Tuesday 22 October 2019

The Asylum Tour and other Horror Fiction by Deborah A Stansil. (Sent for review).

Halloween is coming, so what better time to review some horror fiction... Deborah A Stansil is a UK blogger and independently published horror writer. I'm a long time fan of the genre and she has sent me 3 of her books to take a look at.

Deborah's books are fairly easy to read Adult Fiction which is also suitable for Young Adult and teenage readers who like a bit of darkness and a drop of gore.  The novels I've been sent for review are The Asylum Tour, The Joker and The Mirror...

Book covers The Asylum Tour The Mirror and The Joker Horror Fiction by Deborah A Stansil

The Asylum Tour focuses on two women. Jeannie, a young reporter covering the launch of an Asylum Tour, and Sarah, one of the invited guests. While Sarah and the other invited guests don't seem to have any connection, Jeannie is linked to the asylum via her Grandmother, a member of staff who died there during an horrific breakout by some of the most severe criminal patients.

The Asylum Tour promises to be a terrifying theme park style attraction, set in a real ex-asylum building. It's terrifying all right, something just isn't right about it. The owner has done everything he can to keep himself anonymous, and the 10 specially invited guests for the first tour are a random bunch of horror fans, who all resemble people who died during the breakout and ensuing massacre back in 1953.

The tour seems brilliant, with the real life spooky setting and an augmented reality host. It doesn't take long though before it begins to really unsettle the guests. Not invited on the tour and unable to enter the building, all reporter Jeannie can do is stand outside and wait, and hope that everyone makes it out alive...

THe Asylum Tour by Deborah A Stansil Young Adult Fiction review

I really enjoyed The Asylum Tour and found the storyline very different and interesting. I was never quite sure what was going to happen at the end - and it was quite brutal, although not too harsh.
Interestingly, and unlike most horror movies, you see how characters cope afterwards, their reaction to the life-changing experiences they've just had. It made the end of the book quite choppy, flitting from quick summary to summary, but I still appreciated the conclusion... or was it really the conclusion?...

The Mirror does indeed focus on a mirror, bought from a junk store by 7 year old Lilly and her mother Amy. They take it home and Dad, Scott, hangs it on Lilly's bedroom wall. Very soon Amy realises Lilly is talking to the mirror and something really isn't right.

Amy sees her unborn sister in the mirror, and her sister wants to be able to experience life. You can probably guess what happens next... But maybe what comes after that...

Deborah A Stansil THe Mirror horror young fiction review

The Mirror is a little more formulaic, but it still doesn't have exactly the ending I was expecting, and the characters really have a good level of depth. You feel for Amy, she's really struggled to cope and is quite fragile. It was exactly the sort of story Roald Dahl would have included in his Tales Of The Unexpected.

The Joker starts with the exorcism of a child named Rose, and moves swiftly to present day and Kayleigh, a teenager at a double-date evening with the lust of her life Kev, and Emma and Zach. They do what all teenagers do left alone in movies - drink alcohol and play with a Ouija board.

Very much a coming-of-age teen fiction story as well as horror, members of the group start to die suddenly. Kayleigh and Kev start to realise something is afoot, and it appears to be connected to an entity 'Scurra' that they talked to via the Ouija board. They end up with a surprise connection to Kev's Mum - Rose, and hear about what happened when she was young.

There's a good amount of 'coming of age' teenage life in The Joker and it is a bit heavier than her other books, with a suicide and deaths of major players. The ending was really unexpected for me though - a genuine shocker and quite a twist from the start of the book.

Deborah writes classic pulp horror fiction and it feels like you are watching a late night movie. You can visualise scenes and action very well, and the characters have enough depth that you actually care about what happens to them. There are a occasional typos because proof-reading and editing is darned expensive, but I've seen worse in books which weren't self-published and it doesn't distract from the story.

I'm a fan. I really enjoyed reading and was excited to find out what happened. Lightweight and easy to pick up whenever you have time, they're a good read for someone who likes something a little creepy... I'm actually looking forward to sitting back and trying some of her short stories now...

You can find all of Deborah A Stansil's books here, or read her blog here and her books are available on Amazon - currently free on Kindle Edition (affiliate link).

Amazon links are affiliate, which earns me a few pence if you pay for something through my link, but never costs you a penny. I was given my books by Deborah A Stansil for review.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the review. I'm really glad you enjoyed the books :)


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