#Book Review: Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders

Behold is a colourful kaleidoscope of weird, wacky and bizarre stories and poems.

About the Book

Want to see something weird? Embrace the odd. Satisfy your curiosity. Surrender to wonder.

From Crystal Lake Publishing and the Bram Stoker Award-nominated co-editor of the smash hit Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories comes Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders.

Sixteen stories and two poems take you into the spaces between the ordinary—and the imaginations of some of today’s masters of dark and thrilling fiction.

A travel writer learns the terrible secrets at a hotel that’s not at all as it seems.

A disfigured woman and her daughter explore methods of weaponizing beauty.

An amateur beekeeper acquires an object that shows her the true
danger of the hive-mind.

Drifters ride the rails seeking something wondrous that could change their fates forever.

A strange creature that holds our very existence in its hands shapes the lives of two lovers to touching and devastating effect.

A young man helps his grandfather—and something much more monstrous—atone for bargains made during wartime.

And much, much more…

Best Read

Lying in an empty grassy field on a splendid sunny day or in a giant tent, while sipping on something magical.

My Thoughts on the Book

 

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of this book for months and I’m delighted to have received a launch day copy to review! Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders is an anthology from Crystal Lake Publishing, edited by Doug Murano and featuring a vast array of authors, including Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker. My obsession with short story collections was triggered by another Crystal Lake anthology, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories. Gutted was also co-edited by Mr. Murano, so I had very high hopes for this.

This is another cracking anthology from Crystal Lake. This is a wondrous collection, full of strange other-worldly tales and fans of Fantasy Island will devour this.  Every addition is unique and leaves the reader feeling like they are entering different tents at a carnival, with many different, some grotesque wonders to behold. Below are snippets of my favourite stories.

Larue’s Dime Museum

This story opened the anthology – a stylish and clever take on “carnival freaks” and curiosity. Beware of what you pick up in Larue’s Dime Museum!

Wildflower, Cactus Rose

A strange tale that is sad in parts. The most horrific part to this story is humanity and our obsession with outer beauty. This was brutal in parts, but I loved the message. The author quotes it perfectly: “The world is a mirror, what we see is a reflection of who we are. So the question is, what do you want the world to see?” The ending leaves the reader keep pondering the question.

The Baker of Millepoix

Set in a beautiful French village, this is both charming and grotesque. A miraculous baker with a secret ingredient that will leave a taste in your mouth.

 Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament

Clive Barker’s sprawling tale mingles horror, pleasure, obsession and love. Brilliantly written, this is a monstrous story with gore and heart. Jacqueleine is unlike any other woman, imaginary or real.

An Exhibition of Mother and Monster

I don’t normally read poetry, but I loved this nighmarish poem. It features a delicious collection of Nature’s freaks for a cheap price – “A Wholesome Fee for the Devil’s Smile.”

Chivalry

Neil Gaiman’s addition to the collection is a quirky, magical tale, with a lovely touch of humour. Mrs. Whitaker, the main character, is a feisty old lady with a great eye for antiques.

A Ware That Will Not Keep

A dying Grandfather tells his son of his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp. It’s a tale of escape, release, true horror and desperation.

Earl Pruitt’s Smoker

A wonderful, vivid flight of the imagination with a bee-keeper.

As A Guest at the Telekinetic Tea Party

I loved this poem, the second I read the alliterative title. The second poem anthology is vivacious and the cadence reminds me of a dance. It’s a dark tale of a witchy afternoon tea.

Knitter

Knitter reminded me of a gruesome Grimm’s Tale, where the unsuspecting characters have a sad fate awaiting them. Creepy and disturbing with a mystical twist.

Through Gravel

A surreal, strange tale of an underground world where the Kindred pluck their offspring from the world above.

Each story in Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders is a gem. I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you, so dig into this treasure trove and you won’t regret it.

 

Click here to purchase the book.

 

 

#BookReview – Twice Upon an Apocalypse

Twice upon an Apocalypse

Dark Fairytales in a Lovecraftian Landscape

I’m a big fan of Crystal Lake Publishing’s short story anthologies, so I jumped at the chance to receive a launch copy of Twice Upon An Apocalypse. These are all the well known favourite fairytales tossed into a hellish world.

Fairytales in their essence are quite horrific,  not all love and happy endings.

I loved the way each story was reworked into a unique tale, but still carried the same original story mingled with a unique flavour of Lovecraft. I find it hard to pick my favourites as they are so many good stories! But the twists on Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella were excellent with their strong female characters! I also loved the Bluebeard and the Little Mermaid stories. The Little Mermaid has always struck a chord with me, as does the evil tale of Bluebeard.

The joy of a short story collection like this is being able to dip in for a complete story  in a short period of time.

Even though I never stopped at just one story,  because I kept wanting to see which fairytale would come next! I’m already dying to read the next Crystal Lake anthology.

To purchase the anthology  click here.

To find out more about Crystal Lake Publishing click here.

 

The Third Twin by Darren Seegle: Book Review

The Third Twin from Darren Speegle is another original horror novel from Crystal Lake Publishing and I was lucky enough to receive a launch day free copy.

Best Read: While planning an Alaskan or Brazilian adventure!!

The Third Twin

The Third Twin is clever, dark and scary. Not things go bump in the night scary, but scary like someone hurting all your nearest and dearest. There are some truly horrible moments in the book, but all are portrayed beautifully. Like all the other Crystal Lake Publishing books I’ve read, this is original and edgy.

The travel scenes are unbelievable – I want to visit Spider festival in Brazil and the Vampire Ball in Germany! I could see and smell each unique landscape in my head. The cover art is also beautiful and evocative.

A trip to the Spider Festival in Brazil for Barry and his daughter Kristin,  a couple of years after Kristin’s twin’s death,  sparks a horrific and surreal nightmare for the entire family. This is thrilling and mysterious book, with twists and turns throughout.

My only criticism is that the end was maybe a bit too clever? I had re-read the last chapter a few times to try and understand it. Eloquent and well paced, I will definitely be reading more from this author.

To purchase the book: click here.

To find out more about the book click here: click here.

Book Review: Embers by Kenneth W. Cain


Embers

Embers, A collection of Dark Fiction is a dark and twisted selection of smouldering tales.

Best way to read Embers: Curled up by a dying fire, sipping a glass of red or tea!

Recently, I’ve become a big fan of short story collections, so I jumped at the chance to review this ARC from Crystal Lake Publishing. Horror collections work especially well. A short pacy story can pack just as heavy a punch as a longer, more developed one. Gutted : Beautiful Horror Stories (also published by Crystal Lake Publishing) re-awakened my love of horrific short stories.

Embers reminded me of shows from my childhood like Tales of the Dark Side and The Twilight Zone (why I was allowed to watch this as a child, I still don’t know!) Each story is connected by a little thread to the next one. Kenneth created a web of weird, sometimes gory, sometimes psychological and always scary threads.

My favourite story is The Chamber, it made me feel clammy and uncomfortable for all the right/ wrong reasons, was the first one. In The Chamber, an old war veteran visits an old war site with his family and encounters horrors from the past and present. The imagery and sense of dread is excellently portrayed.

Of Both Worlds and Breathing Cave, two slightly connected stories freaked me out! The environment and the character’s emotions are so vivid, the reader feels like they are part of the story. The stories based largely in caves, reminded me of The Descent (an excellent horror movie from 2005).

To conclude, this well written selection is perfect for dipping into. I love discovering new horror fiction authors and I will be reading more of Kenneth’s work. To find out more about the author click here.

Click here to purchase the book.

The Final Reconciliation by Todd Keisling: Novella Review

 

The Final Reconciliation is a hard metal symphony of terror.


Final reconciliationWritten in an album format, The Final Reconciliation is a tale of the occult, a gypsy who is more than she seems and a hard metal band striving to hit the big time. When The Yellow Kings have the performance of their lives, there is only one survivor.

I was delighted to receive an ARC of The Final Reconciliation from Crystal Lake Publishing (link to the Crystal Lake website). This is the third book I’ve read from Crystal Lake Publishing, including Gutted Beautiful Horror Stories.  Gutted was the most memorable, brutal and beautiful collection of stories from last year.

The pace and length of this novella were perfect for the tale, narrated 30 years after the tragic concert, by a journalist interviewing aging rock star Aidan Cross. The Yellow Kings are struggling to make their dreams come true when Camilla, a seductive gypsy character appears on the scene. Her introduction to them is the start of their nightmarish fate.

Friendship is key to the story, as were the changing dynamics of the group. The scenes where the band are pouring their souls into their final album are described in gory and grotesque detail.

There is dark beautiful imagery during the visions of Carcosa. The ending was both disturbing and mesmerising.  The album reaches its’ crescendo with a horrifying climax.

The Final Reconciliation is a horrifying tale, which will appeal to lovers of heavy metal and horror alike.

 Here are the links to purchase this book:

Amazon: http://getbook.at/TheYellowKing

http://www.crystallakepub.com/the-final-reconciliation/

Neverlasting by Johnny Daggers: A book review

Neverlasting

To my shame as a horror fan, I’d never come across Johnny Daggers until our Twitter paths met! Johnny is an interesting creative character  and I jumped at the chance to review an audio version of his book Neverlasting. I couldn’t wait to listen to my very first audio book!

About the Book

Choosing where you wed is just as important as who you wed. Ultimately, the wrong choice can lead to certain death. Sadly, this was the case for Nora and Ned, a young couple who wanted nothing more than to build a life together, but when they said their vows in the old Herring Grove, “’til death do us part,” took on an entirely new meaning.

As their vows of sanctity echoed through the hollow, they awoke a century old curse which vowed to never let love enter its hills again. Now forced to confront both their inner demons and ghosts from the past, Nora and Ned must fight to uproot the seeds of lost love and despair and bring new life to the plagued, barren land.

My Thoughts on the Book

Neverlasting was dark and hauntingly beautiful. This Corpse Bride found it mesmerizing from the first word! I’m sure that fans of Tim Burton and Edgar Allen Poe will also love this –  dark curses, stricken haunted graveyards, creepy mansions and neverlasting love. The book starts with the sad tale of Barron Victor Von Herring and the untimely death of his one true love, his wife Eva LaMoure. Driven to madness by the loss of his love the Barron puts a terrible curse on the land.

When love’s young dream Ned and Nora decide to wed at Herring Grove, spooky dramatic scenes unfold. The early scenes with Nora and Ned were intimate and lovely despite their love for the spookier side of life. The entwining of their souls and the descriptions of their graveyard wedding was delightful. The macabre romance spoke to my own dreadfully romantic side. The later scenes are action packed and wonderfully grim.

The reading of the book was poetic and downright beautiful. The accompanying sounds and evocative reading played through my phone like a wonderful melody. I could see all the scenes so vividly in my head. The tale reached its climatic and slightly dreadful ending, surprising me and leaving me slightly melancholy.

I adored Neverlasting. The only downside for me was that it ended too soon. I can’t wait to re-listen to this!! It introduced me to the joys of the audio book which has changed car journeys to work for me for nevermore!

Purchase Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Neverlasting-Johnny-Daggers/dp/0997773014

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/cka/Neverlasting-Johnny-Daggers/0997773014

About the Author

Neverlasting

Johnny Daggers was born October 7th, 1974, to John P. Ellenberger and Georgeann Graff, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, a small rural town located approximately 40 miles east of Pittsburgh. He became obsessed with the macabre at a very early age. At the young age of 4, Johnny recalls his mother finding him alone, crying on the kitchen floor. When she asked “what is wrong?”, Johnny sullenly replied, “I only have 70 years of life left to live”. Yes, by the age of 4, Johnny had already begun questioning his own mortality. This fascination with death only continued to grow the older Johnny got. He frequently and openly discusses his personal experiences with ghosts. By the age of 12, Johnny began to log his encounters in notebooks, and it was around this time that he began to undertake writing as a passion. Much of his early writings still exist in these personal notebooks that somehow managed to survive the past thirty some years. Perhaps we will see a collection of past and present work as an official anthology in the future? You can find out more on Johnny by clicking here.

 

 

Darren Shan/ Dash interview – Christmas, writing and An Other Place!

An interview with the one and only Darren Shan/ Dash!!! I was delighted to find out that we share a favourite Christmas film and an idol, Stephen King.

Darren Shan/ Dash
When I met the man himself in Bantry in 2016

I just want to say thanks again for allowing me to review An Other Place and thank you for agreeing to do an interview with me. As I’m sure you could tell from my review (To read my review of An Other Place click here)   I thoroughly enjoyed An Other Place. It was the most surprising and unique book I’ve ever read. So on to the digging! I’ve a mixture of questions for you, including some festive ones!

An Other Place

An Other Place differs greatly from your children’s books.It’s gritty and has scenes of drugs and sex. Is it nice to be able to write uncensored for an adult audience?

Yes — but the nicest part is being able to do it out of the sightlines of my younger readers. I’ve always been interested in both worlds — I love watching children’s movies and reading children’s books as much as I love movies and books which are for grown-ups. I’ve never had a problem moving between the two as a viewer/reader, and I like to take that same approach when I’m writing. It’s not a case of “dumbing down” for children or throwing in loads of sex and swear words for adults — that’s a mistake many authors make when they set out to create a book especially for a specific market. I simply go with what works best for any individual story. With Cirque Du Freak I did think about making the main character older and writing it for adults — the story could have gone in a much darker direction if I had — but I had a gut feeling that the story would work best if I kept the character young and wrote it for a young audience. I’m a big believer in going with your gut, in making calls in response to what a story demands, rather than imposing yourself on a story and making it work the way you want it to work. That can be difficult when you have an established audience, as I do on the YA front. An Other Place would never have worked as a YA book, and if I’d released it under the Darren Shan brand, I would have been conscious of just how disturbing it could have been for any children who picked it up by mistake, which might have led me to water it down. Having another name (or An Other name!) is very liberating, granting me the freedom to go as far as I wish with my imagination and not compromise at any stage.

It seems like Newman roamed as freely as he liked with his actions and was definitely not a standard “nice” character. Even in your books for younger readers you’re not afraid of writing horrible characters. Do you enjoy writing unsavoury characters?

It’s not so much a case of enjoyment as fascination. I find flawed characters more interesting to work with. Most books (especially in the children’s market) tend to feature bland, uncomplicated protagonists, and to be fair, I can see why, as they provide an easy access point for the readers. But I’m more drawn to the stories which explore the dark crevices of the human condition, which look at what scares and disturbs us. We miss so much about ourselves if we only focus on the superficial levels. For me, while the first purpose of story-telling is to entertain, it can also be a way to shine a light on ourselves and find out more about what makes us tick. I’m sure I could have written a very interesting book about the unnamed city with a nicer character than Newman, but I don’t think it would have been as interesting as the story I told with Newman at the centre. Very few of us are truly good or bad — we’re a mix of the two — and I like to make my books as realistic as possible, even when telling a surrealistic story like this one. Readers don’t always like it — maybe we don’t like seeing true reflections of our darker selves when we read, as it makes us ponder our inner twistedness — but it shouldn’t be a writer’s job to pander to his audience.

 Were you worried about the reaction to the  scene where Cheryl is violated by Newman? I felt it was very intrinsic to the story but it did shock me. I’m guessing that the independent publishing route allows you more freedom with your ideas and themes?

Yes, this was a tricky one to write. It was essential from a narrative point of view, in order to manoeuvre Newman into the place where the storyline was driving him, but he obviously lost a huge amount of audience sympathy by doing what he did. I spent a lot of time working on that scene, trying not to turn Newman into a complete monster, but rather show him as someone who, through a mixture of loneliness and frustration, does a monstrous thing. It was an uncomfortable scene to write, and it’s an uncomfortable scene to talk about, but this is a book that’s all about facing the uncomfortable factors that we can encounter in life, and to shy away from it would, I felt, have been to do the story an injustice.

 For some reason An Other Place reminded me of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life – an unhappy man is transported to a reality like his, but different. This other place allows him to reflect upon himself and others. Would you agree?

Hmmm. My first thought was to say, “No, they’re nothing alike at all, are you crazy?!?” But having mulled on it some more, I tend to agree with you. An Other Place goes to much darker and more lurid lengths, of course, but at the same time there’s something genuinely disturbing at the heart of It’s A Wonderful Life — when Jimmy Stewart rears up on his family and makes his children cry, it’s truly terrifying and unsettling. So yes, maybe that was in among the mix on a subconscious level when I was pulling the pieces of the story together.

 So while we’re on the Christmas theme – seeing as it’s the festive season, have you a favourite Christmas film and are you a Christmas fan or is it all about Halloween for you?

Oh, I love Christmas too! It’s A Wonderful Life is probably my favourite, though Life Of Brian would be up there too. What’s that, you say? Life Of Brian isn’t a Christmas movie? Heh. It is, in An Other Place!!

Is there any book you like to re-read at Christmas or look forward to reading this year?

No. I stopped re-reading books decades ago. I don’t get as much time to read as I once did, so I focus on new books now, that I haven’t read before.

 If you could pick  one character from your books to be for one day, who would it be and why?

Well, it would have to be Darren Shan, wouldn’t it?!?

 Do you have an idol? If so, who is it and why?

Stephen King. I love the quality of his books, of course, but also the quantity. He has an incredible work ethic which is truly inspiring. He’s continued to push himself throughout his career, never resting on his laurels. The results haven’t always been spectacular, of course, but that’s what happens when you continue to be productive over a long period of time — some stories just work better than others. I always believe in putting your work out there, to ultimately let the readers decide, not least because you truly don’t know as an author. Sometimes, yes, but not always. For instance, I was sure that An Other Place was going to get a rock response from readers — it’s just so weird that I assumed it would turn off most people. Yet it’s been picking up great reviews and looks like it might become one of my most popular books for adults to date. Authors can have their own opinion of their work, and how their various books rank against one another, but we don’t always call it right, and I think it’s good to put all your work (well, at least that which you deem to have worked) out there for the public to pick through and make up their own minds about.

 You’re going to have a dinner party and you can pick 5 people (living or dead)to attend, who would you pick?

Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut, John Lennon, Vincent Van Gogh, Preston Sturges.

 Do you have a favourite book of 2016?

My favourite book that I read in 2016 was either Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon or A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

 Are us readers going to be lucky enough to get more Darren Shan and Darren Dash books? Can you give us any clues about what’s coming next?

Yes, hopefully there will be plenty more on both fronts. I’m working on a massive fantasy series on the Darren Shan front, though I’m not sure when exactly the first book will see print — hopefully in 2018 if all goes well. I might bring out my next Dash book in 2017, though I’ve been averaging a new one on that front every 15 to 18 months, so it’s more likely that it’ll be 2018 for that one too — not least because I haven’t yet decided which book to focus on next.

Could you write a little message to your readers for the New Year?

As bad as things might get, they’ll never be as bad as you can imagine they can get, so face the future with hope and positivity.

I’ll leave you with that powerful closing message! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from The Corpse Bride!

 

 

An Other Place, Darren’s latest novel for adults released under the name of Darren Dash, is on sale exclusively through Amazon stores worldwide, either as a paperback or ebook. To find out more, click on any of the links for Amazon below (the book is also available through every other Amazon store worldwide) or else visit the Darren Dash site: www.darrendashbooks.com

The Baby Auction: Book Review

Baby auction

When the author offered me a copy of The Baby Auction to review I was I intrigued. What a title for a book!

Romance, revenge, revolution – and a forensic analysis of how market capitalism destroys human kindness. The author’s profits to Shelter – the housing and homelessness charity. Available through all e-book outlets and bookshops.

The Baby Auction is based around two couples in the Market World where The One Law resides over everyone to keep order and stop the world from falling back into despair.

Matt and Ed are a man and woman in the lower class in Market World and early in the book we find out about their hard life and upbringings. Despite that, they have high morals and strive for more for their lives. Anna and Dain are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Dain is Captain of the City Guard and Anna is a rising entrepreneur in Market World. They view Market World as a fair place and see the value of upholding The One Law.

Through various incidents, the lives of both couples end up intertwined. The incidents highlight further that something is not right in Market World. The treatment of the lower classes is described in scary detail.

The Baby Auction was too realistic at times for me. As a person in general, I like to escape from the harsh reality of life though books and films. This book didn’t allow me to do this (and perhaps this was exactly what the author wanted). The scenes were too harsh and too similar to our current state of world affairs for me. The horrible character Franklin  in the Market World reminds me of a certain character in the limelight.

To conclude, though excellently written, this book just wasn’t for me. It was too realistic and too close to real life. The Baby Auction doesn’t allow the reader to dig their head in the sand. It strikes a powerful message but I prefer books where I can forget about the real world for a while. I’d like to thank Peter again for the opportunity to review this book. And the fact that the profits are going to help people does make this book pretty special.

Purchase Links

  • Amazon: pbk £11.99, Kindle £2.99  To purchase on Amazon click here
  • The Conrad Press: pbk £12.99 (post-free) http://theconradpress.com/product/the-baby-auction/
  • Google books e-book: £5.03
  • Waterstones, W H Smiths, Blackwells and other bookshops £12.99
  • The author has some copies for £6.99 if people direct message him for details.

About the author

PETERTAYLOR-GOOBY is a leading sociologist who has advised Lloyd’s of London,  the European Commission and the (previous) UK Prime Minister, and been awarded an OBE. He has written 33 academic books and two novels: ‘research may analyse our changing world, but it is our feelings that drive the way we live our lives. That is why I write novels.’

An Other Place By Darren Dash: Book Review

An Other PlaceAn Other Place is a brilliant twisted trip down Alice’s rabbit hole for adults. A trip like none other I’ve experienced!

Darren O’Shaughnessy is an idol of mine, under the name Darren Shan he’s one of the leading horror writers  for young people. I first came across his Demonata series when my brother was reading the books in his early teens, I would steal the books as he finished them. lordlossukfullThe Demonata character Lord Loss is still a favourite of my brother’s and I was delighted to get a copy of it signed for him at the West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry in July. It was at the festival that I first heard of Darren’s books for adults under the name Darren Dash. He read an excerpt from his work in progress and it intrigued me. When I was offered the chance to review An Other Place, I was ecstatic and desperately hoping that it was the WIP he’d read so passionately from in Bantry. It was!!

About the Book

There is An Other Place… where time and space are fluid… where the moon changes colour and savage beasts run wild… where love is a perilous proposition and the dead are swiftly forgotten.. where sandmen offer sanctuary and the Alchemist rules over all.

When Newman Riplan’s flight into the unknown turns into a nightmarish slide between worlds, he must explore an unnamed city where unpredictable terrors are the norm. By the end of his first day adrift, his life has spun completely out of his control, but the most mind-twisting and soul-crushing revelations are only beginning. As he desperately searches for a way out, he starts to realise that the city isn’t in the habit of releasing its captives. And it seems to have a plan for him.

My Thoughts on the Book

An Other Place focuses around an unlikable character called Newman Riplan. He hates his life, his friends, women and even himself. The early scenes were dirty, gritty and realistic. I read some of the book while on an plane making the scenes on Newman’s own flight even more realistic and funny. From one moment to the next I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, which I loved. There is nothing worse for me than a book where I can predict every coming scene! Newman is stuck in another world, similar in ways to ours, but very strange and different in others. In this world people are unquestioning and accept everything. Humans in this “other place” enjoy and worry about only the present, surely that’s a lesson for us all?

I’m hesitant to go into too much detail as one of the main joys of this book was the constant surprises. Newman undergoes many quests and adventures, both physical and personal. Despite Newman not being the most likable character, I was invested in him throughout. His character reached his full potential by the spectacular and shocking ending. I had to sit there and digest it for quite a while after finishing. Various parts of the book seemed like a warning tale of what could happen to humans in the future. There were many brilliant and scarily accurate observations on mankind near the end of the book. One statement that stuck with me  “ambition and inquisition are the whip-cracking, back-riding scourge of humanity.”

Weird and wonderful, this book was like nothing I could ever dream up in my head! An Other Place has cemented Darren for me as an accomplished writer for both adults and younger people.

I’d recommend this to anybody looking for something gritty, wacky and different to anything you’ve ever read. Fantastic and original, An Other Place gets a big thumbs-up from this Corpse Bride.

To purchase An Other Place on Amazon click here

About the Author

http://eldarro.wixsite.com/darrendashbooks/bio

 

Darren Dash was born in England in 1972, but has spent most of his life in Ireland, where he lives with his wife and son. In his day job, under a different name, he has sold over 25 million books worldwide, mainly in the YA market. But he feels much more at home in the nights of his adult worlds…

To find out more about Darren click here

Book Review: Hannah by Shaun Horton

Hannah

I was so excited when I received an email from the author asking if I’d like to review Hannah! I’d come across Shaun on online media and his horror books really appealed to me. I have two of his books Class 5 and Path’s waiting for me on my Kindle.

As soon as I downloaded the book and noticed the cover, I felt a bit uneasy. As you can see from the awesome cover art this book is based around man’s best friend, the loyal dog. Dogs are my second biggest fear after birds! But I pushed my unease aside and persevered, and I’m glad I did.

Eli and his family return from camping to a house that’s not the same as they left it, appliances malfunction, doors with no locks refuse to open, and strange whispers float through the halls and rooms. The family dog, Hannah, is acting strange as well, chasing the wild rabbits with more ferocity than usual. The only question is whether her watchful eye, strange barks, and quiet growls are a warning… or a threat…

The book opens giving the reader an insight into the family’s life, of which family poodle Hannah plays a huge part. She is loved by the parents, Eli and Naomi and even more so by their two children, Abigail and Peter. I love the idea of something benign and normal turning into something to be feared.

Early in the book, the reader is made aware that Eli and Naomi’s relationship is by no means without its’ troubles. The problems in Eli and Naomi’s relationship starts tension building in the story.

As the dog’s strange and predatory behaviour increases, weird incidents also begin in the house, experienced differently by each character. I loved the creepy occurrences in the book. The paranormal scenes made me feel the fear of all the members of the family.

Towards the middle and end of the book there are some vicious and grisly scenes. One particular scene in the middle of the book really made me uncomfortable. I think the scene might have been a step too far to scare and shock the reader. In saying that, it’s the one scene I can’t get out of my head, so it was definitely effective.

Another tense and horrific scene was so realistic that I was wincing while reading it. The author had me hearing and seeing every bloody detail in my head. I already have a fear of dogs and bites in particular, so this book probably affected me more than it would other readers.

Hannah was a scary and gore-filled read. There were some really grisly scenes in the book that kept popping back into my head while trying to sleep. I really enjoyed the creepy haunted house type scenes in the book and I’d recommend this to other lovers of horror. I look forward to reading more of Shaun’s work (preferably without any canine characters!)

 

To purchase Hannah on Amazon US click here

To purchase Hannah on Amazon UK click here

Hannah, Shaun Horton

Shaun Horton writes from home in the pacific northwest in the company of two cats, one that ignores him and another that constantly pesters him. In addition to Amazon, he can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. He has a blog that he posts on generally once a week – (see Shaun’s blog here).