Book tour stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for Eighteen, a horror novel written by Paul Barrell.
First thing first, let me thank Anne and the publisher, PMB Publishing, for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip*
MEET THE BOOK
Eighteen : Stephen King meets The Sixth Sense
A ghost story inspired by true events.
On the Night of All Hallows three teenagers decide to hold a séance .
At first it seems the dead don’t want to talk but slowly shadows of the past start to emerge. The contact begins- a Roman Legionnaire, a Polish boy and a famous Cellist all come through with messages.
As they concentrate on the process, keyed up with excitement, exhilaration and fear, aspects of the three teenagers personalities start to appear. Jeff, and Jo , both have demons of her own. While Paul , the youngest, appears to be the most vulnerable and most affected by the strange energy that moves the glass.
However their innocent fun is curtailed when a new spirit arrives. Despite their efforts the uninvited will not divulge its name and there is something sinister and threatening about ‘ it’s’ tone . They gradually realize that ‘ it ‘ knows their inner most secrets. How? Is one of them fooling around? Or are they in contact with a much darker force.
When a disturbing truth abruptly curtails their evening, they presumed ‘IT’ would leave them alone. They were wrong…
The glass flew off the table and smashed . They never spoke about what happened that night. They never dabbled in the occult again. For Paul it was different. It was his house. He lived there.
Publication date: 31/10/21
READ MY REVIEW
Cover: I see what it’s trying to achieve, but it’s not really cutting it.
We’re in Cornwall, the Seventies are in full swing, and bored teens do what bored teens are bound to do on a horror novel: play stupid games. As the saying goes, they indeed end up winning stupid prizes. Harmless fun can become less than if you’re a kid with a touch of power.
Eighteen has a peculiar structure: multiple, first-person POVs, with glimpses of the past told in third. That makes for a split timeline, in a way. It’s a choice that diverts from the standard—good!—and given the genre, it has an interesting potential. I’d be curious to see the same structure transposed on a longer story, just to see how it would unfold.
The MCs—I’m considering both Jeff and JP as such because Jo doesn’t get as much screen time—are well-crafted and able to engage the reader. I like the way Barrell sprinkles info here and there, weaving them into Jeff and JP’s POVs. All that is conducive to the eerie, check-for-monsters feeling that a good horror needs to evoke.
I’m glad to say that the cast of characters is on the smallish side, and they’re able to support the MCs without stealing the scene. Well done!
The scary plot is weakened a little by the grammar and some stylistic choices, however. With a stronger editing—at least developmental and proof—Eighteen would have really been able to shine.
3.5 stars on GR.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Paul started writing in 2007. The trigger was a visit, to a remote farmhouse while on a family holiday in the S.W. France . One of the rooms had been converted into a library that contained a diverse selection of both French and English literature and over the next two weeks inspiration took hold and he began to write. His early literary efforts were sent to a copy writer at Channel 4 who rashly said his work although rough and ready, showed promise. His comments spurred Paul on. Since then he has written three contemporary stand alone novels, a Ghost story titled 18, and, he has just started work on a much darker novel, ‘The Bleed ‘ set in the drug world of South London.He writes about people, places, and relationships. that have shaped his life . The underlying themes are a sense of mystery and the idea that our past and present are all inexplicably linked by invisible threads.
He is married with two children and lives in Surrey with his wife and rescue dog Lottie.
Also by Paul Barrell
The Girl In the White Dress published Feb 2020
Magnetic North Published Jan 2018
Postcards From Pimlico Published March 2016
Eighteen Stephen King meets the Sixth Sense Published October 2021
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