Book Review: 12:07 The Sleeping, by L. Sydney Abel

Publisher:  Speaking Volumes     |     Publication date:   7th July 2015

The Sleeping 12:07Is this real life, or is it just fantasy? The Sleeping 12:07 is the point at which the two realms cross-over to create the stuff of nightmares.

It’s a play on psychological fantasy with an element of terror, incorporating a certain character regularly bending over at a filing cabinet in a highly suggestive manner. There’s also the deep and meaningful question of God vs Satan throughout, with a surreal battle of paranormal rivalry on the cards.

The characters include an elderly, sardonic soulless man who just keeps coming back, a enigmatic nun with more than a few odd habits (excuse the pun), two ladies, who I can’t recall whether they were ever fully clothed during the entire episode, then there’s Lance, Mr Night-Terror himself, enjoying himself quite regularly outside bouts of trippy torment. He’s aided by his poor, long suffering wife, who seems to have acquired a firearm during her role in this story. If I were her, I’d have used it to good effect on my cheating husband’s alter ego (James) long before I’d been dragged into his very own personal hell.

Anyway, the thread of it is: this unfortunate chap called Lance Lewisham, despite practicing psychiatry and trying to help other people with their ordeals, is finding he’s got major issues of his own. He’s been waking in a sweat at 12:07 a.m. after being visited by something terrifying called The Sleeping. He’s felt their presence since childhood, namely recalling an early visit by the mysterious Mr Green, who creepily has just moved next door to him and his wife.

Still with me? Good!

It appears that Mr Green’s role is primarily one of mediator between lance and The Sleeping because baby Lance was unwanted and subsequently given away. One of the roles of The Sleeping is to claim ‘the unwanted’. But Lance mustn’t give in no matter how bleak life seems, or he won’t be long for this world.  A spectacular meeting of good vs very, very bad will aim to release him from his miserable existence one way or another.

In principle the story was intriguing and I was curious to know how it all panned out. It involved a continual build-up to a crescendo of a finale. To get to that point, however, I found I was trawling through moments of erotic content that would occur at any given moment. While content of that nature is usually attributed to stories of this genre, personally I’d have liked to have seen the disturbing horror element being expanded upon much, much more.

All-in-all I’m honoured to have been given the opportunity by the author to read his work and I can appreciate the incredibly hard toil that was clearly poured into writing it, particularly as he has suffered from episodes of sleep paralysis himself – all credit to him for having the courage to write this book, as that itself takes some guts.

While it wasn’t quite as horrific as the cover had suggested, if you’re an fan of the ‘strange and unusual’ then it’s certainly worth a look.

Rating: 3/5

(My thanks to the author for generously providing a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

12:07 THE SLEEPING

THE SLEEPING have always come for The Unwanted… James would fight for his life many times – always winning and yet always fearing that anytime soon, it might be his last.

THE SLEEPING are guardians of the underworld who feed from the tormented souls sent there. In our world, they haunt those whom they believe belong in Hell.

THE SLEEPING enter our realm to claim their victim, until the wrongly-given soul is taken.

When The Custodian of ‘The Room of Truth’ is asked to perform a ritual of worship, loyalty to God and The Messenger are in conflict. The lives of The Unwanted, The Protector, The Messenger and 2 Pretty Things are assembled by divine invitation.

You know when they’re here… you can feel them. Remember; stay awake, because when they come for you and take you, there is no going back. If you give up fighting, then you might as well give up living…
_____________________________________________
The Unwanted – A person not created from want.

The Protector – The shield made from love.

The Custodian – The keeper of sins inside ‘The Room of Truth’.

The Messenger/The Key – Is someone who is at the bidding of The Sleeping. A soul for a soul.

The Pretty Things – Beauties of either gender.

BUY THE BOOK

L Sydney AbelL. Sydney Abel is the pen name of Lawrence Abel. He was born and raised in Kingston upon Hull, England. He is married and has two grown-up children. He has written and illustrated several books for children and young adults, including Timothy Other: the boy who climbed Marzipan Mountain. L. Sydney Abel has recently ventured into the world of adult fiction, where experiences of the supernatural kind have stimulated his imagination.

His latest novel 12:07 The Sleeping, is based on personal experience of Sleep Paralysis or Old Hag Syndrome. This book reveals a creature with human shape, draped in death’s black, shrouding a white skull face; its eyes are hollow depths to hell. Lawrence calls this creature The Sleeping, as it comes for him whilst he sleeps, yet he feels wide-awake.

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The Accident Season, by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Publisher: Random House Children’s Publishers  |  Published 2nd July 2015  |  Edition: Kindle (Review Copy)

A curse? Or something even more sinister? Welcome to the accident season…

This curious story is narrated by seventeen year old Cara, who takes a moment to introduce us to her seemingly ordinary family: her sister, Alice, her ex-step brother, Sam, and their mother, a purple-haired artist named Melanie, who all live together in County Mayo, Ireland.

At first glance there doesn’t seem to be anything unusual about this family (except for their purple-haired mother), so it’s surprising to learn that they each suffer from the same affliction.

Every year during the entire month of October they fear what they have come to know as ‘the accident season’. During this time, they are prone to knocks, scrapes, bumps and the like – in extreme circumstances, deaths have also occurred.

Under the guidance of Cara’s best friend Bea with her trusted Tarot cards, Bea foretells that this year is not looking good.  It turns out she was right.

Despite their mother taking some ridiculous precautions to protect her children, even bubble-wrapping the kitchen surfaces to prevent any incidents, Alice has already taken a mysterious tumble down the stairs and Cara is wearing a wrist brace, but the mystery grows…in addition to this strange phenomenon, Cara sees something she’s never noticed before – for the last seventeen years a quiet girl named Elsie, who she last remembered from when she was eight years old, seems to have appeared in all their family photos.

accident season tumblr

Mysterious: The friends hold a surreal Masked Ball where certain truths are revealed. (Photo is courtesy of the Accident Season Tumblr site.)

Clearly unnerved by this, Cara embarks on a mission to discover why she’s never noticed Elsie in the pictures before and exactly what she’s doing there. It soon becomes clear that this is a story overflowing with a desperate need for the truth and as a dark family secret bubbles closer to the surface you just can’t help but read on.

Various ‘accidents’ continue to occur throughout the story and I couldn’t help wondering what fate has in store for Cara and Co. Running parallel to these incidences are some tough, real-life issues being tackled head-on.

Though the story does enter odd dreamlike phases, these paranormal/fantasy elements are artfully woven into the pages. For me, this placed more emphasis on just how detached from reality the family have become.

I admit that my heart broke once or twice as they struggled to confront their own relationships, without losing each other along the way. But this quirky read, told in a straightforward uncomplicated way, captivated me right to the end, when the true darkness that shadowed this family finally revealed itself.

The Tumblr page to accompany this story is eerily good too:
http://accidentseason.tumblr.com/    (The images above are all credited to this site.)

Rating: 4/5

(Huge thanks to the publisher for the advanced Kindle copy, via Netgalley.)


Accident Season Author Link Graphic 2

You can follow the author on Twitter: @moirawithatrema

Author’s Tumblr Page:  http://ecritureacreature.tumblr.com/

Buy the Book: Amazon UK

The Blood Dimmed Tide, by Anthony Quinn

Publisher: No Exit Press | Publication date: 23rd October 2014 | Edition: Paperback

 Less than seventy miles away in France, men with grimy uniforms exhaled their final breaths in foxholes and filthy burrows, while back home lights were dimmed in sitting rooms as anxious relatives took up their listening posts…Ouija boards, moving tables, listening trumpets, mysterious lights, magic lanterns and crystal balls, all help the population confront its grief…

Blood immed Tide

There’s some cracking artwork on the cover of this unusual crime solving mystery.

Considering the amount of twists and turns in the storyline, you’d expect this book to be much larger than it is!

It’s steeped in Irish history and myth, and portrays the turmoil of the era. Every portion of it makes a play for all five senses (six, if you count the supernatural).

There’s murder, intrigue, rebellion, politics, secret societies, spies, marital disharmony and a bit of smuggling thrown in for good measure *pauses for breath here…*

Briefly, WB Yeats’ interest in the supernatural world is convincingly written into this story, as certain aspects from the reality of Yeats’ life were threaded throughout the pages. The famous poet sends his ghost-hunting understudy (and ex-medical student) to investigate the murder of a young woman, whose body had mysteriously washed up on a beach in Ireland, Yeats’ birthplace.

As the old saying goes ‘the plot thickens’. From the outset of the young man’s journey on the boat, a reoccurring theme accompanied his entire quest – he didn’t know what he’d let himself in for, and he had no idea who to trust.

The writer’s descriptions were phrased quite beautifully. I’d go as far to say that the style was quite calming to read.

Despite this, there were parts that I just found myself skimming rather than absorbing, just so I didn’t miss anything vital in the storyline. For some reason, I wasn’t as engaged with this book as I thought I would be, which surprised me as I do love a good mystery.

All in all I did find The Blood Dimmed Tide an enchanting and interesting read. It was well written and I’m glad I was given an opportunity to read it.

Rating: 3.5/5

(I must thank Oldcastle Books (No Exit Press) for this book, which I was lucky to win in a competition they ran.)


You can follow the writer on Twitter: @ajpquinn | Publisher: @noexitpress

The Ghost Hunters, by Neil Spring

Ghost Hunters, Neil Spring

Intriguing read – Borley Rectory, reputed to be the most haunted house in England…

Publisher: Quercus | Publication date: 24th October 2013 | Edition: Paperback

A slow and brooding mystery that builds to a satisfying conclusion.

This story mainly concentrates around Borley Rectory, once reputed to be the most haunted house in England, and combines certain facts with the author’s unique fictional additions. It’s told via the diary Sarah Grey (fictional), the assistant of Harry Price, a ghost hunter and genuine ‘real-life’ person in his field.

The book starts with the introduction of this diary and continually weaves its tale to complete a full circle. And just when you think it’s all wrapped up…the author extends the story that little bit more and leads it to quite the perfect conclusion. I won’t spoil it, just say that it was an unexpected and nice, neat ending. All loose ends get tied.

Don’t be fooled by thinking this is your usual summary of diary entries either, you know the sort where snippets of scaremongering and facts are rammed down your throat for effect. It’s told incredibly well, and it brews nicely (occasionally for a little too long in places), plus it was fairly creepy without being dramatically graphic.

To be honest this story doesn’t command your time, it deserves it. So be patient, don’t expect massive thrills and spills – it’s not that sort of book.

I really enjoyed it, so why only 4/5? Well, it could have been trimmed down, just a wee bit.

As that’s my one and only criticism, I would happily recommend it to anyone that’s interested in a traditional (but certainly not a cozy), haunted house mystery.

Rating: 4/5

(My thanks to the publishers, Quercus, and the author, Neil Spring, for the signed copy I won in a Twitter competition.)


Follow Neil Spring on Twitter: @NeilSpring

Rooms, by Lauren Oliver

Rooms 27.09.14

Not your average ghost story.

Publisher: Hodder & Stroughton | Publication date: 25th September 2014 | Edition: Hardback (own copy)

After getting this book I was so looking forward to reading it. I thought, what a great concept? No dead people hanging around and scaring the living, but rather the actual house communicating and reacting – perhaps with a creak here, a smashed light bulb there, sometimes a groan – always there, just not quite.

All things considered, this book was very different from what I expected. It was erring more on the side of a ‘family crisis’ than your typical ‘haunted house’ story. When I finished it my main question was: exactly how dysfunctional and unfortunate can one family be?!

Richard Walker has died leaving his estranged family behind. They arrive at the old family home to sort out the will, the belongings and remember a few things they had all forgotten.

Considering the fact that Minna launches herself at anything with a pulse and her daughter did get to witness her mother ‘entertaining’, despite this, the little one appears relatively unaffected and is the most switched on. Minna’s brother, Trenton, has some manic depressive issues following his car accident and is a little more sensitive than the others. And if that wasn’t enough, their mother, Caroline, likes a drink or three. Even the house-ghosts have their share of ‘life issues’ that they’re still affected by.

I liked the way you got to learn a little more about each character as you moved through the book with small ‘chapters’ that were titled with the character’s name. Also the way it was sectioned with the part of the house you were in. But after working my way through these I kept expecting something more to happen, I can’t put my finger on it.

Would I recommend it? Well, yes, probably BECAUSE it’s different. And there is one part that keeps you on the edge of your seat, if only for 2/3 chapters with the arrival of a new ghost…I won’t say any more ’cause it’ll spoil it. Just don’t expect a lot more tension and suspense – it wasn’t that sort of book.

Rating: 3.5/5


You can follow the author on Twitter: @OliverBooks