Abberton House by Debbie Ioanna, a review

At it’s heart, Abberton house is a ghost story. A young family move in to a gorgeous old house in the countryside and are beset upon by things that go bump in the night, as well as in the daytime. But it is so much more than this too. Abberton House is really the tale of two families. One in 2016, a couple with a young daughter who move in to Abberton House to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, and one in 1916. A family separated by war and all the troubles and hardship that go with it. 

The lives of the two families are written side by side, with a few chapters setting up events in 2016 and then taking us back through time to 1916. The book flicks back and forth like this throughout, keeping everything fresh and never giving the reader chance to burn out. It keeps us guessing and wanting more.

The transitions are seamless and the writing of life 100 years apart is very well done indeed. Even down to the style of writing one might expect to see in the hand written correspondence between husband and wife during the war. It left me feeling that what I had read could easily have been found lying underneath a glass panel with some medals, handed down through generations until it was finally donated to a museum. It really did help to get me immersed.

Not only is the writing style and tone brilliant but the horror aspect is done perfectly too. To begin with, as you might imagine, hints are subtle that something spooky is going on, but these hints are placed so effortlessly in the scene that it makes these strange happenings all the more freaky. The descriptions and dialogue between characters as things start to turn a little dark between our modern family really put the creeps in me, and that lasted all throughout the book. Don’t be reading this in the dark or in a big old house yourself, theres no telling where your imagination might sweep you off to! All those strange creeks and noises…

I want to mention also that Abberton House is set in the Yorkshire countryside, somewhere that I know very well. As an adopted Yorkshireman myself, it was really refreshing to hear place names like Keighley and Skipton and I thought the choice to include some broad spoken Yorkshire accents in the dialogue was a very good one. It genuinely made me smile reading it out in my head, though I suspect some readers may ask themselves ‘what on earth did they just say?’ That’s not a negative point by any means though.

All in all, Abberton house is a fantastic read. Great writing, creepy atmosphere, brilliant use of historical setting and some really refreshing local imagery, something I don’t experience very often, if at all in fiction. 

I started reading this book on a somewhat chilly and slightly misty September morning. Autumn had just started to creep in to the air and this book really set the mood for those cold and cozy, yet scary autumn reads. Highly recommended and a perfect way to start off the spooky season.

Finally, thank you once again to the great folks at Panther for the opportunity to review this book. If you haven’t checked then out yet, I strongly suggest you do. Panther have been putting out some fantastic books of late! You can find them at the link below. Thank you for reading.

Check them out here —>

Murder by The Seaside by Brian Gee, a review

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…except when people keep turning up dead!

Murder by The Seaside is Brian Gee’s debut for novel Panther and it is a corker. Set in the English coastal town of Hastings, somewhere I haven’t actually been to, you might think there would be plenty of fish and chips, some bathing in the sun, maybe paddling in the sea and wandering the countless gift shops whilst eating hot donuts. None of that here I’m afraid.

What we do get is a brilliant murder mystery, some great characters and an insight to the finer workings of police investigation.

The story revolves mostly around three characters. We have Crofts, the police SOCO. Basically the technical term for the ‘CSI’s’ you see on TV. We have Bethany, a young waitress with a troubled childhood, trying to find her way in the world, keeping herself to herself and lastly there’s Stevie. Stevie is a middle aged man with a failing marriage, a failed business, two children he adores and a mysterious friend who seemingly pops up in Stevie’s hour of need to offer him a chance at turning his life around.

Very quickly we are introduced to Crofts and the scene of a crime where the body of a dead Junkie is found in an abandoned hovel-come-drug den and Gee walks us through in great detail, the processes of everything from crime scene preservation, evidence logging, how to sweep surrounding rooms, photography and everything in between.

It’s safe to say I have never experienced this level of detail in fiction before when concerning proper police procedure. Gee has really done his homework here.

The action is slow to begin with and the detailing verged on becoming too heavy but not quite. One by one we are introduced to the main cast and the chapters flick effortlessly and expertly from viewpoint to viewpoint, not always taking place at the same time but the writing easily conveys the sense that what you just read in the previous chapter may have been weeks or months ahead of what you are reading now without ever coming right out and saying so.

The characters are all well founded and I found their backstories genuinely interesting. You even start to feel a bit of empathy for certain characters before the story takes you down the dark and bloodstained rabbit hole and reveals them to be someone you really did not expect.

The seemingly separate story lines and characters who appear to have nothing to do with each other start to come together around the midpoint. That’s the point where you might want to start thinking about picking up your jaw from the floor. After that, the story is carried full steam ahead to a conclusion that is both satisfying and abrupt. The detail seems to fall off a little and I did find myself wandering at points how we got here but none the less everything does tie together and the reader is not left chasing loose ends.

All in all, Brian Gee’s debut murder mystery is a fantastic effort. Well written and well paced once you get past all the Police jargon in the first few chapters. Highly recommended and I look forward to the next instalment in the series.

As always, a huge thank you to the great folks at Panther Publishing for the digital copy and the chance to review. 

Shadows Of The Woods by Duncan Thompson – Book Review

Firstly let me start by thanking the great folks at Panther Publishing for the advance copy to review! Horror is not my usual jaunt but having heard about this book and some of the early opinions, I jumped at the chance of being able to review Duncan Thompson’s Shadows of the Woods.
Ok, so let’s start with a general idea of the plot. Four guys go in to the woods for a stag do. Simple right? Wrong! The book starts you with a nice introduction to the story, giving you a sense of what you can expect throughout the remaining pages, and what you can expect is a no holds barred, gore filled, cold blooded horror fest! I mean this book starts right where it means to go on. Within the first few pages you are left as breathless as the characters and just as scared and shocked. From there, with the introduction of the main cast of characters, it just gets colder, more brutal and more awesome!
This book has everything a true horror fan might want. Creepy setting, plenty of spine curling gore, helpless characters being picked off one after the other, truly horrifying imagery brought beautifully to life by the author, dark supernatural and ritualistic undertones and a pace that requires the reader to be in peak physical condition or risk a horrible end for themselves as well as the tormented souls on the page.
The setting is brought to life wonderfully as are the ‘shadows’, of all things. More and more detail is dribbled to us through each chapter with each little bit more disturbing than the last. Im not usually one to be creeped out by a book but the descriptions and tone in Shadows Of The Woods definitely gave me the willies at times!
I must also add that this is not a huge doorstep of a book, which I like. The chapters are on the shorter side which is no bad thing and, as someone with a busy life and a brain that won’t let me stop between chapter headings, this is a win for me. Not only that but mostly the chapters fling you from one character to the next each time. Each chapter leaving you with goosebumps and hairs standing on end before throwing you headfirst in to the next bloodbath. It didn’t take me too long to get through at all and if you’re the type of person who likes to steam through a book in a weekend, this could just be for you. Just don’t read it in the dark, or at the very least, make sure you’ve got a good torch and plenty of batteries to keep the shadows at bay!
If you are looking for something fast paced, with great imagery, plenty of chills, thrills and scares and will keep you flipping the pages either until they run out or your heart gives out, then Duncan Thompson’s Shadows Of The Woods is probably for you.

From inside the House – A review

From inside the House – WD Jackson-Smart

A dark and gripping ride!

Rating – 4/5

Firstly I must admit that Crime fiction is not normally my thing. I’m a lover of dark stories, gruesome stories, the supernatural and anything that makes the skin crawl. When I read the synopsis for ‘from inside the house’ though, I thought hey, this sounds pretty good.
So was I right? Short answer, yes!
Now ‘From inside the house’ is the second book in the D.I. Graves series of novels and at the point of writing this review, I have not read the first book. A big thanks to Panther Publishing for sending me an advance copy of this to review and I can definitely say I will be going back and reading the first instalment right away.
This being the second book, there are obviously some events from the previous book that carry over. Fortunately it does not bog down the story in this book and revelations from Daniel Graves last adventure are given to us steadily and in an easily understandable way that relates easily to the story being told. If like me, you are reading out of sequence, it does spoil the previous book but it does do a good job of making this book much easier to read from a stand alone point. Kudos to the author for that.
The story itself is well told and well paced, nothing feels like it slows down the narrative. All the characters, now well developed from a previous novel transfer over greatly and they all have distinct personalities. Being British myself it’s good to see the author capture the Britishness in the way people speak and act. I’m not normally one for British Fiction or Television as it all just feels too cheesy for me but there is none of that here. All the characters feel real and London feels alive (or not so much, depending on how you look at it).
In conclusion then I can definitively say I thoroughly enjoyed my time with ‘From inside the house’. It’s faced paced, dark and it’s definitely gruesome. All the things that keep me turning the page, or in this case, pressing the screen. Events from the previous novel are woven in seamlessly and the story winds naturally down to a point that leads right in to Daniel’s next adventure as well as tying up enough loose ends for it to feel like a satisfying conclusion. If you like a good crime thriller with a dose of horror and proverbial skin chill. This series is the one for you!

‘The Black Cat Sanctuary’ has begun!

The Black cat Sanctuary, my new serial novel has just begun over on my Patreon. Patrons can enjoy the first five scenes of the story right now!

Head over to to read now!

The Black Cat Sanctuary tells the story of a boy and his black cat living a new world where life is strictly controlled. People must live within the walls of their city for their own safety and work to provide rations for their family. The world is a very different place now and people who remember the world before must come to terms with their new lives. William Edward chambers though is a very intelligent and quiet boy who keeps to mostly himself. People often wonder why the boy stays so calm in such a tumultuous world but theres one thing the boy cannot shake. Black cats are everywhere and nobody else seems to see them.

The Black Cat Sanctuary

Coming June 2nd 2019 to

Click here to view the trailer

The Black Cat Sanctuary is a brand new novel set in a not too distant future where towns and cities are completely cut off from a world of death and destruction. People live happy lives inside their walls and life goes on seemingly as normal but for William Chambers, a young boy living life in these new confines…there’s something nobody else can see.


Support me on Patreon – Plus all new short story!

I’ve done it, I’ve taken the plunge. I’m on Patreon.

I’ve been a patron of other creators on there for some time now and after seeing the benefits to both creator and consumer, I thought it was time I give it a go!

Now live at you can find a selection of my stories available to read for free! yes free, though all new content going forward will be available as early access to all patrons before becoming available to the public.

Right now you can read a BRAND NEW short story called ‘Dark Heart’. A thriller following the new beginnings of a man after the brutal murder of his wife.

Over the coming days I will release other stories on my Patreon page including another never before seen short, so stay tuned!

After that, new content as mentioned, will be exclusive for patrons for a short time (length of time as yet undetermined). This content will be new short stories, flash fiction, novella’s and even a super secret serial story I have been working on for some time. shh don’t tell anyone, more info soon!

I will give regular updates about what I am working on and what you can expect, at least once a week as well as regular new content uploads! More details about content schedules in the coming days.

If you have read my work and would like to support me as well as get exclusive access and awesome extras, please head over to my Patreon page by following the link below. I hope to see you there!