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Mr. SA Hamilton "Shambles" (Cheshire)
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Last Days
Last Days
by Adam Nevill
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Ghosts... Cults... Sex... Last Days, 19 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Last Days (Paperback)
The power of a book is in the legacy it leaves.
I read LAST DAYS over six months ago, with the intention of writing a review as soon as I put the book down. All throughout I was looking forward to offering another review extolling the joys and wonder of yet another Adam Nevill tomb. I made notes as I read, inserted bookmarks where necessary after reading something completely mind blowing and told those around me how "fan-dabby-doozy" the book was.
But then I finished the book. And I put it down. And I abandoned the review. Notes were thrown away and bookmarks discarded. The book put back on the shelf next to all of my other Adam Nevill books and a Polish police procedure novel I'm still to read.
Why? Did I not like LAST DAYS?
No. I loved it. It's brilliant.
Was I so offended by something?
Far from it.
So why?
Simple: it's over six months and there are still parts of that book which reach out to me in my dreams and turn restful sleep into nightmares.
You see, I have a terrible memory. All too often I will complete a book and it will be forgotten within 48 hours of me putting it back on the shelf. So any book which stays with me beyond those 48 hours has done something right. And this isn't the first book to do this in 2013. There are a couple of others, which I intend to talk about at a later date. But with LAST DAYS... holy, holy... sweet Moly!
If you've read the book, you will know the scenes I am on about. If you are yet to enjoy Adam Nevill's brilliance, I won't spoil things for you with a heads up. I went into this book totally blind and it's only fair that you do the same.
What I can say is this: remember the true, nasty, real life documentary-type movies such as CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and BLAIR WITH PROJECT? Well LAST DAYS contains elements of those and sum. But there's Waco in there. And Charles Manson. And Order of the Temple of the East. So many different ingredients and all of them terrifying - if manipulated correctly -
And as my dreams will testify, Adam Nevill is the master of manipulation.
This is his best book since BANQUET and will, with any luck, reach a huge audience and give the author the glory he deserves...


XXX Porn Star Interviews: Busty Blondes Volume 1
XXX Porn Star Interviews: Busty Blondes Volume 1

4.0 out of 5 stars Busty Blondes 7.5/10, 4 Sept. 2011
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I have been interested in porn stars for a long time. The idea of women willing to give themselves up in front of camera has always fascinated me but the amount of material out there on the subject is rather limited. Most of the pornography writing is by academics. The best way to find out what the actresses feel like is to ask them, not to write about your own opinion (whatever that may be) and assume they feel the same. Busty Blondes is a great place to start. The interviews aren't very probing, but the girls are willing to speak their minds freely, showing their intellect, their enthusiasm and their realistic views on the world. I prefer interviews of this nature to autobiographies because the important bits do not get lost in self-opinionated waffle - or even cut out by prudish publishers. Hearing how some of the girls prefer to work with certain actors or companies is fascinating because it gives you a glimpse of how they're really being treated rather than how certain people would want to think they're being treated.

So not perfect but when there's so little of this type of thing out there, not bad either


XXX Porn Star Interviews: Busty Brunettes Volume 2
XXX Porn Star Interviews: Busty Brunettes Volume 2

4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Brunettes 7.5/10, 4 Sept. 2011
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I really enjoyed this.

The manner in which the girls express themselves so freely and with great bounds of enthusiasm must surely be an argument against those who believe all pornography is an insult and evil to women (and I know much of it is but I also know much of it isn't). My only downer on this book is that it would have been nice to read more interviews - including those who fall into the industry and regret their actions as opposed to those who seek it out and love it for all its worth. Some of the questions were a bit repetitive, which led to similar answers amongst some of the girls, so if there had been a broader range in both numbers and questions, a more balanced reading of the porn industry would have been achieved. But given the reluctance by some publishers to even print books involving the words 'porn star', this is great place to start for all those wanting to know the mindsets of those performing in the industry (as long as they're brunette!)


The Ritual: Now A Major Film, The Most Thrilling Chiller You'll Read This Year
The Ritual: Now A Major Film, The Most Thrilling Chiller You'll Read This Year
by Adam Nevill
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE RITUAL by Adam Nevill 9/10, 4 Sept. 2011
I cannot deny it, I love Adam Nevill's work. BANQUET FOR THE DAMNED went straight into my Top Ten Best Books of All Time. APARTMENT 16, whilst more difficult to get into than BANQUET is easily streets ahead of so many other wannabe horror writers. At one point during my reading of A16, I had to get up to make sure the front and back doors were locked. I bought a copy of BANQUET for my mother and she had to put it down halfway through because it gave her nightmares. In short, Adam has a unique ability to make you wonder if its safe to turn the page.

And THE RITUAL maintains this excellent ability.

With a simpler, more recognisable plot that its predecessors, THE RITUAL is by far the easiest of the 3 to get into. I picked it up after going through a month of not reading. I'd been unable to focus on anything for more than just a few pages and began to wonder if I was ever going to complete a book again before THE RITUAL put me straight. With images straight from Dennis Wheatley, Deliverance, Hammer Horror and Southern Comfort, this is a book that never lets up. It is claustrophobic to the extreme. His protagonists are out in the open, lost if a Scandinavian forest and yet it feels like they're mice trapped inside a maze on a laboratory desk. Their very existence soon becomes futile. When they're picked off one-by-one, I feel no shame in admitting that I actually jumped when victim number two was despatched.

THE RITUAL is actually two books in one. The first half is desolation, despair and an immense lack of hope due to claustrophobia and their being played with by an unseen creature (which is a masterstroke in my opinion); the second half has the same qualities only the claustrophobia is replaced by devil worship and death metal. As an expert in heavy rock and metal, Adam is more than qualified to discuss the matter and the beliefs expressed towards groups such as Cradle of Filth are both fascinating and hilarious.

Scarier than A16 and more amenable to Adam virgins than BANQUET, THE RITUAL is a superb novel from a man who must have both the spirits of MR James and Jimmy Sangster nestling in his soul


The Concrete Grove (The Concrete Grove Trilogy)
The Concrete Grove (The Concrete Grove Trilogy)
by Gary McMahon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE CONCRETE GROVE by Gary McMahon 8.5 /10, 4 Sept. 2011
This review contains minor spoilers. If you don't want to know, don't read on.

I recently stated that I believe Gary McMahon is fast becoming the master of urban horror - and with THE CONCRETE GROVE, he again proves my point.

Unlike his previous effort, PRETTY LITTLE DEAD THING, which is a disturbing crime novel with horror elements - much in the same way as John Connolly and his ilk - THE CONCRETE GROVE is a traditional horror involving a world within a world, a psycho trying to get from one to the other, an innocent child and a distraught mother - oh, and a carer who cannot abide the woman in his charge (aka, his wife). So all in all it contains most of the elements required to make an intriguing story. Some characters are despicable, others you want to slap while there are those you want to care and protect - which is ideal because you want to have a reaction to the characters. Like them or not, the worst thing a writer can do is produce a character no-one cares anything for. The plot is relatively simple - but then, surely the best ones are? - and handled with the appropriate care and attention. The only time I felt a slip up (for me personally) was the manner in which the mother (Lana) decided to wipe her debt. This monumental decision was made very quickly and just after she'd started a new relationship. Why someone would be willing to let themselves be gang-raped when on the cusp of a new love life is beyond me but then, I've never been in that situation and so I was willing to suspend my disbelief. And perhaps that's why this is a slight moan because Gary has this amazing ability of making fantasy horror seem real. Suddenly you believe there is another world just out of reach; you do think about the things you see in your peripheral vision. This willingness to be a lamb to the slaughter just seemed a little far-fetched (and yet is probably the closest thing to genuine fact). But it is a minor quibble and besides, once you find yourself reading the woman's treatment you find your heart quickening, your sweat seeping and your anger rising. So in that respect, it's job done!

My only other issue is that I would have enjoyed the thoughts of the 'sea cow' as she battled with her guilt for making her husband give up living his life to care for her after the fallout of the sins enjoyed with her lover. But I can understand why that wasn't included because it would affect the book's perfect pace.

Speaking of pace, Gary's work has been accused in the past of being too dark and too bleak. Well, THE CONCRETE GROVE is a fast read. A couple of days at most. If his novels were so dark and so bleak, surely it would be harder work to get through? A couple of days for each chapter perhaps? Not the case.

This is horror writing at its near best. There are only a few horror writers out there writing with Gary's skill - and Clive Barker and Stephen King (Gary's heroes) are not among them. I'm looking forward to the follow-up, SILENT VOICES, which I believe will genuinely cement his status as the top urban horror writer working today.


Pretty Little Dead Things
Pretty Little Dead Things
by Gary McMahon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Beginnings, 9 Dec. 2010
This is the story of a man hired to find a killer by one [unsavoury] individual and discover the truth behind a missing girl's disappearance by another [sympathetic] individual. And yet it is so much more.

Usher is tortured. Since surviving the road accident that stole him of his wife and daughter, the makeshift Private Eye has been able to see ghosts; thumbprints of those whose spirits are tortured by their passing. Feeling a duty to the dead and bereaved, he takes it upon himself to ease their way towards their chosen celestial plane. Sometimes he succeeds, sometimes he doesn't, and for those whose souls are left wanting, he further tortures himself by marking his body with their names. The dead seeking his help include a pretty murder victim - supposedly left to hang by her boyfriend - and a child who has died under the most appalling circumstances. He sees them all and does whatever he is capable of to soothe their pain.

Despite his abilities, in the years since the car crash, Usher has been unable to find the two ghosts he longs to see more than any other. Until he does so he will never move on with his life; a point painfully highlighted by his confusion regarding his love for an old friend with whom he had a one night stand with whilst his wife was alive. Add to this mixture a higher being who watches and manipulates Usher to satisfy his own warped desires and you have a man finding it impossible to be the individual he wants to be.

Gary McMahon has managed to capture the tragedy and guilt Usher carries with him like a prize by remaining sympathetic towards a character whose faults are more desperate than most. The loneliness Usher both craves and despises is written in such poetic prose it is difficult to turn a page without feeling the threat of a tear spilling down your cheek. At times you will want to grab Usher by the collar and slap him till he wakes up from his self-induced coma; other times you'll try to reach into the page and wrap a reassuring arm around his shoulders, telling him, `it's all right'. When you discover the fate of characters you have grown to care about, you want to switch your shock and anger towards the author for allowing something so beastly to happen. When you witness the moment of Usher's meeting with the man responsible for his wife's death, you are at odds with yourself: part of you wants him to enact revenge, the other wants forgiveness. And when the truth will out, again you're looking at Gary's photograph in the back cover, shaking your head in wonder.

Is it perfect? No. Of course not. Very few novels are but it's certainly a swift read, difficult to put down, full of original touches and stuffed with memorable characters

Does it deserve great success. Without any shadow of a doubt.

Will it live up to its expectations? It's already blown them out of the water.

Will it help the horror brand which is unfairly ridiculed by so many? Along with Adam Nevill, Joseph D'Lacey, Conrad Williams and Bill Hussey (to name but a few), horror is in danger of becoming respectable!

Bring on book 2!


One
One
by Conrad Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazon needs more stars, 10 May 2009
This review is from: One (Paperback)
Brilliant. Just brilliant.

This isn't just a prime example of masterful horror writing, it's a demonstration of how a much maligned genre can offer intelligence and emotion on a scale most authors of 'normal' fiction can only dream of. Fellow reviewers are correct when they compare the book with Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road', but it is so much more. The horror of Richard Jane's desperation to be reunited with his son far outweighs any visceral offerings provided by the apocalypse and its fall out - and trust me, there's plenty of blood on offer for those requiring satisfaction for that particular craving.

Unfortunately, though, I do not think it will receive the recognition it deserves, simply because it will be stored on the horror shelves of all bookshops. If someone can adapt 'The Road', then surely there must be someone out there would could adapt 'One'. To do otherwise would be almost as cruel as Richard Jane's agonies.


Banquet for the Damned
Banquet for the Damned
by Adam L G Nevill
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly, truly stunning, 18 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Banquet for the Damned (Paperback)
I cannot praise this book high enough. It really is a brilliant piece of work. Adam Nevill has managed to combine Victorian horror with a modern twist and in doing so, has discovered the missing link between Stephen King and M.R. James. Others have tried and failed - some miserably, others falling agonizingly short of the target - but Mr. Nevill has hit the mark. Believable characters, genuine suspence, strong dialogue and a protagonist the reader can relate to. Add to this the sheer quality of the writing and you have a book that deserves to take place at the top of the bestseller list.


Breeding Ground
Breeding Ground
by Sarah Pinborough
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Original..., 16 Sept. 2008
Apocalyptic novels aren't really my thing, but I was recommended this after reading Conrad Williams's THE UNBLEMISHED. If the end of the world were really my thing, I'd probably give this five stars, but I just can't do it. It's extremely well written (it's apparent Ms. Pinborough teaches English) and scary both in its description and its content.

As an annoyingly fickle reader, I have to say, I was very impressed - so much so I went out and bought THE HIDDEN, Ms. Pinborough's debut novel


The Hidden (Leisure Horror)
The Hidden (Leisure Horror)
by Sarah Pinborough
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Careful what you look for in the mirror..., 16 Sept. 2008
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As a debut novel, this is an extremely pleasing ghost story with a twist. Well written, some fairly disgusting description and a plot that moves apace without dragging its heals in undue distractions such as minor character's backgrounds. Horrific when it needs to be, but also pleasing that it makes you feel for the characters - so much so, by the time the explosive ending arrives, you've got your favourites and are crossing your fingers that they'll survive. No spoilers, but no disappointments either.


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