basically driving him around the place. But Victor is part of some kind of ancient group who are battling to prevent the darkness taking over the world as we know it. Before he knows it, Leo is embroiled in the group's mysterious plans, where no one is who they seem.

The group are trying to prevent The Shadow Fabric, an ancient piece of, erm fabric, from engulfing everything good in the world. The fabric has been stitched together over centuries by the souls of evil-doers, and with a few more additions it will have the power to turn everything to darkness.

Throughout the book Leo is in the dark (or the shadows) over his previous life, as he remembers nothing about it. As the story unfolds the reader discovers just exactly what happened to him, along with Leo.

It's suspenseful, with twists and turns here and there – are they a baddie or a goodie? - and some pretty graphic carnage thrown in to boot. This is my first read by Mark Cassell, and the fact that there is a collection of short stories involving this whole Shadow Fabric mythos, is exciting.

A great book, and highly recommended. I had to change my black curtains in the lounge after it, though. At night they just seemed a bit more, I dunno, creepy!
Profile Image for Pamela Morris.
Author 19 books40 followers
September 23, 2017
On the second day of his new job, Leo is witness to a murder. His boss, Victor, stabs his own brother, Stanley, with a mysterious dagger known as the Witchblade. But Stanley suffers from no normal stab wound. Instead he is drawn into what appears to be a black piece of fabric and is consumed. No body is left behind and Leo can’t rid himself of the final, terrifying image of Stanley before he completely vanishes. What madness has Leo gotten himself into by taking a simple job as a chauffeur? The more questions Leo asks, the deeper he finds himself as part of the insanity. Soon, there is no escape. He must see this through to the bitter end. He wants answers, not the least of which what his friend Richard Goodwin has to do with it all. It was Richard who got him the job with Victor and also Richard who seems to know much more about Leo’s forgotten life than he’s willing to say.

The Shadow Fabric is an action-packed and fast-paced run through the underbelly of a realm of darkness, insanity, and a secret mythos that all but the very few are aware of. Leo took my hand, gripped it tight, and yanked me along through it all right along with him. His fears became my fears. His desire to find the answers, were mine. The feelings of betrayal and hopelessness that he felt made me cling to each page, urging him to continue to fight and find the truth.

I’ve not been held so tight by a novel in a long time and am looking forward to reading more of Mark’s work in as near the future as possible. The mythology he’s created around the Witchblade and Shadow Fabric is rich and deep and there’s no doubt the depth will be plumbed even further in the other stories related to it. He left me knowing enough to end the story, but with the promise that there's more to this telling than a single novel can hold.
66 reviews1 follower
May 26, 2017
The evil contained in this book is relentless. Seriously, just when you think that something good has happened, it snatches it away. With fury too. This read takes you through a journey through a somewhat-unreliable narrator, and the all-too-mysterious Shadow Fabric and the revolving world within. I'm pretty sure that there are mysteries that are still left unsolved, even with everything that get explained.

All the characters are distinct, and though each one of them have their own motivation (which may or may not be their own), it certainly is a fun thing to read such a varied cast of characters. There are some moments where I didn't want to know about a thing for the 50th time, but that's just because it had been repeated so many times that my brain went "enough already!"

For those of you who like supernatural horror, and want something to keep you on your toes, then you should check this one out.
Profile Image for Lisa Lee.
372 reviews25 followers
July 25, 2017
The Shadow Fabric is a brilliantly dark and fantastic tale that lays open the mysteries of ancient lore in a subtly Lovecraftian way. Mark Cassell uses steady pacing and slow reveal to carry you ever onward into the mythos he has created. I found myself not only sympathetic towards Leo, but also a bit afraid for and with him. His amnesia lends him an almost naïve countenance that only adds to the chaos of the horrific and mysterious events he finds himself drawn into.

This twisted tale is expertly woven with strong characters and suspense that builds upon itself chapter after chapter. Just when you think you have the horrific mystery figured out, there's more. Always more. The story sucks you in and you can't decide if you want to keep reading or run and turn on all the lights.
Profile Image for Miranda Kate.
Author 15 books63 followers
August 28, 2018
After being pulled into it's darkness, The Shadow Fabric slowly enfolded me into its depths, and held me there! It's for those that aren't afraid of the dark and want to try and work out a puzzle. It keeps going, each time you think you have reached the crescendo, there is still more to come. A good read, good exceptional writing! Mark is not only a master of expressing a lot in short, succinct sentences, this was one of the 'cleanest' books I have ever read in terms of grammar & typos! Get in early, cuz this guy is going somewhere. I am looking forward to more 'stitches'.
March 18, 2017
As soon as I started read The Shadow Fabric I was hooked and couldn't put my book down!
I have read many horror/ supernatural stories but this one just grabbed me and kept me wanting to read more!
Reading about Leo and Victor and being pulled into the darkness of the story kept me gripped till the end.
I highly recommend this book you definitely will not be disappointed.
Profile Image for Claire-Louise  Armstrong-Brealey.
64 reviews3 followers
October 8, 2017
Stonking good read

I was a virgin to this author but I am so glad I popped my cherry on this story. Very well written and...not to give the game away...there may be more. You are left dangling at the end with a soreness to get the next book straight away. There are not that many authors that do this. Top banana
Profile Image for Keeley .
510 reviews12 followers
March 10, 2015

I was really enjoying this however I feel like the last 20% of the book sort of dragged on. The last two or three chapters were perfect, but there were a few before them that the story could do without and would be much stronger.
Profile Image for Jason .
321 reviews1 follower
February 14, 2021
Superbly written

I bought this book long ago, I finally read it and can say it was outstanding! Part supernatural mystery part cosmic horror, this book is creepy! I recommend this book to all fans of modern horror!
Profile Image for Mark.
Author 13 books75 followers
January 15, 2018
Entertaining -- and dare I say it -- old school supernatural horror. If you like, say, James Herbert's work then you'll certainly find this a worthy addition to your shelves. Inventive, dark and highly readable.
1 review
October 6, 2019
The Shadow Fabric by Mark Cassell is an enthralling and chilling tale that holds the same curiosity for me as novelists like Stephen King. From beginning to end my attention was undivided, I have been gripped. Once you delve into the unravelling reality of Leo, accompanying him on his journey of self discovery and witness with him a series of supernatural misadventures, you must seek out answers, too. I was impressed with the tangible, horror-soaked detail, which gave life (or should that be death?) to the journey, engraving vivid imagery to my minds eye. I'd love to write more about what I loved about The Shadow Fabric but I don't want to spoil the story for you. I had been wanting to read this for quite a while now, well, since it was first published (after reading short, flash fiction stories by the author). Finally I got to indulge! And, my final verdict is, it's a modern, horror classic. I will definitely be reading more of the authors work in the future. And absolutely recommend this tale to fellow horror fans.
Profile Image for Paul Flewitt.
66 reviews2 followers
July 11, 2021
Mark Cassell can write one hell of a story, and construct a hell of a mythos to go with it.

The Shadow Fabric is a bit of a step back to classic supernatural horror, and it's a welcome step too.

He has a definite grasp of language, and once the tension is ramped up it doesn't back off until the final page.

This one comes highly recommended. Mark Cassell should be a much bigger, much more widely known author.
760 reviews5 followers
October 27, 2017
Not sure about this one!

This story started off at a fast pace and had me enthralled for about the first third of the book. After that I thought the story became drawn out and repetitive. At that stage my attention started to wander and I lost interest in the story. I made it through to the end but didn't enjoy the book.
Profile Image for Jim Kratzok.
1,068 reviews2 followers
November 3, 2017

Didn't much care for this one. Although well written, I don't care for all the good vs. evil that this story is based on especially when the evil is such a nebulous thing. Just doesn't work for me. But if you like stories that will have you avoiding shadows from now on and watching them closely to make certain they don't move on their own, you might enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Fran Comesanas.
Author 5 books21 followers
December 1, 2020
The Shadow Fabric by Mark Cassell, is a chaotic runaway train that is absolutely thrilling to ride. This is exactly the kind of dark and haunting horror that forces my imagination to make the shadows move at night. No one stitches like we who have dwelled in darkness. Well done good sir. A fantastic read. 5 Stars.
Profile Image for Catriona Lovett.
469 reviews10 followers
April 24, 2018
A well-written, horrifying tale

I enjoyed this book immensely. I was reminded of what I liked best about books by King, Koontz, Straub, Barker and others, but the story is quite original. I look forward to reading more by this author.
Profile Image for Erth.
3,431 reviews
October 19, 2018
now i am hooked. This was such a great, easy and creative book. i was hooked after the first page.

The characters were easy to fall in love with and follow, along with the story. the author made the mental visions so easy and vivid of the surroundings and the characters actions felt so real.

i would highly recommend this author and this book.
Profile Image for Darryl Foster.
Author 3 books11 followers
December 22, 2014
HORROR HAS A RISING TALENT: Book Review of Mark Cassell’s, The Shadow Fabric

ABOUT THE SHADOW FABRIC: Leo remembers little of his past. Desperate for a new life, he snatches up the first job to come along. On his second day, he witnesses a murder and the Shadow Fabric – a malevolent force that controls the darkness – takes the body and vanishes with it. Uncovering secrets long hidden from humankind, Leo’s memory unravels. Not only haunted by the past, a sinister presence within the darkness threatens his existence and he soon doubts everything and everyone…including himself. Now Leo must confront the truth about his past before he can embrace his future. But the future may not exist. THE SHADOW FABRIC is a story revealing the unknown history of witchcraft and the true cause of the Great Fire of London. A supernatural horror novel of sins, shadows, and the reanimated dead.The Shadow Fabric

MY REVIEW: Mark Cassell’s debut novel The Shadow Fabric is an action packed tale of supernatural horror. The book follows the journey of Cassell’s main character Leo. A car accident in Leo’s past had wiped out his memory. In his new life, post-accident, he struggles to recall the memories of his former life. Now, Leo finds himself working for a mysterious man named Victor Jacobs. Victor has secrets, ages old, and Leo quickly finds himself propelled into the secret and deadly world of the twisted Shadow Fabric.

Cassell has written a fast moving novel with a fascinating evil. He navigates us through a mysterious plot, and introduces us to a number of characters, ancient artifacts and legends that are all entwined with the Shadow Fabric. Cassell has effectively created a world at the edge of darkness, and he slaps us consistently with thrills and chills that will make you feel like you’re reading a movie.

Cassell’s marketing and author platform is outstanding, and his imagination is immense, as revealed by the unfolding of the Shadow Fabric mythos in the novel. He is an author with an online presence that clearly demonstrates a dedication to his craft.

I enjoyed reading and discovering the horrors of the Shadow Fabric and all its macabre wonders. If you’re a fan of classic paranormal horror then take the time to read Mark Cassell’s The Shadow Fabric. He has undoubtedly weaved a world by which legends of horror are born. I expect more great works will bleed from this author.

“Praise for Mark Cassell, a rising talent in horror.” ~ Darryl Foster
Profile Image for J.C. Stockli.
Author 3 books10 followers
May 31, 2015
I was intrigued by this read from day one. I love when a writer has the ability to weave history and lore into a new tale. I feel as though Cassell took extra time in doing just that. I very much enjoyed the tale of the fabric and its accouterments as seen through the amnesiac eyes of Leo. His journey is filled with suspense and detailed action. There were several passages within this book that are very well written.

That said, it did take me almost halfway through the book to appreciate Leo’s plight. The application of showing rather than telling shone through in many scenes. At other times, I did wish a bit more from the dialogue. But when Cassell was into the scene, he certainly excelled at describing it. I was left with a few more questions from the abrupt ending, but I suspect that was what the writer intended.

Overall, it was an entertaining and suspenseful read with very intricate flourishes.
Displaying 1 - 29 of 29 reviews

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