Monday, 23 November 2015

REVIEW: Craig Saunders - Left To Darkness

Genre: Horror
Publisher: DarkFuse
Publication Date: 11th Aug 2015
Pages: 239


I received an advance copy of Left To Darkness by Craig Saunders from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by DarkFuse.

So the only other thing I have read from Craig Saunders was Masters of Blood and Bone. It didn’t do an awful lot for me. I found it a bit weird. However, I did find it very dark and very funny in parts, and it had one of my favourite characters ever in the detective, Holland. As you can see, it by no means put me off reading Mr Saunders again. With Left To Darkness I was hoping for the same dark style without the weirdness. Do you think I got it?

A meteor is heading on a collision course with Earth. There is no stopping it and no one has any clue as to the amount of devastation it will cause.

Some people do survive but it is a continuous battle to stay that way. There is a strange cult on the go, dead set on destroying what human life is left. Paul, a policeman and Dawn, a pregnant woman, must do all they can to get to safety. Their unlikely ally is a brutal killer, Frank.

And so begins their journey to find sanctuary and stay clear of the cult. One person who seems to have control over everything is “the naked man”. No one knows who he is or what he wants but he seems very certain he will get it.

So, straight away I’ll give you the answer. Yes I was right to trust the instincts to read Craig Saunders again and yes I liked this much better than the last one.

Characters in this one are so completely different from each other in so many ways but all equally likeable. Paul is a policeman. He’s been at it a long time. Dedicated to his job and to protecting the public, he is willing to put his life on the line for anyone. Dawn is expecting her first baby. Through circumstances she did not choose, she is on her own. This woman has balls bigger than an elephant and would put any man to shame. They are the two that I would class as the nice characters.

The nasty buggers in this one would firstly be James Finley. A man of great wealth and importance, through circumstances he did choose, he has got another shot at life when all around him are crumbling. He is the mastermind behind the strange cult on the go and is really rather dastardly. The naked man is a bit of an enigma. No one knows who he is or where he has come from but every time he pops up he seems to be as nice as pie but quite obviously has an alternative agenda. This man is nasty to the core.

Frank needs a paragraph all to himself. Yes he is a killer. Yes he is very cold and calculated about how he does it. Yes we should probably boo him when he comes on the page. No I won’t though. I loved him. He was so laid back about his life and what was thrown at him whether good or bad. If something needed done he would do it. A softer side to Frank comes out in this story but to be honest I think he was only being soft to survive. Either way, he was brilliant.

The plot is fairly simple. Everyone knows the meteor is on its way. There is nothing they can do stop it and nowhere to run to get away from it. Once it hits, the survivors must all try and survive. The thing with this one is that at the start everyone has their own stories and their own journeys. As the story progresses, all of those paths meet and everyone comes together in quite an explosive way. One thing that will become perfectly clear to you as you read this one is do not try and second guess where it is going because you won’t.

Two things made this book for me. Firstly, the characters. Each and every one of them is written in such a way that they all hold their own secrets, their own thoughts and their own fears. Each one of them have their own traits that you will either love or hate about them. Each one of them is written as a human being. By this I mean you can relate to every one of them as if they were the man or woman who lived next door. They are real people going through a real life or death experience and you believe every single thing that they think and do.

The second thing ties in with the first. The writing style in this is superb. It just flows and flows. It’s what I call an easy read as in you don’t have to think about it too much. There are no huge elaborate sub plots that you need to remember loads of information from to figure things out. It’s a down to earth story about survival. It’s a story about human nature at its best and its worst.

It’s a dark story but at the same time full of the sort of dark humour that (it looks like to me) Craig Saunders has in all of his books. As well as the bloody and the gory, this book will make you smile and laugh. It will make you boo and cheer. It will make you gag. It will make you hold your breath and it will scare you.

To summarise: a dark story dealing with the before, during and after the end of the world event. Fantastically written characters in a wonderful story of survival against all the odds. Who will survive? Who won’t? Will there be a sequel? I bloody hope so.

General rating:

★★★★★ excellent.

Horror rating:

★★★★★ scary in many different ways.

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer then please consider using the links below to buy Left To Darkness or any other books from Craig. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews.


Book Synopsis:

A meteor strikes the Earth. Dirt and dust fill the air. Only a few people remain under the setting skies, and those who still live find it's not God's England anymore.

It's the Devil's turn.

Lines are drawn between the dark and light. For the darkness, James Finley and his cult for the end of days. On the side of light, Paul Deacon, the lost policeman, and Dawn Graves, the last mother.

To survive, they must put their lives in one man's hands: Frank Liebowicz, a killer with a soft spot for lost causes. Because come Armageddon, God won't choose his champions.

They'll choose themselves.

Craig Saunders is the author of over thirty novels and novellas, first published with 'Rain' in 2011. Stories include 'Deadlift', 'Vigil', 'Damned to Cold Fire' and 'Masters of Blood and Bone', called 'A rare treat from a master of horror' by The Examiner. Which is nice, isn't it?

His writes dark fiction/horror with an element of crime or mystery, and epic fantasy. His shorter fiction appears in various anthologies and magazines. Sometimes he dabbles with humour - but only when he's feeling serious.

Born in 1972 in London, England, Craig did some stuff (like growing up - abridged version), then studied Japanese and Law in Cardiff, Wales. After deciding the legal side of the law wasn't much fun, he worked in Japan. Lived there, too. Obviously. Hell of a commute, otherwise. He experimented with jobs as diverse as a translator and interpreter, English teacher, editor, dog walker, carpenter, doorman, and others besides...and hated them all. Except the carpentry bit. I like a nice bit of wood.

Wait what?

He lives in Norfolk, England, with his wife and children. He likes nice people, warm sheds and good coffee.

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

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Nev - your review made me chuckle, too. Cheers for taking the time, and for featuring my book on your blog. Appreciate it.