Friday 10 July 2015

REVIEW: Harvey Click - Demon Frenzy

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Createspace
Publication Date: 5th Sept 2014
Pages: 256


A copy of Demon Frenzy was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author Harvey Click in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.

The story with this one is as follows. Mr Click sends me a review request and for some reason it goes into my spam folder so I don’t see it for a few days. When I do see it I agree to review and put it in the schedule. When I come to it, I open it and, sorry for this Harvey, spot the cover and immediately think “oh dear”. I really didn’t like it at all. This sort of put me off reading it. EDIT: It appears the cover may have changed from the edition I have. Phew. It’s much better.

You know the old saying don’t you? “Never judge a book by its cover”? It’s true. What I was expecting and what I got were two completely different things.

Amy Jackson is returning to her hometown of Blackwood in the Appalachian Mountains on a quest to find her missing brother, Billy. When she gets there she is confronted with a town that has completely changed since she was last there. It seems to be completely under the control of “The Mayor” who just happens to be a huge drug lord.

When she goes to the old family home she sees something that scares her to her very core. It appears that the Mayor has a bigger army than anyone thinks. It seems that he also has control over a huge number of demons.

Amy teams up with Neoma and an unlikely band of misfits calling themselves “The Unseen” in a quest to destroy the Mayor and his army of demons using anything they can, including some mystical powers that Amy didn’t know she possessed.

Now, giving the issue I had with the cover, I went at this book a little bit hesitant. I know I shouldn’t because I should know by now that it’s the content “between” the covers that actually make the story. I read chapter one. I was blown away. This one single chapter left me more scared than any other book I have read in a while. My skin crawled for hours afterwards. It is written in such a way that the tension builds perfectly and in old skool horror style, at the end of the chapter, you feel yourself running for your life with Amy. It genuinely left me creeped out in the biggest possible way.

Basically the story follows Amy as she is “rescued” from a situation that could cost her life and dumped in a hidden compound with Neoma and her “army” of Unseen as they prepare themselves for a battle with Sandoval (the Mayor) to try and destroy him and his demons.

Characters wise in this story, we have a couple of stand outs and a few stragglers. Amy and Neoma take up much of the story in a complicated relationship that switches between hatred and a weird kind of love between them. Neoma tries to teach Amy to use her gifts to help them in their quest. Gifts she didn’t know she had. The rest of the Unseen are made up of different, ordinary people who have been affected in one way or another by Sandoval’s demons and are out for revenge. They all work pretty well together but none of them have the same amount of time on the page as Amy and Neoma.

After the first chapter being so wonderful and scaring the crap out of me I was left feeling a little bit flat in the middle section when Amy was learning her trade in the compound. There were a couple of bits of action when demons strayed onto their property but nothing to keep the same level of excitement. It was interesting in the fact that you follow Amy and learn about astral projection and telekinesis and how she must perfect both powers and learn to fight with sabre’s and throwing knives to help them prepare for their final battle. It just seemed to drag on a bit without much “frenzy” from the demons. If this had been a television series then it would have worked much better watching the characters prepare for war but alas in a book it didn’t quite work for me.

Then we come to the closing scenes. One hundred and one miles per hour the whole way! The final battle with Sandoval and his demons doesn’t exactly go to plan but the writing in this sequence is fantastic in giving you a feeling of absolute fear and you know if you were involved you would have been running for your life. Full of hideously deformed demons of all descriptions, it does leave you a bit breathless. It’s well written and does present your mind with a wonderful picture of mayhem, if you let your mind go.

One last gripe for me is the final, final pages when the loose ends are tidied up. This for me felt a bit rushed and could have done with a bit more detail to give you a more satisfied feeling at the end.

To summarise: An opening that will give you the creep’s big style. A middle section that could have been filled with more for me and an ending that lifts you right up again. Just stick with the middle section if you read this because the final battle scenes are worth it. A few negatives which brings the score down for me but overall this is a really good read. I just wish it all had been like the first chapter.

General rating:

★★★ Good story but needed more in the middle.

Horror rating:

★★★★ Brilliant scares, Chapter One in particular.

You can buy Demon Frenzy here:

Book Synopsis:

Sometimes going home again is a lot like going to hell.

Searching for her lost brother, Amy Jackson returns to her isolated hometown in the Appalachian Mountains. But Blackwood has changed. Now it’s run by a mysterious drug lord who has something more lethal than guns to protect him. He has demons—more vicious, venomous demons than even Hieronymus Bosch ever dreamed of—and after Amy witnesses an unspeakable atrocity he unleashes all the frenzied furies of hell against her. Soon she is stalked by snakewalkers, herky-jerkies, toadfaces, listeners, harpies, centicreepers, and the sinister crying man, who weeps while he torments his victims.

Harvey Click earned an M.A. in English from Ohio State University, using his first novel as a master's thesis. He has written five novels, four of them in the horror genre, and numerous short stories. He has taught English and creative writing for Ohio University, Ohio State University, the James Thurber House, and OSU's Creative Arts Program.

Harvey’s author page is here.

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