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on 18 May 2011
Peter is lonely for many reasons. The normal method of having a girlfriend who is independent, doesn't work for him, so he feels forced into the course he has chosen.

Vanessa is a pretty girl with a happy family that is the latest in Peter's line of Girlfriends. He is so certain that she is the one, that he decides all she needs to love him is time alone with him.

I had a couple of bad dreams after reading "Happy Ever After". However, before you decide not to buy it, this isn't a bad thing. It's just a sign of how good the writing is. I don't normally get dreams from books, my skin is thick enough for the scenarios to bounce off it. Matt Shaw however got under my skin with his.

Matt's writing is wonderful; he draws you in and keeps you there. Told through the eyes of the characters, the chill comes from the brick wall Peter has built. He is determined to keep Vanessa to himself... forever. The descriptions of the environment are vivid and the switch between viewpoints handled neatly - no head hopping here!
The point of view adds an intimacy to their interactions and as Vanessa realises her situation, you get a panicky claustrophobic feeling from her.

There isn't a happy ending and that may put some readers off.
However, the realism of the story makes up for that and by the end I had tears in my eyes for both the characters.

I feel that there is more to the story that could be told. While it is a short book, the intensity of the reading experience is superb and I can see this being a movie very easily.
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on 11 February 2012
I had been stuck inside for five days suffering from the dreaded flu and had completely overdosed on the tellybox so I decided to download some more books onto my kindle. Luckily this gem was listed and I clicked on it to see what it was, after reading the reviews and relating to Vanessas plight at being trapped I instantly downloaded it and read it without stopping once that same day. I then downloaded 'GSOH' and 'A Fresh start', and read those one after the other yesterday.
I'm sad I've finished the trilogy because they really were all brilliant books and although I wanted to get to the end to find out what happened, I didnt want it to finish.
I love the authors style of writing, how there are not nine million characters padding it out or cluttering it up and how in this book its seen from the angle of the two main characters both of which, I felt oddly sorry for.
I've been a big horror fan since I was young and this is just my kind of book. Chilling and something I really wish I'd written.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes something a little bit different, in fact I've already recommended the trilogy to one of my friends last night as I want to talk to someone about it, because as other reviewers have said 'it stays with you'.
Well done Matt Shaw, I am looking forward to reading your other work (two already downloaded onto my kindle and ready to go).
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on 28 August 2012
I wasn't expecting this to be a humorous horror, but the book description was just too tempting, and reading the sample confirmed my suspicions:

"I really don't want to have to kill her. She's prettier than the others and the garage is getting full. That reminds me; I need to buy more air freshener."

The story is written from both Peter and Vanessa's point of view as they try to come to terms with being the ideal, loved up couple. Even if Vanessa doesn't see it that way. Throughout the book, there is an undertone of dark, almost unintentional humour from Peter as he struggles to show Vanessa how much he loves her. He has some sort of skewed understanding of love and seems confused, at times nonchalant, as to why things just aren't working right, which for me was both horrifying and funny to read.

However, the plot does get more disturbing as it continues, and I could feel the desperation Vanessa felt. There's a few twists and turns that I wasn't anticipating and towards the end I did become a bit sympathetic towards Peter too. The ending is...intensely bittersweet and I honestly just sat down for 10 minutes after I finished reading in a state of bewilderment and sadness.

I would recommend reading this as it's just so different to books I usually read and the way it's been written just hooks you in and leaves you wondering what the hell will happen next. It is a bit graphic, so those with a faint heart might find it uncomfortable, but (for me anyway) it's worth it. Also the look on my mum's face when I explained to her what I'd just read was worth it in itself!
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on 7 September 2012
Started straight into the action, Peter is clearly a loon! with a memory issue!
yuck yuck yuck at free meat!
The dead pan delivery makes for chilling reading.
Such intimate details left me feeling like I was doing the dirty deeds of hell.
Then the story switches in a really clever way to the victims PoV; I found this fascinating.
Reading the back and forth between them is enlightening but even as he shares elements of himself with her you cant help thinking, sorry that's just not a good enough reason.
The complete horror she is exposed to is enough to turn anyone bonkers, but she does seem to pick a very in opportune moment!

Her "escape" is brutal but then the story drops off a cliff, for me anyway, I notice other reviews think its amazing... yes there are other books, but I hated the ending of this.
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on 25 August 2012
Matt Shaw's dark sense of humour really makes itself known in Happy Ever After. I think the thing I liked most about this book was being able to really get inside the heads of both the characters, being written from the point of view of both the captive and the kidnapper, both with very different takes on the situation. Peter obviously has an inability to see that he has done any wrong by taking a young lady and holding her against her will, choosing to believe that in time, if she only gets to know him, she will fall in love with him and they will live happily ever after. Sounds reasonable enough.

I actually think Peter could be quite a catch if he sought some help for his possessive, over-bearing, controlling tendencies ;) But I digress....

If you like your horror gruesome (whilst injected with just the right amount of light humour) you will love Happy Ever After and it's prequel G.S.O.H Essential.
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This is the story of Pete and Vanessa. All Peter wants is for Vanessa to love him and for them to live happily ever after. All Vanessa wants is for Peter to un-cuff her and let her go.

This was very dark and quite graphic but was still thoroughly engrossing, and no less enjoyable for it. Told in alternate points of view from Vanessa and Peter, it is actually the second story in a series of three but still stands alone quite well. It was recommended to me by a friend and I am so glad she did! It is unrelenting but fantastic. Peter is slightly demented, no actually he's quite psychotic...and sees the world differently from most people. Vanessa is his hapless victim but she has an inner strength and refuses to give up. Great stuff! I am looking forward to the others now.
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on 2 September 2012
WOW!
I'm your typical horror/zombie/supernatural reader... so this book is a little out of my comfort zone, HOWEVER!! I loved the way in which Matt has portrayed the characters, the twists and turns meant I just could not put this book down. No really- I mean it, be prepared to make time for this novel and read this in one sitting because you won't be doing anything else.
The main character Peter has issues... that's all I'm going to say... but what's interesting is I believe everyone knows someone a little like Peter whether it's just one of his mannerisms or behavioural issues there's bound to be someone you know/see/a psycho ex that you think... well.. it doesn't take much... I really don't want to spoil anything for anyone- but I really did not see the ending coming... now BUY IT! HAPPY READING!!
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on 14 February 2012
I was fortunate enough to notice "Happy Ever After" in the top 100 free books recently, so I thought I'd give it a go, nothing to lose - it's FREE! And I am so glad I did.
This is a relatively short book, but together with the prequel "G.S.O.H Essential" and sequel "A Fresh Start" you can continue reading the full, wonderful story. Although saying that this stands as a great story on its own. I'm sure however that once you've read it, you will want to read the other two books in the trilogy.
I love the style of these books - written almost entirely using speech and inner monologue. No time is wasted on lengthy, unnecessary descriptions. The main character of Peter is pure genius. Matt Shaw has created a character that, in spite of the dreadful things he does, remains a sympathetic and strangely likeable psychopath.
Above all these books made me laugh. Despite the dark and often horrific subject matter, Peter never failed to make me chuckle at the way he justified his actions.
I would thoroughly recommend this trilogy to anyone who enjoys horror and has a sense of humour.
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on 19 August 2012
This is the 3rd Matt Shaw book I have read and I loved it. I downloaded it as a freebie but would have gladly paid for it. I recently discovered Matt's work and find his stories gripping.
When Peter abducts Vanessa he intends for the two of them to live happily ever after. Vanessa however has other ideas. Will she be able to escape from Peter's clutches or will Peter's twisted plan succeed?
From the first page I was hooked and I couldn't put it down until I knew what Vanessa's fate would be.
I have a couple more of Matt's books on my kindle so will now start reading G.O.S.H the prequel to this book.
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on 25 September 2012
This short book tells the tale of a loner named Peter and his 'girlfriend' Vanessa.

In no way is this your average love story, but a dark tale of kidnapping and survival.

Brilliantly told with some very funny thoughts/comments by both characters.

I will read much more of this author's work as I found this both original & thoughtful.
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