Tatterdemon by Steve Vernon – HALLOWEEN HORROR!!!

PumpkinSteve Vernon’s ‘Tatterdemon’ is a horror like no other! It is more than appropriate to read at this time of year during the harvest and Halloween season! Highly recommended for adults only due to its violent, gory and horrific theme, Tatterdemon is full of terrifying tales as well as being one complete horrifying nightmare based in the small town of Crossfall. TatterdemonThe town’s people have all been cursed by Thessaly Cross, a witch, 300 years previous and now after a wife-beating husband is killed by his wife he returns from being buried in his field as a zombie scarecrow – the Tatterdemon! Many of the local folk begin to take their personal matters into their own hands and face the ones they feel ridiculed or belittled by. As each person is killed the Tatterdemon is able to have them buried and then begins to raise the dead for more mayhem and to destroy the town of Crossfall for good!

The prologue introduces the reader to Thessaly Cross, a witch who has been condemned by the townsfolk and is being buried alive, after many various methods of trying to kill her has failed. She accuses them of trying to take her land and as she is being buried she ensures that she leaves the people of Crossfall with a curse for their descendants to encounter some 300 years later. We then fast forward to the present where Maddy Harker has had enough of her violent and abusive husband and kills him spontaneously with a frying pan after he comes home late complaining about his dinner or lack of it. Maddy then buries her husband, Vic, in the very same field that Thessaly Cross had been buried in all of those years before. Only for Vic to be raised from the dead as a demon of the witch, the Tatterdemon, a somewhat strange and scary vision of a scarecrow mixed together with mud, straw and of course Vic.

From the very beginning the reader is introduced to the atmosphere of Tatterdemon. It is dark and horrific, tense and terrifying with a great deal of violence and gore. Tatterdemon is certainly not for the young reader or those faint of heart, however it provides a story complete with action and evil depths that provides readers of the horror genre something profound to become gripped with instantaneously. It is a nail-biting and under-the covers type of read and works brilliantly late at night with the lights dimmed! Steve Vernon also shares his sense of humour which really relieves the tension and calms the blood in between the most tense scenes before it begins to boil with adrenalin again for more fear.

One of my favourite aspects of Tatterdemon are the characters. Many of them seem to be going through their own personal ordeals, however they are familiar with each other and as their paths cross their own troubles do too. From the victim of an abusive husband, Maddy, to the grieving husband of a suicide victim (who just so happens to keep his wife’s body in his freezer at home – and that is the Chief of Police for you), you can already begin to imagine what life might be like in Crossfall. From the creepy peeking mailman to the reclusive circus freak living reclusively in a trailer and to many, many more wonderful and weird characters. Tatterdemon in many respects is a fascinating read from the vivid imagination of Steve Vernon. If this genre is for you, Tatterdemon will tick all of the boxes that intrigues you and draws you in to this surreality.

Within each chapter the reader visits the different characters of Crossfall. And even though they have their own story to tell they are not too dissimilar from each other. The chapters themselves are broken down into smaller sections so that the reader can discover which character is doing what. In this way there is no waiting pages or whole chapters to find out what your favourite character is up to. The chapters have been put together cleverly and carefully in this manner. I also found this method to be faster to read and keep up with the story, especially with Vernon’s style of writing that is direct and easy to follow, allowing for plenty of momentum and horror to build up!

To make Tatterdemon the perfect horror story Steve Vernon hasn’t missed a thing from this genre. Tatterdemon holds it all, from witches, ghosts, zombies and killer scarecrows and complete with resurrections, spells and voodoo. There is no shortage of crime with murders and suicides taking place regularly. Yes, Tatterdemon is very disturbing but for all of the right reasons in this fantastic fun and gruesome horror!

Tatterdemon was provided by the author, Steve Vernon, for the purpose of an honest and fair review.

The Kindle version of Tatterdemon is available at Amazon.com for $1.24 and at Amazon.co.uk for 77p! (Prices correct at the time of posting.)

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Ways to see a Ghost, by Emily Diamand

WaysToSeeGhost CvrTeenagers Unite to Combat Evil in Explosive Paranormal  Thriller              

for ages 11+

If you are seeking an exciting paranormal read which includes everything from  murder, mayhem and ghosts to an ancient evil and UFO hunters you cannot do better than read this adventure filled novel  by Emily Diamand, which will appeal to young readers and adults alike. Caroline has also reviewed this book and if you would like to have a look at her review too click on the link at the end of this post.

In Ways to See a Ghost, Gray, the teenage son of a UFO conspiracy theorist and Isis, daughter of a charlatan psychic, are thrown together when their parents start dating, after meeting at the scene of a strange death. Both teenagers come from broken homes and whilst Isis lives with her mum, who has parted from her dad some time ago, Gray, whose mum has custody, visits his dad regularly and accompanies him on UFO seeking missions.

After a rocky start, Isis and Gray form a close friendship and uncover the sinister intentions of the charismatic Philip Syndal, the head of an elite psychic society that Isis’ mum has been inducted into.  The tale unfolds into one of great intrigue and danger, involving a series of bizarre and ever increasing sinister events, where Isis’ sanity and even her life is under threat. Unlike her mother Isis can really see ghosts, an ability which manifested itself after her little sister Angel died in a car accident.  Indeed, Angel’s ghost plays an important role in the story. Isis has never revealed Angel’s existence to her mother for fear that it could traumatize her.

The book is full of strange and sometimes horrific events. Indeed, its opening scene is in the middle of a wheat field where Gray and his dad witness unexplained lights in the sky, which create a series of crop circles which Gray manages to capture on film. There are also references to the many ghosts who seek to communicate with Isis, who is a powerful, albeit unwilling psychic. I enjoyed the descriptions of the paranormal events, which were very vivid and swept me up into the story. As the book progresses, we learn of a connection between the lights seen by Gray and his father and ghosts and events become more and more terrifying before the plot unravels.

I enjoyed all of the characters in the book. Gray and Isis, both strong and likeable characters,  form a close bond and their friendship deepens as the book progresses. Whilst Isis is sceptical of the research carried out by Gray’s father to prove the existence of UFOs, Gray is equally sceptical of Isis’ claim that she can see ghosts, until she gives him proof that Angel exists. I loved the character of Angel, who, even as a ghost is a typical precocious and playful three year old, often exasperating her older sister. The way Isis, Gray and Angel interact and work together to try and defeat the evil which manifests itself is one of the most satisfying aspects of the novel. Other characters include Cally, Isis’ mum and Gil, Gray’s dad, who are both a little eccentric, playing their respective parts as a fake psychic and a committed UFO hunter to the full. Gil is a bit of a ‘Jack the lad’ who usually plays the field, but has fallen hard for Cally and Cally, who has been in a dark place since Angel’s death and the breakdown of her marriage, finds that loving Gil has given her a new lease of life.There is also a ghost called Mandeville, who has a key role as the tale unfolds, and Phillip Syndal who runs the elite psychic society, who has many secrets and harbours great evil. A fun character, Stu, a friend of Gil, known as ‘The Keeper’, who holds a lot of information on worldwide conspiracy theories, provides some humour.

The novel covers the usual tensions between parents and teenagers and I found it amusing that the reader sees their parents’ relationship through the eyes of their children, who both find actions such as kissing and hand holding yuk! Some chapters are told in the first person from Gray’s point of view, looking back on events and others in the third person. This is effective in that we are able to view events from multiple perspectives and time frames and adds depth to the story. There is also a mystery person interrogating Gray in his chapters and the author does not reveal to us who this is, which I find fascinating and I am hoping to find this out in the subsequent novel. The book also has an environmental subtext throughout, in its references to the harm man has inflicted on the natural environment.

I recommend this book to young and adult readers who enjoy exciting con temporary tales of the paranormal.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

For Caroline’s review click here

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher for the purpose of an honest and fair review.

Templar Publishing www.templarco.co.uk

Cover art by Ben Kovar

Publication July 2013