Archive for the Book reviews Category

★★★★★ Vamping it up

Posted in Book reviews on October 30, 2010 by Gary Lee Vincent

Vamping it up, October 30, 2010
By Aeschylus

This review is from: Darkened Hills (Paperback)
Review copied from

“Darkened Hills” skilfully brings the gothic style and the Dracula legend to small-town America, to create a gripping narrative of terror and justice. Extraordinary events overtake the most ordinary place; the only sign of trouble is what you find when you spell “Melas” backwards.

The novelist Gary Lee Vincent gets this just right. Those who live and die in this gorefest deserve little sympathy, by and large. The suburban spying spinster; the voyeuristic security guard with the odd pastime of “cat-herding”; the venal, alcoholic estate agent; the laissez-faire police deputy who writes his reports while driving his car; all of these people are caught up in a growing terror.

The landscape is dominated by the brooding presence of the Madison House on Raccoon Run Road, a mansion with a murky past and murkier occupants. Who exactly is the European aristocrat with the limousine and the bad skin?

A man and a boy have been running away from the emotional fallout of past tragedy and loss. They come back from the wilderness, to face their fears, and dispense justice, so that there is closure for them and all the victims. You could say that the old-style Western, like some of the characters here, is hard to kill off; it refuses to die!

I specially like the way the novel takes on the qualities of a play and even, occasionally, a cartoon. There’s more blood than in any Greek tragedy. There are stooges who are like the comedy characters in Shakespeare’s tragedies. There are two grand, sweeping set pieces which prove the optimistic point that, in the end, good will triumph. And there’s a sense of authenticity about the dark elements which means that the fun never undermines the potential seriousness of the theme.

The characters are very real, and each one is drawn in a way that suits their place and importance in the terrible unfolding drama exactly. We should applaud the writing craft that goes into achieving this.

There are plenty of laughs along the way, but the comedy is black, and the atmosphere menaces and growls at us just like it should.

It’s a clever plot, which Vincent handles with enormous confidence and virtuosity. There’s the odd memorable piece of description- one character has “a memory like a steel trap”- but the writing is never self-indulgent. Pace is all-important and most readers will devour this in a single sitting.

★★★★★ Bloodthirsty and Brilliant

Posted in Book reviews on October 29, 2010 by Gary Lee Vincent

Bloodthirsty and Brilliant, October 29, 2010
By British Fangtastic

This review is from: Darkened Hills (Paperback)
Review copied from

Darkened Hills lends a modern twist to the classic style of a horror novel and is artfully entwined with the cords of a murder mystery, a love story and set to the backdrop of `Melas’ a small American town two hours south of Pittsburgh PA.

The tale follows Jonathon Harker, curious about his former hometown of Melas – returns as a grown man after more than twenty years to discover that 43 (and counting) townsfolk are unaccounted for and strange occurrences are unfolding all around the town. Those that remain in the tight knit, yet tainted community are certainly not as they first appear and corruption is lurking behind almost every door. Harker is distracted by the charms of an old flame’s sister and the unexplainable lure of the looming hilltop presence of `Madison House’ The house is steeped in local history and a possible restoration project soon becomes a deadly obsession – but the current residents have more than just a hold on the town below them. Echoes of the past reverberate eerily through the present of Jonathan Harker’s life and the coincidences slowly become chillingly apparent, meanwhile a dark, blood thirsty storm is gathering strength, preparing to rain down on anyone, foolish – or greedy enough to cross into its path. Will Jonathan save the town before all hell breaks loose?

Flavours of Bram Stokers `The lair of the white worm’ and `Dracula’ are combined with extracts from Edgar Allen Poe throughout this novel to create a chilling, atmospheric and harrowing tale of murder lust and gore, which will creep up on the reader leaving a spine tingling feeling and the desire for a sequel.

As an ardent fan of the horror genre and novels by authors such as Anne Rice and Laurell K Hamilton I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a gripping tale of murder and mayhem.

★★★★★ Prepare To Get Stoked

Posted in Book reviews on October 18, 2010 by Gary Lee Vincent

Prepare To Get Stoked, October 18, 2010
By Richard A. Bottles, Jr. (Fairmont, WV USA)

This review is from: Darkened Hills (Paperback)
Review copied from

This novel really sucks! But for a vampire novel that’s a good thing. Author Gary Lee Vincent, who has written about real estate investing in his Agelations book, centers this horror novel on an evil old house overlooking a small town in West Virginia. The hero (or perhaps antihero is a better description) of the story is unnaturally drawn to the house, which is up for Sheriff’s sale, but the fanged protagonist who owns the house suddenly foregoes its libertarian disposition and pays off the tax lien. The battle spills out into the town and soon the sleepy little village erupts into a pernicious Peyton Place. In a town where everyone knows everyone else, including everyone else’s business, the whole matter ends up in reprobate when a force even more evil than the house and its owner arrives in the village. Beware reader: This is not your teenager’s PG-13 romanticized vampire novel. This horrific novel stirs up the flames of hell like a real stoker.

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