Pavel Renčín (b. 1977) appeared on the Czech literary scene as a disruptive wave within the mainstream. His debut was the short story The Creator in 1999, which won him a number of awards in literary competitions. Since then his name has regularly appeared in prestigious anthologies of the fantasy genre. His works, No Fairy tale (2004) The Name of the Ship (2007), Labyrinth (2008), primarily cover urban fantasy and magic realism. His fantasy trilogy Urban Wars was nominated for the Academy of SFFH (Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror) award, and was awarded the Aeronautilus prize in the category of best Czech book. In 2009 a selection of Renčín’s best short stories was published in the compendium Concrete, Bones and Dreams. Trapped was awarded by the Academy of SFFH the best book in 2015. His newest book The Club of Murderers is the top Super Thursday pick in this autumn.
October 2015, 236 pages
Available material: English sample
Chilling horror inspired by actual events. The worst things described actually took place; reality is far worse than what people are able to invent.
Trapped is a shadowy thriller in a style which is in desperately short supply on the Czech literary scene. Readers will feel their blood run cold when they consider that this terrible story is inspired by actual events from the Šumava border region. You immerse yourself in the stifling atmosphere of isolation, untamed nature and evil, which defies human comprehension. When reading you may recall the name of Stephen King, whose works the novel resembles in terms of its genre. The novel is split into two plot lines. In the first, we meet the protagonist, a university lecturer, Martin, who is struggling with bouts of memory loss and nightmares. The second thread deals with a girl, Marie, who, in another age (under the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia), is with her parents as they set out to make their escape across the border to Germany. The fairy-tale trip to the Bohemian Forest that they promised her soon turns into a nightmare in which the girl becomes trapped for years to come. A gloomy spine-chiller that is certainly not for the faint-hearted, interwoven with brutality, torment and hopelessness.
“A chilling horror about the genuine sadist who is recorded as the most prolific murderer in Czechoslovakia. Renčín has endeavoured to produce a horror story similar to works by British, American and, above all, Scandinavian authors.”
— Krajské listy
“Trapped is a horror story. A superb horror! Chilling, eerie and darker than the bottom of the Black Lake of Šumava. Trapped by Pavel Renčín is an unprecedentedly raw and dark tale on the Czech scene.”
“The wait was killing her, but there was nothing else she could do. She walked up and down the barn, running her fingers for perhaps the hundredth time round the wooden box her head was locked inside. She wondered if she could smash it open by running full tilt at the wall. How likely was it that she might break her neck? Should she risk it? She experimented by banging the box against the wall, but it hurt like hell and the wood gave no sign of yielding. It was oak, soundly nailed and screwed together; Schabe had taken great pains with its construction. Marie went and stood by a metal plate that had several hooks set in it; it was nailed to one of the inner pillars and had probably once been a coat rack. She tried to examine the box in its reflection on the metal and work out how it was made, but through the narrow peephole, she could see hardly a thing. This scrutiny of the box held her attention for a short while but led nowhere. Fear and the agony of waiting came back.”