Spider From The Well (Book Review)

Coverspider-from-the-well“Spider From the Well”, written by Tim Reed, is an inventive novella that combines Lovecraftian horror with classic science fiction themes.  Using imaginative story telling, the book explores the deterioration of a man’s sanity as he struggles to understand the world that seems to be changing without explanation.

Taking place in a tranquil English countryside, “Spider From The Well” follows a happily married couple as they begin a long awaited vacation.  While exploring the area together, the husband and wife discover a diary with a cryptic inscription buried near a well.  Overcoming some initial reluctance they begin reading the diary and are introduced to the life of M. Hattern and the events of 1899 that forever changed his life.  The initial journal of Victorian era observations quickly regresses as the journalist attempts to make sense of the creatures, events, and visions that are beginning to haunt him.

Expertly crafting the progression of madness and paranoia, Reed creates a chilling tale that will leave the reader questioning their own reality.  Through the use of well developed alternate histories, horrifying potential futures, and brooding creatures with terrifying motivates “Spider From The Well” is an engrossing novella with a surprising ending.  The use of the diary format allowed Reed to develop a character that was intriguing and a potentially unreliable narrator heightening the sense of horror and building madness.  However, the short length of the story made the conclusion feel a little rushed and some aspects of the book (the alternate futures and exploration of gods/myths) did not feel fully explored.

Overall, “Spider From The Well” by Tim Reed is a nicely developed novella that follows the tradition of H.P. Lovecraft horror with some strong science fiction aspects.  Incorporating ancient legends, and crafting alternate histories, Reed is able to create a strong plot that will leave readers wanting to know more.  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dark fiction that leaves you questioning your own stability.

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3 Skull Rating Horror Palace

Reviewed by Damnetha Jules
Damnetha  is a staff writer, horror book and movie critic.
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Nobody Goes There (Book Review)

No-body-goes-there-CoverThe book “Nobody Goes There” by Lex Sinclair is a disturbing tale that introduces the reader to a small town hiding a huge secret.  Following a plot that revolves around strange and horrible things happening in a relatively normal town, the book is an enjoyable read for those who appreciate suspenseful horror stories.

Taking place in a South Wales town that is normal in most respects, “Nobody Goes There” follows the lives of various townspeople as they are terrorized by a mysterious creature that lurks in a nearby canal.  The people in town are divided between the older people in town who refuse to discuss the gruesome deaths that continue to occur, and the younger people in the town who constantly tempt fate by exploring the canal.  The book follows two students, Dorothy and Owen, as they become aware of a creature that is responsible for the deaths and disappearances in the canal.  Though they are both deeply afraid of whatever has been killing locals for generations, they are determined to avenge the deaths of their friends and protect the remaining townspeople.

This is a distinctly UK/Welsh novel, with nuances like “kerb” instead of curb that can make the American reader pause, but is required and enjoyable projecting the realism of taking place in Wales.  The strong plot of this book, along with the engaging writing style, keeps the reader interested in both the characters and overall story line.  Sinclair is able to tell the story from the point of views of multiple characters allowing the reader to grasp the full horror of the situation while steadily building suspense.

While there are a few issues with grammar and typos, the minor issues do not take much away from the readability of the story.

Overall, this is creepy, disturbing, and a well-written horror/thriller piece is a true page turner that will keep the reader on edge.  Expanding upon the classic plot of good versus evil, the book features well crafted, realistic, characters who are forced to face their own fears to protect those around them.  I would recommend this book to any horror fan who enjoys a story with a touch of mystery and suspense.

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3.5-Skull-Rating-Horror-PalaceReviewed by Damnetha Jules

Damnetha  is a staff writer, horror book and movie critic.
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Right Behind You: Tales of The Spooky & Strange (Book Review)

right-behind-you“Right Behind You: Tales of the Spooky and Strange” is a book that features nine exciting, easy to read short stories that are just as the title describes – spooky and strange.  The author, G.R. Wilson, does an excellent job of varying his writing style to bring a new flare and fresh feel to each tale in the book.  The stories are all very different, with some being scary in a subtle way, some being simply strange and interesting, and others being terrifying and borderline gruesome.  Having the many short stories creates excellent variety, really showing off Wilson’s ability as a writer and making the tales fun to read.

The book contains a collection of nine short scary stories in total.  They are fast and easy to read, vary significantly in terms of plotlines and characters, and are well written.  The storylines range from tales of children encountering Sasquatch to violent fights on a fishing boat while stranded out on the open waters.  Wilson does an excellent job of creating a wide range of stories with unique and creative plotlines.  He keeps readers guessing and engaged, making it hard to put the book down instead of reading the next story.  My personal favorite tale in the collection is called “Fang and Claw,” the sixth story in the group.  The story revolves around a ranger on a lone mission in the mountains and the plot itself is told through a series of journal entries written by the main character.  He describes petrifying and unusual events happening in the mountains, including the discovery of demolished deer, pig and bear carcasses and clues that suggest there is a monster living in the area.  Humans begin going missing too and the brave ranger, all alone for the vast majority of the time, sets out to protect the public while putting his life on the line.

“Right Behind You: Tales of the Spooky and Strange” delivers on what it promises to provide readers in the title.  The tales are definitely nothing short of spooky and strange, and they are written in a fast paced yet simple way.   They are extremely easy reads that keep readers minds racing.  Wilson’s short stories are perfect for reading when there is limited time because each individual tale requires a minimal time commitment.  I loved that I could easily put down the book after a story and pick up with brand new characters later on in the day.

What is most impressive about Wilson’s writing is his ability to develop interesting characters that the reader can feel connected to using a very limited amount of text.  He does an exquisite job of breathing life into the characters using a combination of dialogue and descriptive text.  Each story and the individuals within the stories are well thought out and introduced to the reader in a meaningful way.  Furthermore, Wilson does an excellent job of varying his writing style to suit each individual story and its respective group of characters.  He adapts his writing style constantly, changing the feel from casual to intense to formal as needed.  Overall, G.R. Wilson writes beautifully in this book and really adds character to each page.

In summary, I would definitely recommend this collection of short stories for readers who enjoy scary reads, for campfire tales and for casual everyday readers.  The nine stories in “Right Behind You: Tales of the Spooky and Strange,” written by G.R. Wilson, are satisfying and exciting short reads.  Each plotline is completely different and Wilson does an incredible job of bringing each new group of characters to life.  The quality of writing is superb and the Wilson really flaunts his ability to write using many different styles throughout the book.  These short stories are excellent for people with limited time, for those who enjoy reading short stories as opposed to lengthy novels and for individuals who cannot resist a good scary story.  Best of all, every single story is an exciting, scary and fast paced read that promises a brand new, unique and creative tale unlike others readers have heard or read before.

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4 Skull Rating Horror PalaceReviewed by Damnetha Jules
Damnetha  is a staff writer, horror book and movie critic.
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The Goat’s Head (Book Review)

horror-palace-book-review-a-goats-headThe book “The Goat’s Head,” written by Lex Sinclair, is an eerie book that dives into the scary world of demons and witchery.  The book has a haunting plotline based upon terrifying things happening to a completely innocent person, making it a satisfying read for those who enjoy horror type fiction stories.

The novel is about a twenty-two year old girl named Sofie Lackberg.  A stunning young women and brilliant law student, Sophie is of Swedish origin and resides in the United Kingdom.  In the beginning of the story, the naïve girl is trying to find a way to earn some spare cash and comes across a flyer advertising a small job taking care of the elderly.  She phones the lady who posted the flyer, a wealthy woman named Margaret with ailing parents that she needs someone to help care for on a particular evening.  After hearing that the job pays 150 British Pounds, Sofie accepts to work for her.  However, upon arriving at a gothic style home with a demon statue out front, she quickly regrets her decision.  Over the course of the night that she must stay there with the elderly couple, a number of frightening experiences happen to her, including being spied on through a hole while bathing and having the elderly people read her mind.  She ends up encountering danger after hitting her head, being surrounded by chanting individuals in cloaks, and the evil story continues from there.

The book is well written and Sinclair has an intriguing style of writing that makes the story not only easy to follow but engaging.  The pace of the book is fast in some parts and slows down in others, making it a perfect book for casual reading.  Sinclair does an excellent job of using a perfect balance of dialogue between the characters and descriptive text to really set each scene and help the reader visualize the setting.  Also, he does an excellent job of developing the characters in a way that makes them feel realistic.  While reading the book, it is hard to not feel terrified and upset over what is happening to Sofie because she is made out to sound like such a normal girl with terrible misfortune.

However, the book also has room to improve.  There are a number of obvious grammar and spelling mistakes sprinkled throughout the book which can throw off the reader and damage the flow of the book.  The small errors ultimately end up acting as a distraction from the content, making it a bit harder for the reader to lose themself in the book than it would be if there were no mistakes.  The writing is all excellent from a content standpoint, but it would be valuable for this book to go through one final round of post-editing.

Overall, “The Goat’s Head,” written by Lex Sinclair, is an excellent book that tells an unnerving tale of a young and ambitious girl whose plan to get ahead in life goes horribly wrong when she accepts a job offer that proves incredibly dangerous.  It is an exciting book that explores the petrifying world of demons and witchery, tossing readers into unfamiliar territory and leaving them there to experience fright alongside the book’s main character, Sofie.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys horror, or even fantasy, fiction stories.

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3 Skull Rating Horror Palace

Reviewed by Damnetha Jules
Damnetha  is a staff writer, horror book and movie critic.
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The Lord of Darkness (Book Review)

horror-palace-book-review-the-lord-of-darknessThe Lord of Darkness,” written by Lex Sinclair, is an eerie horror novel based ironically on the story of a young and successful writer’s struggles and how they turned his world upside down.  The story is unique and follows a different plot pattern to that of most horror novels, making the read interesting and highly unpredictable.   Sinclair’s writing style is extremely detailed; there are intricate descriptions included for every scene and each fine detail within the scene imaginable which adds excellent imagery to the book.

“The Lord of Darkness” is based on the life of a full-time fiction writer named James Baldwin.  Highly regarded for his renowned horror books, Baldwin sets out to write his next masterpiece.  However, he struggles from writer’s block.  A non-human character known as the Lord of Darkness arrives at his door, claiming he has a solution for writer’s block but stating that he cannot provide it to James without a lifelong commitment to his terms and conditions.  Hesitant and unsure of what he is signing up for, the author accepts.  James is then sucked into a vortex where he witnesses a famous author’s murder and the Lord of Darkness’ pact with said author to protect his ideas until he finds a worthy writer to see them through into books.  Changed forever, James’ life as a writer will never be the same and he becomes a mortal creative expression for the Lord of Darkness, even using his name as a pseudonym.

Throughout the novel, the actual horror content is subtly dispersed throughout the plot to make for a story that actually follows an interesting flow.  Unlike many horror books, this one is not jammed packed with terrifying or gruesome content, making for a pleasant and unanticipated turn of events whenever scary or violent parts of the story do unfold.  Also, the ideas within the book are interesting in that storyline feels unique and creative, lacking similarity to typical horror books which tend to have many commonalities.  One of Sinclair’s real strengths in writing this novel was that he developed an unexpected and special story that is almost like a mystery style fiction book with a slight horror genre twist.

Lastly, Sinclair writes with an extremely detailed approach, describing everything from settings to sounds and the fine details of characters’ faces.  This imagery provides added depth to the story because it allows the reader to really visualize what they are reading, giving strong support to the book’s ideas.  However, the author tends to write lengthy sentences which can result in awkward grammatical structure and diminish the impact of his words.  Also, while extremely minor, there were a few small typos as well as comma splices dispersed throughout the book.  However, if these small flaws can be overlooked, Sinclair’s writing style was very effective in bringing the story that he created to life for readers.

Overall, I would recommend this book for readers who are looking to dabble into the horror genre as opposed to readers who are diehard fans of traditional or more extreme horror books.  “The Lord of Darkness,” written by Lex Sinclair, is a well-constructed story unlike typical horror novels that is based on the life of a talented author and how his world is turned upside down when he makes an irrevocable promise to a total stranger.  The plotline is special and unique, resembling that of a different genre such as mystery, yet elements of fear and terror are present throughout the book.  Sinclair does an effective job of bringing the story to life through exquisite descriptions, however there were some small issues with typos.  “The Lord of Darkness” provides an interesting and refreshing spin on the horror genre and is an adventure to read.

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Reviewed by Damnetha Jules
Damnetha  is a staff writer, horror book and movie critic.
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