GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Book Review: Hearthstone Cottage (Fiction Without Frontiers) By Frazer Lee | I Smell Sheep

Friday, November 15, 2019

Book Review: Hearthstone Cottage (Fiction Without Frontiers) By Frazer Lee

Hearthstone Cottage (Fiction Without Frontiers)
By Frazer Lee
October 24, 2019
Publisher: Flame Tree Press
ASIN: 9781787583276
"Lee creates an atmosphere of unease and foreboding that culminates in explosive violence and terror. Rife with frightening imagery, ghosts, and visceral horror, this tale will please the most ardent of horror fans." – Booklist

Mike Carter and his girlfriend Helen, along with their friends Alex and Kay, travel to a remote loch side cottage for a post-graduation holiday. But their celebrations are short-lived when they hit and kill a stag on the road. Alex s sister Meggie awaits them in the cottage, adding to the tension when her dog, Oscar, goes missing. Mike becomes haunted by a disturbing presence in the cottage, and is hunted by threatening figures in the highland fog. Reeling from a shock revelation, Mike begins to lose his grip on his sanity. As the dark secrets of the past conspire to destroy the bonds of friendship, Mike must uncover the terrifying truth dwelling within the walls of Hearthstone Cottage.

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices

Two couples, Alex and Kay and Mike and Helen, head off for a celebratory post-graduation stay at Alex's father's Hearthstone cottage in Scotland. They hit a stag near their destination, killing it. Mike picks up a bloodied tip of one of the deer’s antlers, wipes it with a tissue, and deposits it in his pocket. 

Alex’s sister, Meggie, is staying at the cottage with her border collie,  Oscar. Strange things begin happening, especially to Mike, who has terrifyingly realistic nightmares, visions of the dead, sleepwalking, and rampant paranoia, which the others blame on his alcoholism and marijuana. Even the village nearby has residents that appear strange. 

The novel starts with a bang, but slows down, until the end. I am not sure I connected well with the characters, especially Mike, who acted like a jerk, smoking his pot because he can and drinking even when it appeared even to him that it wasn’t a good idea when the weirdness happens. His about-face toward the end was a bit of shock because of his actions for most of the book. Still, I enjoyed the creepiness when the two men find the standing stones, a sort of smaller version of Stonehenge, and the villagers, plus the mention of witches and the scrying mirror. It would be a perfect book on a stormy night or during a snowstorm.

I gave Hearthstone Cottage 4 sheep.

Reviewed by Pamela K. Kinney

About the Author:
Frazer Lee's debut novel, The Lamplighters was a Bram Stoker Award® Finalist for 'Superior Achievement in a First Novel'.

One of Frazer's early short stories received a Geoffrey Ashe Prize from the Library of Avalon, Glastonbury. His short fiction has since appeared in numerous anthologies including the acclaimed 'Read By Dawn' series.

Also a screenwriter and filmmaker, Frazer's movie credits include the award-winning short horror films 'On Edge', 'Red Lines', 'Simone', and the critically acclaimed horror/thriller feature (and movie novelization) 'Panic Button'.

Frazer lectures in Creative Writing and Screenwriting at Brunel University London and Birkbeck, University of London. He resides with his family in leafy Buckinghamshire, England where (when he's not getting lost in a forest) he is working on new fiction and film projects.

No comments:

Post a Comment