Rambling Review: Lee Hall’s Open Evening

A huge thank you to Megan for reviewing my debut novel ‘Open Evening’ which turns 5 in a matter of days!

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Lee Hall’s Open Evening (The Order of the Following Series)

“Hell I know Spike is the best looking and Xander has all the best lines,” I said. A smile began to emerge from Josie’s face.

That is the best thing I’ve read in a while. Lee Hall has a way with words, keeping it a fast paced, action driven horror story, and yet keeping it light hearted with the pop-culture references. Nods to using Buffy as comic relief in Open Evening.

As someone that consumed a lot of media growing up, everything from Saturday Morning Cartoons to Sitcoms to Night Time Dramas. The 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s were some of the best in T.V. pop-culture. In my personal experience. I did warn you that this is a rambling review.

Before I dive in, get yourself a beverage. I recommend water, because even though it’s now September it’s still…

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‘Home’ by Thomas Overlook – Review

Unique and intriguing. A page-turning tale that’ll take readers down the rabbit hole of what’s there and what isn’t…

Its quite difficult to pin point what this story is really about and how deep it goes, but for the majority I was addicted and kept reading to see where it went. To me, that’s a job done well and driven by that immersive intrigue, Thomas Overlook tells the story of a young couple who decide to start again away from the hustle and bustle of city life with their infant child. Then events start to turn strange.

There’s a multitude of different themes and things going on here, some are more obvious and on the surface while others go deeper. Much of the book is taken up by the inner workings of ‘Joel’ and ‘Aubrey’ or their memories but we are only shown and told so much to the point where everything seems to have a kind of surreal feel – this is a complex but imaginative set up for a book because the events that do happen gradually unfold while we find out only limited information about these two characters. The concept of what’s on the surface and what’s beneath starts to blend and uniquely the organisation which ‘Joel’ works for is deliberately omitted, something some readers may frown upon but an original concept and there is a heap of originality here. ‘Aubrey’ seems to have this kind of lustful subconsciousness while also perhaps hiding something. These characters aren’t fully revealed to the reader which only increases that intrigue.

Soon after moving into their new and remote house weird things begin to unfold. Is this an elaborate prankster or perhaps even a haunting? this is after ‘Joel’ may have unleashed something or at least stirred it. What ‘it’ is, we never really get an answer but it points towards something that lurks beneath the surface literally and psychologically. Is what ‘Joel’ appears to be seeing actually there or not? Could we actually be in the company of something that has always been there but is only awakened if disturbed? Rational thought begins to blend with the irrational as he tries to investigate what really is going on. Has ‘Joel’ really unleashed something that feels like its hunting him and his family?

“He was terrified but not mortally. It was a queer feeling, deep fear tinged with a silken sadness…”

Cause and effect comes into play here as these events put a strain on the couple. This has all the makings to suggest there is another lifeform amongst us but that is only really suggested – that’s what this book made me feel anyway and I am intrigued to see where it goes as this appears to only be part 1 of a wider series. You might not get any answers this time but the reading experience was entertaining overall and full of enough mysterious intrigue to at least entertain more of this immersive deep writing style and story. For those looking to have a lighter reading escape or even those who don’t enjoy deep thought this might not be the one for you, but those who enjoy complex stories that are open to wider interpretation then this is the one for you. It’s definitely one of the most unique reads I have come across in recent times.

4 Stars – An encapsulating and page turning read. This review first premiered on Reedsy Discovery.

Free and Discounted Books – Today Only!

For the first time ever all 7 of my books are being price promoted simultaneously to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Open Evening being published.

Without my debut novel nothing else would have followed and seeing as I have a plethora of books, they are all discounted except for Open Evening which is FREE to download today only!

Some thoughts, details and links are below. As always thank you for the continued support of your local neighbourhood indie author!

It’s kind of scary how time flies when your busy and trying to get the world to read your words and somehow it has been 5 years since my publishing journey began. Those who have been around a while will know in 2015 I basically started again with a project based partly on a bad dream and mostly on my own high school days of struggle. Add a little creature feature horror, scratch that, a lot of creature feature horror and somehow Open Evening was born. Originally taken from six sides of lined paper full of scratchy writing after my fourteen year old self tried to recollect the events of that bad dream, I somehow fashioned it years later, into a fully fledged book that probably means the most in all of my works.

Before Open Evening released in 2016. I kind of got caught up in the whole querying thing with sub-par science fiction that wasn’t ready and in truth I wasn’t ready so starting again paved the way to where I am now. Someday you might see that science fiction which has grown with me and I have a huge amount of books to offer the world but until then enjoy the ones I have available.

Some of the books on my shelf may be different in comparison but for today they are all the same price.

The Ghost Beside Me is a paranormal romance about an introvert who struggles with loneliness until something not of this mortal world tries to reach out. Based partly on my own paranormal experiences and a ghost story my late Grandfather told me its a short but powerful read. Perfect for the coming spooky season of Halloween and beyond.

The Teleporter, many of you will already know and this book has become my most successful title this year. With over 160 Amazon ratings in six months I think I can class it as a hit. Kurt Wiseman is a mid-twenties slouch who is suddenly thrown into his own super hero tale and has to make a choice in order to save the day. Full of comedic wit and fourth wall breaking fun, it is bound to make you laugh at some point.

Consistent Creative Content is basically the culmination of my journey as an author, blogger and social media personality. Part-memoir part-guide, this book is designed to show you what I’ve done to find success that I am happy with and how you can do that too. Follow my words.

Of course Open Evening is just the start of a wider series known as the Order of the Following. Every other book in that series is discounted for today!

Click on the banners for the links!

‘Evil Eye: A Slasher Story’ by April A. Taylor – Review

An unpredictable fast-paced slasher with plenty of twists and tension as the storm unfolds…

The looming threat of worsening weather combined with a killer on the loose makes for some fun and thrilling reading in a story that could easily be an evening spent at the cinema or at home via Netflix. Here we see a diverse group stranded and united by their will to survive a double whammy of hurricane and deranged killer.

From the very start there’s pace to a story that unfolds just like the hurricane that engulfs those left behind on an island. Soon enough they realise someone is hunting them down and so the real slasher story begins but it’s more than that. Each character has their own complexities and we see things from each of their unique perspectives which then interact with one another – most of the time in these stories it’s easy to pick out who will be taken down first but there’s an unpredictability here making it all the more enjoyable and page turning.

While we are used to our masked but faceless killers being without any dialogue the author carves an original path with her version of evil walking because for some of it he is also talking. As he slowly stalks his prey and throughout it feels as if there is no escape with the hurricane situation heightening that terror. And in this particular situation there is nowhere to run. To some that’s uncomfortable, but to me that’s the perfect storm of horror quite literally.

Although titled as a slasher I’ll happily admit it’s a lot more than that with some nods to modern issues in society and the wider world. Much of the time there’s seems to be a lack of ideas with the ending but for this one, there were a few final twists that capped of a fun read. So come for the slashing but stay for everything else this story is about, you’ll be pleasantly surprised while also being on edge.

4 Stars – This review first premiered on Reedsy Discovery

Last Outlaw: A Western Sci-Fi Horror – Read Part 1 for Free

The once reputable profession of being an outlaw is dying with the times. I ain’t the type to use words of the finer persuasion but I know what’s what in this world and these times are getting harder by the day. Folks like me have got to work to survive. That’s all this is, taking from the lesser man or woman to live. Some call it crime, but I call it opportunity and there are all types of people who are struggling to fit in with this now civilised society including me.

First I watch, and if that opportunity comes then I take. Only after half a shot of whisky is it apparent to see the saloon I was sitting in weren’t anywhere near the normal standards. The people around me, all of them seemed on edge. I’ve been a newcomer in a thousand small towns but this one had something sinister hiding in plain sight, I could feel it…

Read the rest of Part 1 for Free via Patreon here.

Patrons will be able to read the rest as it releases each week.

‘Last Outlaw’ a Sci-Fi Western by Lee Hall – Coming Soon

The year is 1902 and aging gunslinger John Arthur is doing his best to survive times becoming more civilised by the day. That is whilst trying to guide his adoptive daughter Bethany ‘The Blade’ Mason to adulthood. After a troubling vision; Arthur must put it to the back of his mind as an opportunity appears in the form of three stagecoaches worth of gold. This life-changing haul just happens to be sitting in the bank of the small strange town known as Haddington but something monstrous lurks beneath the surface. Heist soon turns to horror forcing outlaw and law to align in order to survive the unexpected.

Last Outlaw: The ‘Haddington Haul’ will premiere on Tuesday the 17th of August via Patreon.

Part One will be FREE to read.

You can read more about Lee Hall’s Patreon here

‘Fear Farm No Trespassers’ by S.J. Krandall – Review

Immersive page-turning horror stories full of thrills and chills…

S.J. Krandall delivers a delightfully chilling collection of page turning, fast-paced horror stories that will keep readers on the edge. All of them are linked and have that similar theme of something lurking in the shadows or the feeling of being followed. That sensory type of immersion is what I enjoyed the most – this is the stuff that will keep you up at night or if you are inclined to a good scare, perhaps the opposite.

Good horror takes a lot of work and imagination to balance and you’ll find it here paired with a style of writing that feeds the imagination.

While our imagination is given room to breathe these stories all start out with a slower pace which quickens as they unfold. This tempo makes for a dramatic thrill ride where the stakes unfold each time for different people who all seemingly succumb to similar gruesome ends. Based in countryside that is equal parts beauty and full of mystery that’s lurking for the next victim. Highly enjoyable and recommended for anyone who does enjoy horror with pace and a little blood.

5 Stars – Thank you to the author who provided a free copy in exchange for a review.

‘Nocturnal Salvation’ by Villimey Mist – Review

The Nocturnal series has returned and is better than ever…

Leia Walker faces the implications of her new affliction in this action packed third entry of a series that gets better and better. It’s clear to see Villimey Mist has grown as an author and she delivers this story with tight to the point description along with a style that’s easy to read. That growth and development translates to the diverse cast of characters; some familiar faces while others are still new – multiple characters is a hard thing to get right but for the best part of this book it’s executed well.

We get a front row seat to Leia’s struggle and inner conflict as she tries to adjust to her new reality. ‘Sophie’ although just a vision serves as a stark reminder of a journey that has now taken a different turn. There are sights and feelings not seen before in the series which adds a freshness and new dimension. The lust for blood our hero experiences is part of that conflict which she faces in near enough every direction.

“My blood sings a violent song of brutality. My bloodlust surges through me, and I allow the monster to take the reigns…”

From Amsterdam to London and then over to the US this jet setting story is high stakes, in fact they are the highest they have ever been and its enjoyable. From shoot-outs to car crashes the chase is on to find a cure for the deadly blood of ‘Adam’ a big bad who serves as a calculating sometimes slippery enemy adding to Leia’s conflict. She eventually starts to get used to her situation and takes a responsibility to protect those around her with a desire to be a better fighter. Concepts that are original for the genre are explored further – we see how the likes of ‘Sangues’ work and what it is like to be ‘feral’. There are dramatic turns and even shocking moments that’ll keep those pages turning before a resolve that is both satisfying and even a little emotional.

5 Stars – A great read that caps off an awesome series that represents the genre well. Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads.

‘Deification’ by Brooklynn Dean – Review

The intimate description and deep prose will consume you long before the apocalypse…

Brooklyn Dean delivers her unique brand of intimate description and style in this apocalyptic tale which carries a depth that’ll consume you and I’m okay with that. Set in a world after the ‘sky opened’ we meet ‘Torrence’ who is on a high stakes path to collect virtues and ascend to a whole new sinister level. She’ll promise you power in return for loyalty for helping her cause which is lined with violent and ritualistic blood spilling but before we even get there this story begins with intrigue and mystery. Just what happened in this part dystopian world? Who is ‘Torrence’ really? And what is she trying to achieve? This intrigue partnered alongside the vivid description and prose is where you’ll find the true strength because sometimes it’s not what’s there, but what could be and it’ll keep you turning pages while building the world in your imagination. Stories that let the imagination breathe like this are hard to come by.

“It was as if, for her and her brethren and her violent delights, the world should have always been this way…”

While on the surface there is symbolism near enough everywhere but like all of Brooklynn Dean’s works it operates on a much deeper level with metaphors throughout that individual readers will interpret in their own way – yet another strength this book has and watch out because it will consume you. To the less applied or even those not paying proper attention it might appear to be just about the end of days but I assure you it is more than that and you’ll find it happening beneath those words. Unique and stylistic, this is a story that cannot be missed.

5 Stars – an encapsulating and immersive read about so much more than the apocalypse.