Published by Quercus Books (2011)
The Thing on the Shore takes place in a call-centre in Whitehaven, just a short hop from Sellafield along Cumbria’s grim western coastline. When Artemis Black (from The Leaping) is assigned to manage the centre on behalf of a mysterious multinational corporation called Interext, the isolation and remoteness of the place encourage him to implement a decidedly unhinged personal project, installing what purports to be cutting-edge AI technology, with a real, ‘human’ voice, on the automated answering systems.
As a result of Artemis’ actions, one of his employees, Arthur, becomes aware of an intangible landscape inside the labyrinthine systems of the call-centre – a landscape in which he can feel some kind of otherworldly consciousness stirring and in which, perhaps as a result of his father’s increasingly alarming eccentricities, he feels that he could find his recently deceased mother.
Arthur takes refuge in this belief as his father, his job, and his house slowly deteriorate around him. He begins to conflate the mysterious, interstitial region that exists down the phonelines with the sea, as that was where his mother drowned. In a way he is right – Artemis’ meddlings have attracted something, it is just not as benevolent as he thinks…
‘The Thing on The Shore is assured, chilling and heartbreaking and Fletcher’s star is very much on the ascent. Fletcher’s characterisation is flawless, he populates his story with a tantalising cast of characters, his prose is bewitching, and the story is a melting pot of SF, fantasy and grim horror and the writer will keep you guessing.’ – Bookmunch
‘An atmospheric, entertaining book that, with its criticisms of corporate culture, manages to be about something more than just monsters’ – Gamesradar
‘Fletcher’s follow up to the excellent horror novel, The Leaping, is equally brilliant if not better … At this rate Tom Fletcher’s name will be up there with Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell in no time’ – Quazen