Doctor Sleep – Movie Review

A perfect combination of homage to both Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick…

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Apparently this film isn’t doing well at the box office, that doesn’t mean a damn thing other than that most people probably haven’t read what is easily in my top 5 books of all time.

The movie translates rather well even if the book is of the typical Stephen King epic persuasion; there is only so much you can fit into a two and half hour run time and in all honesty they did a great job with this!

Ewan McGregor/ Obi Wan is perfect as an adult ‘Dan Torrance’ who has spent his life shrouded by the demons that haunted the Overlook Hotel while trying to control his extrasensory gift related to it known as the shining. That is while battling alcoholism; eventually he starts fresh in a new town and that’s when he starts getting messages from another who carries the same ability; enter ‘Abra’ played by Kyliegh Currann who may have actually stolen the show – like she does in the book but in this film more for her performance.

The world of the Shining is expanded via an organisation known as the ‘True Knot’. They feed on folks who ‘shine’ and so it’s up to ‘Abra’ and ‘Dan’ to team up and stop them because the ‘Knot’ are bad guys. This is essentially the plot but we get so much more, Rebecca Ferguson puts in an incredible depiction of ‘Rose the Hat’ and the ‘Knot’ are everything I imagined and pictured.

The last half hour of this film was a pure and wonderful homage to Kubrick’s masterpiece while also being wrapped up in the world Stephen King established. It’s a great sequel full of atmosphere, gripping performances, cinematography and dark imagination. Those who are into horror will enjoy this whether you have read or watched the first story; it doesn’t matter, this one will get ya!

4.5 Stars or 4.5 Here’s Johnny’s….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open Evening & Cemetery House are FREE to download today!

Halloween approaches, the leaves have turned and the temperature has began to recede. While the shadows do their best to cast over everything it’s time to embrace the season and the unexpected because both Open Evening and it’s sequel Cemetery House are free to download today and tomorrow only! (this is a one off deal) 

dfw-lh-3dx2Every published author has that book which broke them into the world of story telling and Open Evening is that for me. It’s a story in which I am immensely proud of and I pretty much got to work on making a sequel for straight after; that was after penning Darke Blood which happens to be set in the same world now known as the ‘Order of the Following’. 

There are going to be more books based on these stories coming soon!

So what are they about? 

Open Evening and Cemetery House are two fast paced reads of the unexpected and survival. They are about so much more than the horror that is on the surface; they highlight the social struggle of growing up along with what it’s really like to go through high school. As much as there is terror and action, they are stories of friendship, coming of age and above all life. Much of the stuff in this book represents the years I spent at school – so it’s real to an extent. 

Its ‘Alien’ meets ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ ‘Final Destination’ and ‘Blade’ all wrapped up in some Halloween spookyness!

A recent review of Open Evening: 

“If you ever found secondary school hard, then you’ll be able to relate to the main character. If you loved Buffy the vampire slayer, then you’ll love this book…”

You can download a copy of Open Evening here for free! 

Cemetery House then picks up literally three weeks after the events Open Evening. High School is over and those who survived have moved into the world of work while something else lurks just underneath the surface. Not only is this a sequel but in this one you get answers and the rabbit hole goes deeper into this world which will then lead into the Darke Blood sequel!

‘CH’ is ‘Jurassic Park’ meets ‘House on Haunted Hill’ while continuing on from Open Evening.

You can download a copy of Cemetery House here for free!

A recent review of Cemetery House: 

“I really enjoyed this follow up to Open evening, gripping story definitely a page turner for me…”

 

This is probably one of the only times both of these books will be available together for free! 

 

 

 

 

Chilling Book Recommendations for Halloween… Part 2

As we crawl closer to all Hallows eve the leaves are turning and the weather is drawing colder. Shadows begin to cast over what was once light and in that darkness you’ll find the unknown. To compliment the season here are some more chilling book recommendations…

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What more could want other than a chilling story that contains some truth? Of course I am talking about ‘Building 51’ by Jennifer L. Place. 

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Building 51 follows the events of seven friends as they embark on an exploration excursion of an abandoned former hospital for the insane. In terms of specific genre this one is literally right up my ‘alley’ and I loved every word. This is while being on the edge of terrified throughout.

Fusing elements of real history and the paranormal make this story and the characters in it feel like something is lurking and watching them. Something is and this gradually becomes apparent manifesting itself in a range of unique and creepy ways. Without giving any further spoilers I urge you to check it out, trust me you won’t regret reading this one!

 

‘While some monsters are born, others are created..’

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It’s the late 80’s in small town america where some young women have gone missing, one of them happens to look like the main character. What unfolds is a premise that fuses a guess who concept with a sophisticated slasher that delivers.

The Four Before Me by E.H. Night is book I found hard to put down with the many twists and turns along with elements of crime, mystery, suspense and of course some chilling horror. You could compare this book with the early works of Stephen King although the voice in this story is fresh and new trust me.

 

‘Sometimes you don’t get to choose where you are placed in the collective ecosystem of a High School…’

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Every reader collectively rolls their eyes as I plug my own work… Let’s face it without Open Evening and it’s ‘success’ I would have shut up shop a long time ago and yes it’s my debut novel, yes my writing has moved on a lot since and yes it might be ‘tween’ level lame – but I still like it and what it has become.

‘OE’ is a high school horror with a twist that points towards the ‘Body Snatchers’ meets ‘Blade’ which then meets ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and the truth is, I poured a lot of my own high school experiences into this book, so the stuff without the blood thirsty monsters of holy hell contains mostly truth. It’s going to be free to download on the 21st of this month along with it’s sequel ‘Cemetery House’. Both of these books share the same universe as Darke Blood also! 

There’s something lurking in the shadows of Druid Wood and it’s terrifying…

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Without taking anything away from any of the other books mentioned I have possibly left the most terrifying to last because ‘Within the Dark Places’ by Duncan Thompson sacred the shit out of me! And I mean that in the most sincere of senses because not only was I scared but I enjoyed this book, a lot!

This story follows a small group who decide to spend their weekend in a woods with chilling results. From the very beginning there’s a stack of mystery and intrigue as to what exactly is lurking in the shadows which starts to play on the readers imagination more than anything; something which is text book horror and also very effective in a book like this.

 That wraps up part two of my chilling book recommendations for Halloween. Have you got any? Hit me up and I’ll check them out, my list is always looking for new reads! 

 

Chilling Book Recommendations for Halloween… part 1

Halloween is just around the corner and considering horror is probably my favorite genre in both cinema and reading here are some chilling books I’ve read over the past year which I recommend…

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“Something happened tonight, I don’t know what. Something that ripped the veil between the Chicago of the living and the Chicago of the dead…” 

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‘Undertown: A Novella’ by K.Noel Moore is a chilling and clever fusing of history intertwined with real events set around the historic crime wave/prohibition era of 1930’s America.

I found myself reading this novella in one sitting within a few enjoyable hours. There are plenty of references and terms used in the narrative which are authentic to the historic era with a handy reference/definition section placed at the end of the book (something I felt was a nice touch and shows the author has put in a large amount of care, research and thought into).

Overall Undertown is a perfectly paced, easily readable and well written history novella with just the right amount of chills and atmosphere to make it stand out.

 

‘In space, not all things were certain… not even death’

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Next up is ‘Demonspawn’ by Christina Engela which is a sci-fi horror space story with psychological mystery and suspense throughout. The somewhat damned crew of the I.S.S. Mordrake; a ship seemingly stranded and damaged beyond repair in the furthest reaches of space then stumbles upon another ship, derelict and just floating there…

The story reminded me of films such as Alien and Event Horizon but Demonspawn could easily stand shoulder to shoulder with them. There were many concepts of the sci-fi genre in this book that were original and put together in a way not seen before anywhere else. You can grab yourself a copy here.

 

‘A slow burning tale that twists into the deep shadowy darkness of the unexpected…’

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In Blood of the Sixth’ by K.R Rowe  there’s a lot going on under the surface of a story which sits within the realms of gritty urban horror, mystery and witchcraft.

Blood of the Sixth has a complex interwoven plot which is delivered in a way that makes it an easy to follow read; something I imagine the author has worked tremendously hard to achieve. The whole layout of the book from short sharp chapter length, to characters all the way to general story has been well thought out.

For some parts of my reading experience I genuinely laughed and others I found to be quite harrowing (again in a good way) as there were some real graphic violent portions all of which fitted well for the genres. The use of description in some instances has been painstakingly constructed and again the hard work by K. R. Rowe is obvious to see so trust me when I say this book is good!

‘A modern vampire story that takes the reader on a journey of twists and turns…’

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There are only a handful of authors out there who are keeping the vampire genre alive and one of them is Villimey Mist who presents ‘Nocturnal Blood’ a story than convinced me throughout the duration of my reading experience that it truly is a great addition to the genre!

I found Nocturnal Blood to be a highly readable tale of bravery, friendship, character development and vampires; a genre in modern times that doesn’t get nearly enough credit especially when stories like this exist. Its also an important story in a sense that the M.C suffers from anxiety and O.C.D which is a brave thing for an author to write about!

The sequel is coming very soon so now would be a perfect time to grab yourself a copy!

 

“There are more than shadows lurking in the darkness of those trees.”

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Wait what? Your plugging your own book in this thing? My answer to you is fu** yeah and why not! Keeping with the theme of vampire stories here’s mine. ‘Darke Blood’ is a story that reviewers have convinced me is worth reading – I personally thought for quite some time it wasn’t that great but some awesome people have left some awesome reviews for a story I literally had to find my inner author to finish writing it! The journey is turning out to be worth it in the end and the sequel is coming next year!

Here’s a recent review by Blair from the awesome Feed the Crime blog… 

And with that self promo I have no shame in this is the end of part 1, stay tuned next week for part 2! 

Have you got a chilling book rec? Drop it in the comments because here at the Hall of information we are always looking for more book reads!

‘The Stairs’- a paranormal account

The events relayed in this account are true.

 

There are unexplained moments that happen in our lives. Some remain that way forever in the back of our minds and on the fringes of belief. For the majority, these ‘events’ are far and few between but then again there are some exceptions. My second paranormal experience was just that; an exception to the rule. It also happened to take place in the vicinity of where my previous one happened. I don’t believe in coincidence when it comes to the paranormal simply because of this…   

In the summer of 2017 I joined my significant other, her family and friends on what had become the annual two week trip to the south of France. For those who read my previous account  you’ll know the setting; a picturesque converted farm sitting on the hills of beautiful countryside. It’s remote and peaceful. The weather hot nearly everyday although this year the presence of bugs was way reduced due to a late frost.

Our particular digs like the other years a ‘gite’ which could hold up to 12 and on this trip 10 of us were about to become 12 at the midway point of the holiday when my S.O’s sister and her other half would be joining us. Their room sat opposite ours and my S.O’s in the right hand wing of the place. We had a bathroom between us and little stretch of narrow corridor which then flowed out to the main staircase. This staircase was fashioned out of dark red varnished wood and the steps were separately slotted into the wall. Like I mentioned previously when someone would climb these steps it’s would be difficult to miss with the distinctive wooden ‘drumming’ and vibrations which resonated against the wall whenever they were stepped upon.

On the night before our new arrivals were due I had already gone to bed when I had the rather strong urge to pee. I eventually gave in to those urges and decided to get up, I put the bedside lamp on and made my way to the door which I unlocked and headed out into the dark corridor. At this time the whole place was dead quiet, everyone was in bed by now and so it was dark but the little light from behind me showed the way and so I went into the bathroom, before I walked in I noticed the open bedroom door in front of me where our new arrivals would be staying the next night. The room sat in the shadows and in my grogginess I shuffled into the bathroom and closed the door.

Being half asleep I took the decision to sit on the toilet and during so I heard the distinctive sound of footsteps drumming up the stairs. Was someone up at this hour? The steps pattered on wood as they continued from what I presumed was the ground until they reached our level. I had the distinct feeling someone was rushing into our wing of the gite and flowing past the door I was behind and into the vacant bedroom. What followed was a loud echoing slamming which sounded like what could have been a heavy door closing.

I finished my business and headed out into the corridor. Immediately I put the light on to see nobody in sight. I walked to the stairs to see nobody around. My inspection of the situation pointed towards nobody I knew being around at the same time. That slamming sound, so distinct and even harrowing, I am swaying towards belief that it was something not of this mortal coil.

Some encounters remain unexplained…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darke Blood: You’ve never known true darkness is FREE to download today!

“If you were to only read one new vampire book I would recommend Darke Blood. “

These aren’t my words but words from a recent review of my words known as Darke Blood. I feel as if I have said ‘words’ too much but I’m not kidding when I say Darke Blood is free to download today until this Friday and I give you my word…

This is a limited one time deal and Darke Blood probably won’t be free to download for quite some time. I’ve also said Darke Blood too much haven’t I?

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It’s a pretty looking cover, but admittedly most folks don’t just judge a book by its cover these days, especially well read cultured types such as yourself. So you’ve seen the front cover, but what does the blurb say? 

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In the past year I’ve managed to convince just a handful of awesome folks to review ‘DB’.

One of those recent reviews came from awesome book blogger Blair of Feed the Crime  and she had these thoughts to share…

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“This book wasn’t the cliche of a dark stranger arriving in town and rescuing the damsels. Blake doesn’t even know who he is, never mind taking on vampires and witches!”

“I was blindsided by the last 20% of this book, like where did all these revelations come from?
Mind = Blown”

You can read the full review here

From the inspirational mind of Billy Mays let me say….

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!

And so here’s another recent review from Hall of Information Hall of Fame Supporter Jaycee Lynch of Thinking Moon Blog. Trust me when I say this book has got some very important admirers…

“I usually have very high standards when it comes to vampire novels (loved King’s Salem’s Lot, did not care for Meyer’s Twilight), so when I say Darke Blood is an interesting vampire novel, believe me. There is intrigue from the moment the book starts and although you are mainly focused on Blake Malone’s exploits for me the true protagonist is Caitlyn. The mystery unfolds page by page and you are hooked until the last word. A fun yet thrilling read.”

You can read JC’s full review here 

 

Final Attempt at selling you something that is FREE…. 

 

Darke Blood is set in a wider universe that also contains two other books I have written. If this current promotion is a success and enough folks download it and review it, then there will be a sequel. You can read yesterday’s post where I poured my guts out about this subject…

Disclaimer * No real guts were poured out. I am fine. I think. 

Where can you find Darke Blood? Right here

 

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That many likes for something without a cat, food or cleavage…

 

IT Chapter 2 – Review

Derry, Maine – 27 Years later – the ‘losers’ club reunite to take on the horrors that haunted them as kids in what is probably the most anticipated film of 2019 and guess what, they didn’t fu** it up! In fact there are several references to not liking endings throughout what is one hell of culmination and personally, enough to cap off one hell of story…. 

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Pennywise has risen and the film opens with reference to the pact which the loser’s club made to face him if he would ever return. The story then begins in ‘present’ day. Things start off quite brutal and really are a sign of what is to follow. This time the whole deal felt more psychological as opposed to physical horror, I would even hazard to guess everyone’s favourite clown has a severely reduced screen time compared to chapter 1 but his appearances were consistent and carried impact just like the man who plays him Bill Skarsgård.

We are introduced one by one to the ‘club’ who are now adults, and the players they have assembled is probably some of the best casting in modern cinema. They really have put in efforts to find people who not only resemble the kids but their whole personality and chemistry together is something that I found a pleasure to watch. It’s funny and meaningful without being over emotional or even cheesy. These kids went through so much and you feel it as a passenger on this roller coaster ride.

They assemble and a journey begins to find a way to kill Pennywise for good. Each of the now grown up kids has to find a ‘token’ of their past and use it to destroy the threat of the present. It’s a clever way of metaphorically saying ‘we beat it before, so we can beat it for good this time’. Chapter two not only references the masterpiece that was Chapter one but we are taken back many times throughout showing scenes that weren’t in the first. It fills in the gaps while all the more adding a lot more weight to the already detailed story.

It nostalgia and familiarity of the present day rolled into one; a perhaps original concept that makes this film flow and you forget about running times entirely. I’ve kept this review vague because Chapter two really is worth a watch. It’s a compliment to the first and so much more. The characters, the visuals, the jumpiness and everything else. Stephen King is a master story teller and it is films like this that do his work justice. You may even see him make a cameo briefly…

10/10 – Must watch for anyone who has seen the first, if you haven’t go now! 

The Four Before Me by E. H. Night – Review

‘While some monsters are born, others are created..’

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Upon picking up this book I was instantly immersed into the words and descriptive style E.H Night brings to what is a chilling and mystery shrouded story. By the 8th chapter I’ll admit I couldn’t put it down. 

The Four Before Me leans a little towards cliche but it works in an original way that keeps readers guessing throughout. It’s the late 80’s and Alice our main character; moves to small town ‘Wintersburg’ in search of a new start from the big city and to perhaps be closer to her now deceased Grandmother’s roots. Soon after her arrival she learns that four women are currently missing and that’s when the chilling coincidences begin. I say coincidence but that’s only if you believe in such things and for Alice this starts to play on her mind which in turn becomes psychological – the true strength of this story. She cannot help but think of the many similarities she and the missing women have, in particular ‘Sarah’ who was in fact the previous tenant in Alice’s new place.

As the story unfolds we meet a cast of three dimensional characters all of which serve purpose and depth to the story such as likable law enforcement officer ‘Blake Darrow’ and neighbor ‘Tiffany’ which Alice befriends. Of course there are the less savory characters such as ‘Benji’ or the town renowned ‘Wonderbread Will’. Can they be trusted when so many people are missing in this small town?

There were some instances that my mind was blown by the amount of twists and turns this story had. With elements of crime, mystery, suspense and even some chilling horror you could compare this book with the early works of Stephen King although the voice in this story is fresh and new. Whether it’s the sights or smells, emotions or feelings, this book captures everything including a little nostalgia.

5 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stranger Things 3 Review

The Duffer Brothers have gradually pieced together a universe that fuses gripping story telling with references from their many childhood influences. Now after three seasons Stranger Things relies less upon the retro callbacks of days gone by and more on its own identity even if they do still tribute pop culture of the 1980’s; the greatest thing that has become of this show is the characters.

Before we start its worth a quick mention that this post contains some spoilers for Stanger Things Season 3….

Character development that falls in favor of the viewer is the real wonder of television. Writers and show runners who listen to their audience give them exactly what they want along with a couple of surprises – exactly what the Stranger Things team have done with season 3 and continuing on with the previous season. There are some formidable groupings of the faces we want to see; Dustin and Steve Harrington continue their friendship and carry a chemistry that is great to watch even if it is berated by new face Robin who finds an original way to slot into the cast. I must also mention Erica for her sometimes sassy but always entertaining swagger.

Of course the original group of kids are center piece and it soon becomes apparent that growing up is probably the main theme of this whole thing and it always has been. They are teenagers now and trying to find your way in this world – now that you are aware of it is daunting and so are relationships. Will, the brunt of two seasons feels held back in moments, he hasn’t been able to have a ‘normal’ childhood and is still catching up; full credit for the writers in giving Will a better purpose than being the missing or possessed kid this time around, perhaps his journey is the most emotional.

Law man Jim Hopper is back and we see him experience first hand the perils of parenthood to a mid teen in Eleven, he attempts to ‘talk’ with his adopted daughter but defaults to his thug ways especially as it’s peace time now. And I say thug because Hopper is but in a totally bad ass way. He teams with Joyce Buyers and together they find a common goal in protecting the kids while having some excellent back and forth dialogue capped off by the returning conspiracy man Murray; who is responsible for creating Jonathan and Nancy – a couple that become an important moving part in the whole duration of this season.

There is something lurking underneath the surface of Hawkins and it makes for an original and perhaps absurd direction for the story, but after all the show is called Stranger Things. The influences come out thick and fast from the Terminator and even the Thing; both of which are done exceptionally. I was happy to see a tribute to 1985’s blockbuster ‘Back to the Future’ which I am sure many were expecting. The music was bang on point as usual along with the synth soundtrack viewers have become used to.

The horror concept of everyone being ‘in’ on it works incredibly well – I should know, one of my books carries the same cliche… Billy becomes a great bad guy; he kind of was anyway and they build upon that while fusing it to the mind flayer,  his story then becomes beautifully explored by Eleven.

Creature feature moves to the central theme later on while we see the Star Court Mall attacked and pretty much destroyed in true 80’s style with the shops, the food places and everything else that makes the awesome production design take everyone back. All of the characters are reunited briefly to fight the threat that is consuming Hawkins; a moment which makes for great watching.

In fact the season is a series of moments; some are fun and laugh out loud, others more emotional and raw; Robin confides in Steve about her sexuality; a step in the right direction for LBGT awareness to a main stream audience- something more shows need to be brave about. Carey Elwes joins the cast as Mayor Kline – although brief, very effective in execution to the main plot.

I found myself quite moved by the ending of Season 3 and came to the realization that this story really is about growing up. People move on and move away; life goes on and friends drift; all of this is the reality of the real world. The performances by everyone throughout might arguably make Stranger Things the best thing out there on television right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Phantom (A Night Audit Series Book 4) by Bruce Knapp – Review

Strange happenings in the Stay Over-Nite hotel

Picking up right where Part 3 ended we see the resolve of a cliffhanger that centers around main character Zach. After this incident he eventually makes his way back to work at night where things start to get a little strange.

This story was a fun, quick to read departure from the previous comedic accounts of Zach and shows that author Bruce Knapp can also do serious, creepy and psychological thrills very well. Elevators opening by themselves and the printer churning out ‘help me’ messages seem to be plaguing Zach; that is while guests appear to be checking in and then completely disappearing or even a rooster being reported running around on the third floor.  A lot can happen in one hotel overnight and some of it may be inside the mind while other events have an eventual explanation which forms into an unexpected twist at the closing of this story.

Overall I enjoyed this story like the previous ones and it felt a little different with even a ‘twilight zone’ style tone that was complimented by the resolve.

4 Stars