Sunday 15 February 2015

REVIEW: Iain Rob Wright - The Picture Frame: A Horror Novel

Genre: Horror
Publisher: SG Horror
Publication Date: 9th Nov 2014
Pages: 231


Blake Price is a famous author, in fact he is the most celebrated mystery writer since Agatha Christie. A horrific attack on his wife drives him and his family from the city to now live in a cottage in the countryside. He needs to get his priorities straight and is trying very hard to reconnect with his wife Liz and his son Ricky. When they find an old picture frame buried in the field next to their house, their horrors are really just beginning. Unbeknown to them, anyone who has their picture in the frame is cursed and the curse does not let go until everyone in the picture is dead. They wish they knew this before Liz put a beautiful family photograph in the frame.

I have everything Iain Rob Wright has written. I still have a couple to read but heard good things about this one so picked it up to review for Ginger Nuts of Horror. I would love to be able to say that this is another example of Mr Wright’s mighty fine writing and storytelling, but I’m afraid I can’t.

This, in my opinion, goes way above and beyond anything he has written before. It is quite simply superb. This is classic. It’s a classic ghost story. It’s a classic horror story. It’s a classic example of how to paint a picture with words. It’s a classic example of how to trap a reader, grab them by the throat and shake them till their teeth fall out.

The characters are the type of people, who if you met them, you would like instantly. Blake has had his troubles. He’s been, some would say, a lacking father and husband. He knows this now and he is trying very hard to make amends. You gotta feel for the man. His wife Liz is a mess. Her best friend seems to be red wine with a dash of sarcasm. You can’t blame her again after what she has been through but you do feel a little animosity towards her until the truth is revealed. Ricky is the sort of kid you wouldn’t be able to stop ruffling his hair if you met him. He’s bright, enthusiastic and caring with a huge dose of respect which is sadly lacking in kids these days.

Later in the story you add Stevie. He is Blake’s brother who they haven’t seen in years. He’s an alcoholic and a general bad boy. I liked him instantly. He reminded me in some ways of a character called Lucas who appears in some of Iain’s earlier works but it definitely wasn’t him. And Reverend Thatcher. The historical expert in the demons of the area and all round good guy who wants to help but knows the restrictions they all face.

The story flows beautifully from start to finish. The plot is something straight from a Hammer Horror Film from years ago. I can imagine Peter Cushing and Vincent Price charging round the countryside trying to solve the mystery of the curse. It’s fast moving. You don’t get much chance to breath between things happening. Some of it you will read while holding your breath. Some of it you will read while cringing at the pain the particular person must be going through. Other parts you will be screaming at the characters to not do what they are considering. Others you will be praying they get the help they so desperately need. Most of all, you should enjoy an old school horror story that will scare you, make you laugh at times, give you a nice warm feeling inside and give you chills from the ice cubes crawling up your spine.

Iain Rob Wrights writing has, again in my opinion, matured so much with this book. Everything I have read from him before has been excellent reading. For some reason this one just stands out that little bit more to me. I’m certainly no expert but I reckon The Picture Frame could herald a turning point in Mr Wright’s career. I can see this story taking him places he didn’t see coming and it would be nothing more than he deserves.

General rating:

★★★★★ Absolutely loved it. Highest recommendation

Horror rating:

★★★★★ I need a change of pants.

You can buy The Picture Frame here:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Book Synopsis:

Blake Price is the most celebrated mystery writer since Agatha Christie, but violent tragedy has yanked him from his life and sent him retreating to a secluded cottage in the countryside, dragging his family with him. 

Trying to connect with his spirited ten-year old son and despondent wife is difficult, but Blake tries to hold the strands of his life together as best he can. But that becomes impossible when an old picture frame finds its way into his life. A picture frame that curses anybody unlucky enough to have their picture placed inside of it. Unfortunately, Blake’s wife thinks the frame is just perfect for a family photo... 


Iain Rob Wright is one of the UK's most successful horror and suspense writers, with novels including the critically acclaimed, THE FINAL WINTER; the disturbing bestseller, ASBO; and the wicked screamfest, THE HOUSEMATES.

His work is currently being adapted for graphic novels, audio books, and foreign audiences. He is an active member of the Horror Writer Association and a massive animal lover.

You can see more about Iain at his website.

Iain's author page is here.

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