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Engrossing Horror Novella
on 18 September 2012
In a big house in the English countryside, a reclusive and increasingly unstable author toils over a book which will close the best-selling trilogy of Jade Nexus fantasy novels.
Speculation and rumour are rife among hardcore Jade Nexus fans that their heroine will die at the hotly-anticipated novel's conclusion - a possibility against which they have begun to loudly protest via social media as the release date nears.
How do you deal with such intense pressure? How do you cope with distractions to your work such as a violent intruder, panicked messages from your agent and a potential love interest moving into the cottage across the field? And far worse than any of those problems... what do you do about the Beast in your basement?
Occasionally I like to throw caution to the wind and take a chance when it comes to my reading. I have a long list of authors whose work I enjoy, but I am always on the look out for new names to add. One of the best ways I've found to indulge this devil may care attitude is with short fiction and novellas. Its low risk, has a quick turnaround and every so often you'll come across a name that's new to you and whose writing you know you're going to enjoy.
At first glance Beast In The Basement appears to fall into the traditional man versus monster horror tale; don't be fooled, it's not. Unfortunately, that's all I can tell you, for fear of spoiling the surprise.....
Ohh alright. A bit more then, but like I said no spoilers.
Very quickly, you get a sense that something is not quite right. Yes, there is no denying that the main protagonist has plenty of everyday stresses in their life, manuscripts to deliver and all that, but there is also the suggestion of something far more insidious going on. Like all the best psychological horror there is feeling that everything is slightly off kilter.
Beast in the Basement is the rarest of things, a story that manages to keep you guessing right up until the end. Arnopp obviously delights in messing with his readership's heads. Just when I thought I had a handle on what was happening and started to suspect where things where going, another literary curve ball smashed into my unsuspecting brain. I really can't get enough of writing like this. It's always a delight to have my expectations exceeded so spectacularly. I've read a lot of horror over the years and my absolute favourites are the stories that are believable, contain genuinely unexpected moments and ultimately make you pause for thought. Arnopp manages to skillfully meet all these requirements and then some. Well worth checking out, I don't think you'll be disappointed.