Hellllo readers and happy Christmas Eve. I’m going to put in a small spoiler – this is a seriously gushy review. There are some authors that I continue to go back to and this author is up there with my favourites – I think I’ve read three of his books/novellas now and they are all seriously brilliant. Some authors just have a way with words – character build up, action, description, feeling, emotion it all just works. I’ve got so much to talk about it so little time so onto the review lovely readers.
A group of inseparable childhood friends are now adults, physically and psychologically devastated by war… A horrifying creature emerges from a sandstorm just before Ricky Smith dies in battle. Forced to leave base housing, his widow Maggie buys a home on Oak Lee Road in the town of Jotham. Maggie is isolated in the historic house…and disconcerted by strange clicking sounds inside the walls.
When Maggie wakes in a strange subterranean cavern, she can’t deny her home harbors dark secrets. Desperate, she sends letters to her old friends to reunite in Jotham, and events conspire to draw them all to the house…unaware of the danger awaiting them. The friends have already been through hell, but can any of them survive the evil dwelling beneath the House on Oak Lee?
I’ve had to cut down the blurb a little because it is quite long but the crux of the book follows a group of former childhood friends (once named the Suicide Squad) who now as adults are each in situations they could never have foreseen happening. Each of them has been affected by war whether physically, mentally or emotionally but these are the least of the groups worries – there is something even more dangerous at play. When Maggie moves back in 1475 Oak Lee Road she unleashes an evil that is desperate on completely ruining everything.
So there’s kind of the nitty-gritty – onto the rest of the review. In terms of the group of friends the characterisation is utterly brilliantly. Each character is seamlessly created and they spring from the pages easily and with force.Maggie is a delightful character but the stresses and troubles from her past constantly undermine her and make her vulnerable, Jonathon wounded in battle and deeply traumatised by the death of Ricky is struggling with PTSD. Watching him try to deal with everything around him was deeply intriguing but utterly heartbreaking. Minister Jake Williams and Bobby are equally well drawn – both completely different and yet struggling to deal with the situations around them.
From the very first meeting with each of the characters you can relate completely to each and every one. It is very rare you can connect with so many characters so strongly so quickly. It is seamless. Utterly brilliant in fact. Additionally throughout we see each of the characters personally go through their minds for peace and understanding. There may be just one character in the scene and yet I was awestruck, mesmerised even, by the author’s ability to get me inside the characters head.
The writing style (as always) is utterly brilliant – read this, the first paragraph;
Gunfire rattled off in the distance. Screams, but here in this place there’s a strange way the dust swallows the sound, making it impossible to tell where the shots were coming from. An eerie yellowness interfused and covered everything, like some symbiotic creature, draining life. It’s in the air we breathe. On our uniforms and the thawbs the locals wear. It cakes the ground. You can see tire and feet tracks in the soft plumes of smoke kicked just a few inches off the ground. It even covers the garbage. God…the garbage seems to have no end.
and it continues all the way through. Every single paragraph, every sentence has been written with thought. You can tell that it’s all been utterly thought through and created to create this atmosphere that’s slightly uneasy and tense. I don’t know many authors that can do this. (Lizzy stop gushing) but honestly – bloody spot on.
In terms of the plot not all has been given away – we know there is evil, we know where it is but we’re not quite sure what it is, why is doing this and what it is doing. However throughout you are so compelled with drawing everything together it only leads the way to the next book and what further plot Thomas is going to draw together. I for one cannot wait. The writing is tense, exciting draws you in. This book is more of build up – getting to know each of the characters and yet the evil is building slowly but morbidly.
This is a fantastic horror story and I’m not surprised as soon as Thomas sends me a book I make a point to get it read as soon as. His writing is stunning, honest, open and full of passion and emotion. I believe Thomas served in the military and the emotion that is strong and honest especially in Johnathan’s story is just – perfect. Heartbreaking but perfect. I’m just going to leave with this. Hats off to you Thomas Flowers.