2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DON'T be put off by the cover...doesn't do the book justice!
This book was sent to me by the author and when I opened the package I nearly fell of my chair in fright. The front cover is certainly something that does not depict the sort of book this is. I read the back of the book and to be perfectly frank, wondered why the synopsis gave away so much of the story. Not letting that put me off, I settled down and made a start...
Published 18 months ago by Best Books To Read
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fun read - but skip the blurting blurb
All is not well at Gossmoor Park Care Home. Too many residents are dying and Matron Elizabeth Waverly, along with her lover, Norman, who works as a nurse, have a brutal grip on the frail people in their care. Some of the other staff are growing increasingly concerned - but who will stand up to the menacing couple?
And that - or something similar - is what...
Published 20 months ago by sjhigbee
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DON'T be put off by the cover...doesn't do the book justice!,
The first thing that struck me is the sheer evil of these characters. Barry has absolutely no problem translating this evil from pen to paper. Elizabeth Waverly is truly a despicable character. The first few chapters give us the evidence of their cruelty whilst at the care home although it doesn't take long before we see their capture and prison term handed down.
Pretty soon the story changes pace and we move onto their next plan to swindle an inheritance from Victor Carragher. The story is set in the UK and then swiftly moves to the island of Majorca. The body count is particularly high and its no holds barred for the descriptive deaths of some of the characters. I found that as the story moved along we were give short glimpses into Elizabeth Waverly's upbringing and this only added to the tension of the story.
There are lots of characters involved in this plot, maybe at times one too many but Barry has managed to juggle this well, leaving the reader wondering where all these intricate plot threads will lead. Initially this was described to me as a horror, but to be honest it was more of a thriller with and element of horror to it. I am certainly not a horror reader, but thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Towards the end of the book, the horror element does pick up, but to be honest it was done in a good way and I could see where the story was going. I thought that the story was well done and it was overall a really enjoyable read. That said, I think the synopsis and front cover made it not quite a perfect debut. Overall, who can criticise a man who has published his own book, and is donating all the profits to Cancer Research? I would say that next time round Barry should definitely choose a different front cover as I am pretty sure the current one would put people off. Secondly, I would say that the synopsis should give readers the taster, but not the whole meal.
I personally, will look forward to seeing where his next books take him as he certainly has a talent for writing. I think that this book was a brilliant debut and I look forward to the next one!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fun read - but skip the blurting blurb,
And that - or something similar - is what should be on the back cover. Instead, the two short paragraphs contain enough spoilers that give away a good third of the plot - so my first piece of advice is do NOT read the back. Fortunately, as I've read far too many blurting blurbs I skipped it till the end, but I have to say I think this example is one of the worst - which is a real shame. Because one of Smythe's strengths as a writer is his ability to weave a convincing plot with plenty of pace - along with some twists I didn't see coming, but are posted all too clearly on the back of the book.
Smythe's evil protagonists are a product of their own miserable, abusive childhoods and he manages to make us aware of their vulnerabilities, so that although we may not like them we do understand what drives them. The uncertain start rapidly picks up pace and confidence as we learn about Norman's childhood. While this is definitely a horror tale with a steadily growing body count, there are flashes of humour that at times approach farce, particularly near the end of the book during the Halloween celebrations. Smythe is an entertaining writer with an inbuilt sense of when to pick up the pace and when he needs to slow it down. In a book where events - along with the body count - start accelerating, it would have been all too easy to lose control of the plotline and characters. But Smythe kept firm control of his wicked protagonists, which had me turning the pages wondering what could possibly happen next.
That said, I would recommend that Smythe gets a good editor for his next book. There are some places where the writing is a bit uneven and there are too many typos - complement instead of compliment, for instance, and a scattering of oddly placed question marks. On the plus side, the book is well produced to a high quality and as I've mentioned, the cover is outstanding.
But, once a train of events is unleashed in this genre and starts gathering momentum, the biggie has to be - does the ending pack a sufficient punch to make the investment of time and effort in reading the book worth it? Apart from being rather too squeamish, this is one of the reasons why this isn't my favourite genre - too many times all the tension and fear fizzles out... Or turns into something so preposterously grotesque, there is no sense of horror left. To be genuinely chilling, there has to be a sense of everyday as the action descends into ever greater chaos - something that Smythe has understood. The ending was completely satisfying, while leaving the reader slightly off balance. This interesting debut novel definitely marks Smythe as one to watch.
5.0 out of 5 stars As fascinating as it is darkly disturbing!,
Lector. The story starts at a residential home in Britain in which
the sinister Norman Christie and Elizabeth Waverly brutally and
sadistically torture the elderly. Upon spending years incarcerated
for the crime the two are released and avenge upon their former colleague
Elizabeth Carragher and steal her identity attempting to claim her inheritance-
resulting in a sinister turn of events ending in Majjorca.
Kind of a cross between Stepen King's The shining and Strangers on a train
with a macabre twist. Sow and you shall reap is anything but gentle. What starts
as a standard thriller soon takes a ghastly turn as things transpire from beyond the
grave. For his debut novel, Mr.Smythes debut novel is as impressive as it is disturbing.
At one point I was reading a chapter near the middle whcih was startling me so much I jumped and hit the ceiling when my coat fell from it's hook. Any fans of the supernatural, true crime will relish this.
4.0 out of 5 stars A great debut for B.P Smythe with a horror story of plotting and murder.,
The book canters along at a good pace, setting the scene and providing well rounded character descriptions and backgrounds where needed. Throughout the book the action is grounded within everyday events and places, which result in some chilling scenes. There were times I came over all pantomim-ish and wanted to yell "she's behind you" but that just indicates how successful the author is at creating an air of anticipation. Equally there were unexpected moments where I was sure someone would come to a sticky end...yet didn't. The book concludes well, satisfying those who like their endings 'cut and dried' but still leaving a little room for imagination.
My only criticisms (and these are aimed at the publisher not the author) is that there is far too much information given in the back-of-book-blurb and that a good proofreader would have been useful. There were too many incorrect spellings which had obviously slipped through the spell check because they ARE words, but clearly not used in the correct context (source instead of sauce on p.226 for instance). Overall though, a fast-paced and plausible yarn :)
3.0 out of 5 stars once it's pulled you in after 50 pages or so, keeps you there.,
The blurb I've given you is blocked out (N/A if you're reading this on goodreads or Amazon---If on the blog, you can highlight the block to read the full thing) for a good reason. The blurb off goodreads gives away so much.
I wasn't really a fan of the start. It dragged on a fair bit and the fact there were two Elizabeths was really confusing. However, once it got started, it really did get going properly.
Liz W and Norman, while I never really liked them, I understood their motives and characters perfectly. As more people are killed off, the pace really gets going, but I never lost control of where I was in terms of who was alive and who was dead. The little minor characters got a lot of backstory, a nice touch.
I definitely recognised the Stephen King references. Somebody's mother in particular was essentially Margaret White, I think the name was (Carrie's mother) and I'm sure there were many more.
The ending was great. it's a Halloween party and an illusion involving a guillotine and I just kept wanting to read on and on by then.
The plot twists were really good, unexpected and really good fun. The ending was generally satisfying and I can't wait for Smythe's next novel-a more indepth look at Liz W's history.
Overall: Strength 3 tea to a good book that, once it's pulled you in after 50 pages or so, keeps you there.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced thriller introduces dastardly villainess,
Elizabeth Waverly is evil to the core and soon begins disposing of anyone who gets in her way. There is also a supernatural element that adds to the horror in the book. Having said that, I didn't see this as a `horror' story; it is firstly a thriller full of action which includes murder, gory accounts of unexpected deaths, strange noises in a bathroom, the power and destruction of fires, the use of a guillotine and the antics of the wonderful Majorca Presa Canario dogs.
Barry Smythe has done an excellent job in producing well-formed characters who can either earn our loathing or sympathy through their actions but, also through learning about their earlier experiences, we can understand what makes them tick. Even though we can understand, there is no way we would ever forgive Elizabeth Waverly as she is a calculating killer.
I was really entertained by this story. There is suspense, surprises, and shocking moments but there is also a lot of humour that made me laugh and a sense that the reader is close to the action. Just don't expect all the characters to come out of meeting Elizabeth Waverly unscathed.
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Dimension of Fright,
"Sow and You Shall Reap" is the macabre story of an evil woman's effort to gain a fortune. Her conscience having been stifled by an abusive childhood, she will do anything to get what she wants, and she moves ahead with her inventive plans leaving a trail of blood and corpses behind her. Thus, the plot takes sudden and unexpected twists and flights as she strives, no matter what happens, to turn every development to her advantage. Starting by replacing a co-worker by murdering her and assuming her identity, this extraordinary heroine recognizes no obstacles as she advances toward her goal of wealth and pleasure.
Barry P. Smythe is a natural story teller with the ability to create a movie with the written word. His fertile imagination is matched by his powers of description as he takes his reader through one alarming situation into another. The book becomes more and more difficult to put down, and when the main characters move to a haunted hotel, a whole new dimension of fright emerges as earthly and supernatural events lead into the astonishing ending.
Enthralling drama, well developed characters, excellent narration, and fast paced, unexpected events combine to create a striking thriller. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a great read.
4.0 out of 5 stars An action-packed thriller chock full of surprises,
After serving time for abusing the elderly that were under her care at Gossmoor Park Care Home, Elizabeth Waverly is determined to exact her revenge on the woman she blames for her arrest: Elizabeth Carragher, the cook at Gossmoor. Not only does she, with the help of Norman, her erstwhile partner in crime, murder Carragher and her mother, she then assumes Carragher's identity in order to collect the substantial inheritance coming her way. The plan goes awry, however, when a half-brother turns up out of nowhere and inherits everything himself. Ever the resourceful ones, Elizabeth and Norman make plans to kidnap Victor's young daughter and, by way of insurance, implicate Victor in the real Elizabeth Carragher's murder. Then Victor suddenly buys a restaurant and moves to Majorca - but he doesn't forget his "sister," offering her a job helping him run the place. Majorca will be no island paradise for anyone once Elizabeth arrives, as a string of disappearances and violent deaths will follow in her wake.
Smythe goes to great lengths to explore the backgrounds of a number of his characters - even a few who aren't all that important in the grand scheme of things. At times, I felt like this disrupted the flow of the story away from the main characters, particularly Elizabeth. As for Elizabeth's own hardships in the past, I must say that they may help explain why she is the way she is, but they do nothing to inspire compassion in the reader, as this woman is just plain evil. The horror doesn't begin and end with Elizabeth, either, as a couple of the most tragic circumstances play out wholly independent of her evil machinations. Smythe is more than capable of sucker punching the reader in the gut when he/she least suspects it - and he has even more surprises in store for the last few chapters.
There are a number of minor mistakes in these pages, but don't let that dissuade you from picking the book up, as you can quickly adapt to Smythe's writing style and lose yourself in what is truly an action-packed series of events. I do think the book should have ended one chapter sooner than it did, but I'm telling you that the buildup to this novel's conclusion offers up some of the most intense and absorbing story-telling I've come across in a long time.
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting,
A book like this has to be very special for me to enjoy it. I usually dislike the constant shifting between the many characters that have been introduced; however, the author of this book does it extremely well. Each character is interesting and the flashbacks of their past serves as entertaining material and not just boring filler scenes that divert from the main plot for no reason. We get to see the skeletons in their closets, which makes the reader connect more to them on some level.
Elizabeth and Norman were fantastic baddies, but Elizabeth was definitely the top evil bitch. Considering her childhood, it wasn't surprising the way she turned out. She got what she wanted because she would do anything to get it. She was also a very smart cookie. If only I could say that about Norman.
The book was full of twists and turns that I didn't see coming. Some shocked me and some made me quite disappointed. No character was safe, even the ones I favoured, but it just added to the excitement.
I would class this more as a thriller than a horror, as the haunted part took a while to kick in. Or perhaps a horror thriller? Nevertheless, it was quite creepy at times, yet it didn't go over the top to the point of being silly. Sometimes subtlety is best.
The problem that knocked off that last star was the constant spelling and grammatical errors. It riddled this book and to me, being somewhat of a perfectionist, it was annoying. Where there was `to', it should have been `too'. Where there was `there', it should have been `they're'. Also the question marks that were found at the end of sentences that weren't actually questions at all. And yes, the blurb does give away almost the whole story, but if you look past all that, the book is definitely worth reading.
"All author royalties and profits from Sow and You Shall Reap will be donated to Cancer Research UK." This is such an honourable and generous thing to do.
I wish B.P. Smythe the best of luck with his work.
© Catherine Forbes 2011
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this book...,
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SOW AND YOU SHALL REAP by Barry Smythe