Book Reviews

 

 

 

 

Looking for a new book to read? Lost among the millions available online? Let us narrow down the selection with the reviews we have featured in previous issues of Indie Writers Review.

Authors looking for a review on your work? We post our reviews on here, Goodreads, as well as Amazon UK. If you would like to submit your book for review please email a copy (mobi format only) to redcapepublishing@outlook.com. Any genre is welcome. We will reply to you with an estimated turnaround time. If you require a review by a specific date please detail this on your email. Submission for review does not guarantee that the book will be accepted. We only leave reviews on books that we feel deserve three or more stars.

The Forest by Lou Yardley

5 STARS

forestThe Forest is comprised of two parts. Part One tells the story of Georgia and Oliver, aged 12 and 9 respectively, who venture into the forest at the end of their garden and get more than they bargained for. The whole atmosphere of the book was genuinely frightening, as the children come under attack firstly from the trees, and then find themselves transported to an alternate reality, in which every creature in The Forest seems to be hell-bent on destroying them. Part Two picks up the story five years later, and is both fast-paced and engaging, with a sense of dread throughout. The book is a quick read, utterly captivating, and highly recommended. Lou Yardley is a name any fan of horror fiction should be aware of, and is quickly becoming one of my personal favourite authors. Buy UK and US.

Delivery at Zombie Lane by Titan Frey

4 STARS

Zombie LaneDelivery at Zombie Lane is the first book in The Campfire Kids series. It is a book aimed at youngsters, aged 6-12, and is a great introduction to horror fiction for this age range. The book tells the story of five young boys who meet regularly to tell scary stories around a fire. Their gang, ‘The Ghoulish Five’, gain an extra person on this evening – a girl! Molly is given the chance to tell a story and will only be permitted to join the gang if it is scary enough. Delivery at Zombie Lane is a fun read, with just the right amount of creepiness for the age range, and one I’m sure most children would enjoy.  Buy UK and US

 

Blood Moon Big Top by Toneye Eyenot

5 STARS

blood moonI have now read a number of books from Toneye Eyenot, and they never disappoint. Blood Moon Big Top is a novella, and a brutal one at that. It tells the story of a drifter who joins a circus as Marbles the clown. After an encounter in the woods, Marbles becomes unwell, and suffers a horrific transformation. Blood Moon Big Top is a story that any horror lover will enjoy; gripping, gruesome, and wholly entertaining. Buy UK and US.

 

Claret by Brian Scutt

5 STARS

claretThis is the second story from Scutt that I have read (the superb Korean Road being the first), and I simply can’t wait to read more. Claret is a short story, so I won’t give away too much, but Scutt creates some genuine characters, with a believable storyline, in a thoroughly absorbing tale which will stay with you after you have finished reading it. Buy UK and US

 

 

You Only Get One Shot by Kevin J. Kennedy & J.C. Michael

4 STARS

yogosThis was a really enjoyable, very original story. You Only Get One Shot is a clever way of bringing a collection of short stories together and adding a frightening connection between them all. A real pleasure to read, and strongly recommended to all horror fans, and those looking for a book with real originality. Buy UK and US

 

 

Bag of Buttons by Mark Lumby

5 STARS

Bag of ButtonsThis was the first I had read from Mark Lumby and would definitely recommend it. The story is fairly short (I read it in one sitting) but is gripping from the outset. Well written, with an intriguing plot that was a real page turner. Quite unique, and certainly memorable. Buy UK and US

 

 

Hellhound by Lou Yardley

5 STARS

hellhoundLou Yardley’s Hellhound is a fantastic werewolf story, with interesting and believable characters. It is written well, and fast paced, with just the right levels of mystery and gore. A great story for any horror fan, which is highly recommended. I am looking forward to checking out other work by this author, and plan to read The Forest very shortly. Buy UK and US.

 

 

Psychotic Interlude by Toneye Eyenot

5 STARS

PsychoticThe more I read from Toneye Eyenot, the more I want to read. This is the second collection of stories I have read from the author, and I have started on a third already. His style of writing is superb, and each of the stories stay with you after you have finished reading them. This collection is more on the extreme side of horror, with detailed gore, but balanced well with a storyline that makes the reader think, and feel, everything that is going on. A must for any extreme horror fan. Buy UK and US

Of Nightmare Realities by Toneye Eyenot

5 STARS

onrAnother fantastic collection of shorts from Toneye Eyenot. I read this straight after Psychotic Interlude, and the author shows his talent for writing in a variety of horror sub – genres. While Psychotic Interlude was far more brutal, this collection contained the deep, unsettling kind of horror. Beautifully written, but perhaps don’t read just before bed. Scary stuff! Buy UK and US

 

 

A Poet’s Curse by Joanne Van Leerdam

5 STARS

poets curseThis is an outstanding collection of poems of a darker nature. I found them easy to relate to, and beautifully written. Each piece was as strong as the last, and I would recommend this book to not only fans of poetry, but also of dark fiction. An excellent read, and I look forward to reading more from the author. Buy UK and US

 

 

Korean Road by Brian Scutt

5 STARS

04Korean Road is a fantastic novella, atmospheric, well written, and engrossing. I read it in one sitting as I needed to know what happened next. Scutt blends subtle horror with an accurate portrayal of a war veteran suffering from PTSD. I very much look forward to reading more from this author, and the consistently great reviews of Korean Road are well justified. Highly recommended. Buy UK and US

 

 

Beautiful: A Broken Little Tale by Mar Garcia Plana

5 STARS

marThis is a short book so I won’t give anything away in my review but it is a beautiful little story, full of hope. It’s made even more special by the incredible artwork featured throughout. A truly unique piece of work. Buy UK and US

 

Pandemonium by JC Michael

5 STARS

Pandemoniumpandemonium is set on New Years Eve, at a new rave club, where things don’t go to plan for those attending. The author gives a believable portrayal of rave culture, as clubbers from across the country make their way to Discoredia for the end of year party. Throw in an other-worldly creature with a batch of spiked pills, and read how the biggest club night of the year descends into Pandemonium. Chaos soon ensues, with much blood shed, graphic violence, and generally crazy behaviour! Pandemonium was a fun read, quick-paced, and thoroughly entertaining. Perhaps a perfect read for this New Years?  Buy UK and US

Murmansk-13 by Richard-Steven Williams

5 STARS

Murmansk-13 im13s an impressive book, which is richly descriptive throughout. Providing a blend of science fiction and horror, Williams has written a story featuring a large, and believable, cast of characters who find themselves stranded in space, and exploring a seemingly abandoned space station. There is an air of suspense throughout the book, a sense of intrigue as the severity of the crew’s situation becomes apparent, and a genuine feeling of claustrophobia. Highly recommended.  Buy UK and US

 

Red by D.J. Doyle

5 STARS

Redred was the first book I read that falls firmly into the extreme horror category and, a year on, it remains one of my favourite reads. Doyle takes the reader deep into the mind of a serial killer, seeing his actions and motivation from a believable, and pretty messed up, point of view. Red goes beyond the common story of a sexual predator kidnapping women, pushing boundaries and capturing the genuine horror of the victims, their imaginative and (very) grisly deaths as well as the excitement and pleasure felt by the killer. This is a story that will stay with you after you have finished it, for a very long time. Buy UK and US

Reddest by D.J. Doyle

5 STARS

As yo30u could probably expect from my review of Red, I was extremely excited to hear that there was a sequel on its way, and even more pleased that I would have the chance to grab a copy before the Halloween issue of Indie Writers Review was completed. Reddest continues from where the previous book left off, again taking the reader into the mind of a killer. This killer has different techniques, and motivations, and Doyle captures these differences wonderfully. I don’t want to give too much away but I will simply say that Reddest is a worthwhile sequel to Red – twisted, violent, entertaining, and disturbing. Exactly what extreme horror should be! Buy UK and US

White Trash and Southern: Collected Poems, Vol. 1 by C.S. Fuqua

4 STARS

This ifuquas a big book, covering a vast range of subjects. C.S. Fuqua packs a lot of emotion into the short poems, each one beautifully conjuring up and image or feeling relating to that subject or moment in his life, giving a real insight into his past. A must for poetry fans. Buy UK and US

 

 

Howls from the Underground – An Anthology

5 STARS

Whenhowls I started reading this new anthology from Screamin’ Skull Press I was unsure what to expect. It is described as a collection of short stories, poetry, essays, novel excerpts, and artwork. I have to say I found the book completely engrossing. The collection features a wealth of talent, and some truly great writing. As with any collection of works, there are some that are better than others, but of course this is subjective anyway. Overall, I found the book a joy to read, unique in many ways, and would highly recommend it. It’s a very special collection.  Buy UK and US

Last Stop to Saskatoon by Tony Nesca

4 STARS

Last saskatoonStop to Saskatoon is described as an “unadulterated, uncensored, stream of consciousness protest against the state of the world” and that perfectly summarises it. I hadn’t read a lot of the lyrical, free-flowing style of writing that both Tony and Nicole use before reading Howls from the Underground, but it is a form of writing which I am becoming fond of. Saskatoon reads as a continuous stream of thought, well written, and conveying meaningful protests about the current state of the world. Buy UK and US

 

Let it Bleed by Nicole Nesca

4 STARS

let it bleedLet it Bleed is a collection of poetry and prose, often written in a free-flowing, street lyric style. Nesca is a talented writer, pouring emotion into each piece of writing. As with Howls from the Underground, there is a uniqueness to the style of writing, and again I found the pieces in this book both fascinating and impressive, as the author contemplates life, love, and losses. Buy UK and US

 

Dragon’s Trail by Joseph Malik

4 STARS

dragonsDragon’s Trail tells the story of Jarrod, a former Olympic saber, who is pulled out of the modern world as he knows it, finding himself somewhere very different…somewhere medieval. Jarrod is to be the hero, stop a magical war, and stay alive in two very different worlds. In a story filled with sorcerers, warriors, and elves, Malik brings fight scenes to life, making the reader feel as though they are there, almost smelling the blood, hoping Jarrod and his team live to see another day. An epic read.  Buy UK and US

 

The New Magic by Joseph Malik

4 STARS

magicI couldn’t wait to read the sequel to Dragon’s Trail! I needed to know how the hero, Jarrod, was living in the new world he had fought to protect. But wait…the war isn’t over. Jarrod and his new friends have another mission, another war. Malik’s book is a must-read. I felt suspicious about every new character that Jarrod came to meet, every fight scene had me twitching in my seat, and a few times I felt I was going to lose Jarrod for good. I truly enjoyed this crazy, magical journey Malik sent me on. I hope there will be a third book… Buy UK and US

The Crimson Curse by William McCorbin

4 STARS

CCCrimson Curse tells the story of two police inspectors investigating a series of mysterious suicides, and a possible link to a Voodoo priest. The author blends a quick paced story with witty dialogue, and sinister undertones. The reader is drawn in as the body count rises and the police draw closer to solving the case. Buy UK and US

 

 

Rats in the Loft by Mark Lumby

5 STARS

05After reading the fantastic Bag of Buttons, I was keen to check out more form Mark Lumby. Rats in the Loft certainly didn’t disappoint. The story was perfectly creepy, with plot twists that I didn’t see coming. It was a quick read, and thoroughly engrossing. A must read for any fans of spooky tales. Buy UK and US

 

 

Sinister Dexter by Lucy Brazier

5 STARS

Sinister DexterThis is one of the few books that I have begun reading and been completely unable to put down! I ended up reading it in one sitting. The book tells the story of a Porter Girl at an old English college, where people turning up dead seems to be a normal part of college life. The dialogue was witty throughout, and thoroughly British (the lack of tea and biscuits was more worrying than the two dead bodies at the bottom of the college gardens), and the author created some hilariously bizarre characters. The Dean was certainly my favourite. Sinister Dexter is a comedy mystery, and is one of my favourite books of recent times. I look forward to reading more from Lucy Brazier. Buy UK and US

Epithalamium by Nick Archer

4 STARS

epiWow, this was a gripping story! I read it in one sitting, as I could not stop. Epithalamium tells the story of Scarlett, a young woman who finds herself in mortal danger, taken from her home one evening. The tale twists and turns, and all is not as it appears as Scarlett’s situation gradually worsens as the night goes on. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, the story took a other turn. The characters were believable, and the reader can feel the terror that Scarlett must have felt. If you are after a chilling novella, Epithalamium is a must read. Buy UK and US

Black & Single Blues by Dwight Hobbes

4 STARS

black bluesBlack & Single Blues is essentially a modern romance story, set in the world of touring musicians. This is not a genre I read often, so I was unsure what to expect form this book, but was pleasantly surprised. The story focuses on Keith, a successful musician who meets Lesli, and the pair embark on an intense relationship. The characters were believable, with their own flaws, and the story was well written with a great dialogue. I found it different to anticipate how the story would end, which kept me reading to see what happened next. A must read for fans of romance stories, as well as those with an interest in the life of touring musicians. Buy UK and US

THEM by James Watts

5 STARS

02THEM is a horror novel, and the debut from this author. It tells the story of Ray Sanders, who returns home to bury his mother, but all is not as it seems in the small town as something evil lurks in the shadows, threatening all who live there. The story was incredibly well written, with scenes that were easy to envisage, and believable characters. The plot was tense, and well thought out, which kept me reading on, desperate to find out what happened next. THEM is a must read for any fan of horror stories, and James Watts is an author to watch out for. I look forward to his next book. Buy UK and US

SUPERSICK: Tales of Twisted Superheroes Compiled by Mark Nye

4 STARS

13Definitely not for the faint-hearted, or the weak of stomach. Supersick is an awesome collection of short tales which detail some rather disturbing superhero origin stories. The line-up of authors is impressive, with some of the best names in the indie writers scene involved. If you like your stories disturbing, graphic, and hugely entertaining then this could be the book for you. Buy UK and US

 

 

Embrace the Darkness by P.J. Blakey-Novis

5 STARS

Review provided by The Bold Mom

16This book is a collection of short stories. It’s the first piece I have read by the author, and it has greatly surprised me. The stories are short, but very disturbing, those spine-chilling kind of ones…each one in a very different way. Broken minds, impossible nightmares, surrealist situations, and what I liked best, fair and not so fair fates for the characters. Blakey-Novis happily dances on top of the grave of “the goody wins, the baddy is defeated” typical stamp, carving out his signature “Do you think you know how this is ending? Hold my beer…” The author owns such a marvellous imagination, every plot is complex and his way of making it fit in a tiny tale is…well, astonishing. He could perfectly build up an entire novel from every one of them. I personally felt sad when I turned the last page, because I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I have already purchased another one by him, ‘Tunnels”, so I can go on. I sincerely recommend this book to psychological horror fans, here, you have great nightmare material to steal your sleep for several nights. What more could you ask for, as a horror reader? Buy UK and US

Legacy by Marc W. Johnson

5 STARS

01Legacy caught my eye because of the awesome cover, and my love of Red Riding Hood. If you are into werewolves, Legacy will be right up your street! This modern day Red Riding Hood story is a series of thrills and twists, love and hate, and a family who have a job to do. A big job! Young Rose was living life to the full, she enjoyed her work, friends, and a handsome man she loved uncontrollably. But her life was about to change! Legacy is a real page turner. Buy UK and US

 

Six Months by Christy Aldridge

4 STARS

6 monthsSix Months by Christy Aldridge is rather unique. It tells the story of Janey, a doctor who had given a cancer patient six months to live, and who now finds herself at the hands of her former patient’s husband, Gerald. Gerald also gives Janey six months to live, after kidnapping her from her home, attempting to force her to live out her time in the same way his wife had. Throw in a sinister clown named Happy, drug-induced hallucinations, and some unexpected twists, and Six Months becomes an atmospheric, chilling ride. Buy UK and US

Misdirection by Martin Link

5 STARS

misdirectionMisdirection is a high-tech thriller, the first in a series, in which we are introduced to Lucas Norton. Norton is a very likeable British agent, working on solving a complex heist in which $48 million are stolen from a bank’s delivery truck. The story is fast paced, and cleverly planned out, with believable characters. As the title suggests, things aren’t always as they seem, and the thieves carry out an elaborate scheme in an attempt to get away with the money. A very enjoyable read, and I look forward to reading the second instalment, Credence. Buy UK and US.

The Amoeba from the Ash by Mercedes Prunty

4 STARS

20Zombies! If you are the sort of person who enjoys The Walking Dead, I Am Legend, and World War Z, you are sure to enjoy this book. It captured me from the first chapter, as I recognised the local areas in Sussex, England. The characters are so real, going through (at first) everyday issues. A mother suffering with bipolar, a father working all hours as a paramedic, a hormonal teenage daughter, a young son still learning the ways of the world, and a doctor who wants to save mankind. This family go through Hell, killing friends and family to help this doctor find out why the ash was causing such chaos in the world? But is the doctor leading them on for her own benefit? Can they ever live a normal life again? Highly recommended. Buy UK and US

The Ruined Man by Jason DeGray

5 STARS

ruinedThe Ruined Man tells the story of Detective Wolf, who finds himself caught up in a cult’s attempt to summon a demon, and which leaves him forever changed. DeGray weaves an intriguing tale, combining police thriller with demonology and the occult, which had me desperate to keep reading. This book would appeal to lovers of both horror and detective stories. Buy UK and US

 

 

Human Waste by C.M. Saunders

5 STARS

human wasteDan is ready for the zombie apocalypse, and he can’t wait to take out the undead and save the world. Human Waste is a great, fairly short, story, presenting an unusual twist on the zombie genre. Fast-paced, gory, and not quite as it seems, Human Waste is a very entertaining, disturbing, and sometimes humorous read. Buy UK and US

 

 

Swarm by Anthony Morgan-Clark

4 STARS

Anthony Morgan-Clark Swarm CoverSwarm by Anthony Morgan-Clark is a very enjoyable story, centring around an outbreak at a research laboratory in the English countryside, and the efforts made to try to contain it. The author balances mystery and intrigue with a dose of horror, as the events quickly unfold. Fast paced, and well written. Buy UK and US

 

 

Flash of Darkness by Toneye Eyenot

5 STARS

Flash of DarknessFlash of Darkness is a great selection of short stories. Each tale is beautifully written, taking the reader on a number of terrifying journeys. This is the first of Toneye’s work that I have read, and will certainly be checking out more. Toneye Eyenot is an author that every horror fan should become familiar with. Buy UK and US

 

 

 

Madman Across the Water by Caroline Angel

5 STARS

10Caroline Angel’s fantastic Madman Across the Water is set in a small town, which has been plagued with mysterious disappearances for generations, and sightings of a tall, thin figure appearing from the woods. This is a genuinely creepy novel, with a detailed back story, and believable characters. It will certainly make you wary of going into the woods, especially on a misty evening! Buy UK and US.

 

The Broken Doll by P.J. Blakey-Novis

5 STARS

Review Provided by Kimelene Carr, author of Sans Espoir

brokendollLet me begin by saying, this book is a MUST READ!! This was quite an intense, gripping, and emotionally stirring reading experience. The events unfolded in such a way that will be shocking, unexpected, and thrilling for readers all at once. There were times I sympathised with the characters, other times I felt anger, relief, and many times, anxious as to what may occur next. For an author to invoke such feelings, and grab readers emotions, it goes without saying how incredibly well written this story was. An absolutely exciting, riveting tale that will leave readers mind-blown and breathless!!! Buy UK and US

The Elder Ice by David Hambling

5 STARS

elder iceThe Elder Ice was a very enjoyable mystery, in the style of Lovecraft. Beautifully written, with great characters and locations which were easy to envisage, it tells the story of Harry Stubbs, an ex-boxer now working for a solicitor’s firm, investigating the estate of the late explorer, Ernest Shackleton. The story is filled with suspense, and intrigue, keeping the reader guessing until the very end. This is the first that I have read form this author, and will certainly be reading more. Buy UK and US.

 

The Unwilling Recruit by John Evans

5 STARS

unwilling recruit coverThe Unwilling Recruit is a really enjoyable, well written, supernatural thriller. It was very hard to put down as the reader follows journalist John Hunt’s adventures following a traumatic incident whilst reporting from a war zone. The whole story was packed with mystery and intrigue, with a great pace, and interesting characters, as Hunt finds himself part of a supernatural plan in which he has no choice but to be involved. A great read. Buy UK and US

 

Church by Renee Miller

5 STARS

12Church tells the story of a cult, portraying the predatory nature of cult leaders and the susceptibility of their followers to be brainwashed. The story was gripping, (I read it in one sitting), and I could really envisage the setting and the characters. The torture was perfectly placed, without excessive gore, and presented a believable way that such a ‘leader’ would try to convert people to the way of thinking that he desired. Overall, a great read. Buy UK and US

 

The Gatekeeper by Kevin J. Kennedy

4 STARS

gatekeeperThis was a super, short, horror story in which a man is recruited to guard a gateway to Hell. Kennedy manages to get a decent amount of story in the small number of pages, making for an entertaining read. As it’s a short one, I won’t give too much away, but The Gatekeeper is recommended if you fancy a quick, creepy tale on a dark night. Buy UK and US

 

Holmes Vol. 1 by Melvyn Small

5 STARS

holmesI was lucky enough to get to read Holmes recently. Firstly, a confession, I have never read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories but, of course, I am familiar with the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. This reimagining of their adventures brings them into the modern day, in which Doctor Watson is a psychiatrist and meets Holmes through this capacity. The book comprises of six short mysteries, all intertwined. The whole book was a pleasure to read, beautifully written, with clever storylines which kept me guessing throughout. The character of Sherlock was described perfectly, giving the reader a real sense of what kind of man he was. There were several laugh-out-loud moments, usually at points where Sherlock had to interact with a policeman by the name of Lestrade. Overall, it was hugely entertaining, and I look forward to reading Volume 2. Buy UK and US

Noah Finn & the Art of Suicide by E. Rachael Hardcastle

5 STARS

Noah FinnI was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of Noah Finn and the Art of Suicide, knowing only that it dealt with delicate issues such as religion, death, and the terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001. As soon as I began reading, even by the end of the first chapter, I could see that this was something special. The story deals with Noah Finn, a janitor who had, up until September 11th, been trying to end his life. The story was complex enough to keep my interest, linking strings of incidents together as the ‘universe’ played its role, with the help of Death, or Christopher Saint as he was called at this time. The connections between the characters were well thought out, and the writing was of an incredibly high standard. Overall, Noah Finn and the Art of Suicide was a thought-provoking, highly original, and sensitive story, with a splash of humour thrown in. Buy UK and US

 

Manchester Vice by Jack Strange

4 STARS

manchester viceI was lucky enough to receive an advance reader copy of Jack Strange’s Manchester Vice. It was a really enjoyable thriller, told from the point of view of Brad Sharpe, a journalist turned serial killer. The story was well paced, with short chapters, and enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. At one point, I thought I had an upcoming twist figured out but I was wrong, which was a pleasant surprise. The ending was well thought out, and right up to the final chapter I did not know what to expect. Buy UK and US

Pleasure Seekers by Mike Krutz

5 STARS

pleasureBack in October 2017 I ran a Halloween promotion to showcase a different horror story each day of the month. (You can find the list of books from 2018 here). Pleasure Seekers was one that stood out for me, and not just because of the bright, simplistic cover. It is a short story, at 85 pages, but what an adventure it was to read! The story takes place over one night in a city, as the lives of a host of unusual characters intertwine. The story was well paced, and beautifully written. It was easy to envisage the scenes as each one unfolded. Pleasure Seekers manages to combine a fascinating set of individual tales and weave them into a story that I can honestly see becoming a cult classic. Buy UK and US