An Unquiet Past (Terry Kerr)Released: 30th January, 2015
Four hundred years ago, in the Cotswold village of Willow, a young woman was hanged for a series of terrible child murders. Now, in the present day, she reaches out from beyond death to a writer with a terrible secret in order to prove her innocence, and finally reveal the identity of the true murderer - with terrifying consequences.
* * * * *
It's the story of an author with an unquiet past of his own, who rents a house in the Cotswolds in order to get on with his work. From there, strange, frightening and often violent happenings occur.
Steven Vaughn is an intriguing main character, with facets to his personality and behaviour that won't sit well with some (possibly even most) readers. The narrative is first-person and it's 'stream of consciousness', so we are given insights into how he feels about his appalling treatment of his ex-wife, but this is not done to titillate, or glorify domestic abuse. Rather, it is the context to what happens to him in this story.
Without giving anything else away, there are past crimes to be solved, and an innocent person to absolve. The conclusion is not 'happy ending' but all of the loose ends are tied in a more than satisfactory fashion.
This is an outstanding piece of writing. Terry Kerr's style is fluent and colourful with a beautiful rhythm. The story itself is full of suspense.
A great read - recommended for anyone who enjoys horror / supernatural thrillers, or even those of us who just love great writing.
Available as both a paperback and ebook edition: beatentrackpublishing.com/anunquietpast
Ruminations (Debbie McGowan)Released: 14th February, 2015
Seventeen-year-old Josh Sandison has waited his whole life to go to university. Gifted—and bullied for being different—he hopes it will be a change for the better. Instead he encounters the unexpected, when strange things start happening in his room.
When Sean Tierney arrives at university, three days late and broke, the two strike up an unlikely friendship.
But can they solve the spooky mystery of the third floor?
* * * * *
This was my very first jaunt into the great wide world of the Hiding Behind the Couch Series, though not my first Debbie McGowan book. (Obviously!) I'm a huge (and unabashed) fan of Debbie's and have decided she is my author of the year. (Y'know, when you latch onto a new author and read everything they've written!)
In the past, McGowan has had the power to paint settings so beautiful that I'm lulled into a false sense of "all is right"-ness which gives the author the ability to then rip the still beating heart from my chest! (More often than not, she gives it back, though.)
This said, "Ruminations" trends on the lighter side, following two *very different* young college students--Josh and Sean--one straight, one ambiguous, and their unlikely friendship. I lost myself so completely in their friendship and in the ways they changed each other... Plus there's a ghost story with a big reveal that despite CONSTANT GUESSING on my part, I did not see the big reveal coming. ;)
I REALLY wanted to know more about Josh's friend George who is attending a different University... (There's some later books that I'm going to have to read now that deal with them!)
Available as both a paperback and ebook edition: beatentrackpublishing.com/ruminations
Silent Woods (Ofelia Gränd)Released: 21st February, 2015
When Daniel's husband Anders takes the family camping in the woods, Daniel can't shake the feeling that something isn't right.
He almost dismisses his fears as nothing more than his dislike of the great outdoors, but when the couple's five-year-old son Axel goes missing, his worst fears are confirmed.
A search party reveals something more sinister than either man could ever have dreamed of encountering in the woods. Can they find Axel and save him before it's too late?
* * * * *
Daniel's husband Anders is the outdoorsy type and maybe a little bit mocking of Daniel's loathing of camping and outdoor adventures, but, as is usually the way with family life, the minority relents for the good of the many, and so the family head out for a couple of days camping in the woods.
The woods are quiet - not just in an out-of-town, at-one-with-nature kind of way - but unnaturally so. But before it all goes to hell, Daniel and Anders manage a bit of smoochy (in the usual way parents do when their kids are sleeping nearby - after all, this is primarily paranormal fiction) and even then Daniel is sensitive to the strangeness of the woods.
From there? Well son Axel goes missing and it all gets very spooky.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water... is very much something that will play on my mind after reading this.
A great short read for one of those nights when the wind howls and a distant owl hoots. You just need to start worrying when it stops.
Available as both a paperback and ebook edition: beatentrackpublishing.com/silentwoods