Friday, 31 July 2015

REVIEW: Patrick Lacey - A Debt to be Paid

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd
Publication Date: 1st Sept 2015
Pages: 88


I received an advance copy of A Debt to be Paid from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Samhain Publishing Ltd.

The only thing I have ever read by Patrick Lacey was his short story The Lynnwood Vampires which appeared in the anthology, Widowmakers. I have always been looking for something else from him after enjoying that one so jumped at the chance to review A Debt to be Paid when it appeared on NetGalley. I certainly was not disappointed.

Gillian Foster is on the run with her daughter. She thinks she is protecting her but everyone else thinks she is insane. She signed a letter and she has been stalked by dark shadows ever since. She can’t explain what they are or what they want but she knows she must run.

Twenty years later and Gillian’s daughter, Meg is on the run. Her mother has been in a mental institute for years after being deemed to be insane. Meg has recently signed a letter. Now the shadows are chasing her. She must now visit her mother after years of not seeing her to see if she can help banish whatever evil is after her.

This is a novella. You could probably read it in a few hours. I bet you don’t though. That was my intention but I couldn’t put it down and finished it in about two hours.

This is scary stuff. Not monsters scary but mysterious shadows scary. Thoughts of being followed and watched scary. Knowing something is after you but not knowing why scary. Just in case you haven’t noticed, Patrick Lacey is good at writing scary stuff!

The plot in this is pretty straightforward. Woman thinks someone is after her, everyone else thinks she is nuts, they win, she gets locked up, twenty years later it turns out she was probably right, people feel like fools. The thing that makes it scary and interesting is the way Mr Lacey has written it. He has infused it with an atmosphere that breeds cold, ice up your spine fear. It’s punchy instead of being long and drawn out. It’s to the point but at the same time leaving you totally in the dark as to what the evil is and what it wants. It’s headfeck in a story.

Our characters are very well written. The anguish and terror that Gillian feels at the start of the story comes oozing off the page into your head. You feel sorry for her. You feel scared for her. You can smell her fear. Twenty years later and her daughter Meg is going through the same thing. Again you can feel everything. You are left in no doubt that she is terrified of what is stalking her. This in turn makes you terrified, again because you have no idea what is out there and why it is chasing them.

Patrick Lacey has proven with this novella that he can tell a good story. His writing style is perfect for this sort of stuff. He gets inside your head and messes with your psyche and your emotions to the point you are sitting on the edge of your seat without even realising it, urging the characters on to run as fast as they can to get away and try and survive.

He also throws a killer ending into this one. You know what’s happening but you aren’t sure who to and you are screaming at the page for them not to do what they are going to do and end up feeling exasperated and like you just lost the race.

To summarise: psychological horror novella that packs it all into a short, extremely effective amount of pages that leave you tired out when you have finished it. This is proof, if it was ever needed, that Patrick Lacey, for me, is going to be a name to look out for in the future.

General rating:

★★★★★ Can't fault it.

Horror rating:

★★★★★ Super creepy.

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Book Synopsis:

Nowhere to run!

Gillian Foster is desperate. She received a very strange letter in the mail not long ago. Since then, she’s been seeing shadowy figures everywhere. Coming for her. Frantic to find a safe place, she leaves home with her daughter Meg, only to find there is no way to outrun her pursuers.

Twenty years later, Gillian has been admitted to Hawthorne Psychiatric Facility. Meg receives a similar letter and is hunted by an unseen force. Is Meg also mentally ill, or are these creatures real? And if so, was her mother right all those years ago? Is there no place to hide?

Patrick Lacey was born and raised in a haunted house. He currently spends his nights and weekends writing about things that make the general public uncomfortable.

He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, his Pomeranian, his cat, and his muse, who is likely trying to kill him.

And for more about Patrick, visit his site or find him on social media:

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