Literacy 2023: Book 2: Garth Marenghi’s TerrorTome

The latest compendium of darkest imaginings from Author, Dreamweaver, Visionary, Plus Actor Garth Marenghi

Garth Marenghi’s TerrorTome by Garth Marenghi (Matthew Holness)

Prolific horror author Nick Steen finds himself compelled to purchase a mysterious, ancient typewriter from a strange antique shop, unwittingly setting off a series of terrifying events which threaten to destroy the entirety of Stalkford.


  • In case anyone still believed that Marenghi was only capable of creating characters that were thinly-veiled wish-fulfillment stand-ins for himself, TerrorTome‘s Nick Steen is every bit as original, unique, and vividly-realized a character as Darkplace‘s Rick Dagless.
  • Practically three novels in one
  • Includes multiple Fright Breaks and a Horrotica section
  • Contains Bruford, one of Marenghi’s best side-kicks since Dr. Lucien Sanchez
  • Encompasses a multitude of literary styles, with Clive Barker and Stephen King-style horror interpreted in Marenghi’s unique voice


  • Readers unfamiliar with Marenghi’s style might be frustrated at the amount of repetition throughout โ€” iterating over and over on the same gag, or repeating the same plot structure (which is lampshaded near the end of the story).

I would’ve been content if TerrorTome had just been Darkplace: The Novel, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the book changing up its structure and opening up into new ideas. Holness impressively commits completely to Garth Marenghi’s voice, making sure that he’s an ever-present character throughout. What impressed me the most was that this feels very much in line with Darkplace, not just as a simple adaptation, but taking the same concept and applying it to literary horror instead of 1990s episodic television.