Monday 20 June 2016

REVIEW: Paul Flewitt - Poor Jeffrey

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Shawthing Publications
Publication Date: April 2016
Pages: 181


A copy of Poor Jeffrey was given to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author Paul Flewitt in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Shawthing Publications.

The way in which this review has come about is a first for Confessions. I met Paul Flewitt for the first time at Emcon in Nottingham earlier this year. We got chatting and he asked if I had read his book. I admitted I hadn’t. I didn’t admit I knew nothing about him or his book. He very graciously gave me a copy of his book to give it a go. He told me a little about the style of the book and signed it for me. That was it.

I loved the cover on this one but if I’m being honest, I didn’t put much urgency on reading it. It kept waving at me from my pile though so I picked it up to give it a go.

I think I should have paid attention to the waving earlier.

Poor Jeffrey. He has had a life of ups and downs. Now he has been killed in a freak accident. His friends, Tommy, Chloe and Jade miss him so much they decide to bring him back.

Using ancient, dangerous methods, they embark on a ritual to bring him back to life. Jeffrey would have rather stayed dead.

At the same time there is a killer on the loose in their town. Everyone is determined to catch him but when he interferes with the friends, all hell breaks loose as they try to help Jeffrey, and stop a killer.

All of our main characters in this one have been mentioned above. The four friends were led by Jeffrey before his untimely demise. Now he is back he really doesn’t want to be. He’s miserable and just wants to be set free again. Tommy is the rash one, the impatient one, the one who blames himself for everything. Chloe was Jeffrey’s girl. She doesn’t react like his girl when he comes back. Jade was an outsider but wormed her way into the group. Now she sees herself as the strong one.

The killer on the loose is just insane. He doesn’t think he is and certainly doesn’t portray this to others but he is stark raving looney tunes mad.

There are a host of others in the story that all come together extremely well in their own little sub plots to bring everything together near the end.

Talking of the plot, this is an interesting one. One part of it is the killer on the loose. Nothing really new in this but it flows very well in the background to the Poor Jeffrey plot. This one adds a little freshness to the story. We have had stories before where people have been brought back from the dead for various reasons. Normally they are OK with it and put their new found life to good use. Jeffrey just doesn’t want to be there. From the outset he is disgruntled and makes his feelings well known. From here on in we sit back and watch as the group try to deal with their individual feelings on the matter and how they intend to deal with it.

This part of the story goes much deeper than that for me though. This paints a very vivid picture of how different personalities deal with the mental anguish of pain and death. There are so many different ways that people use their coping mechanisms that you could never include them all in one story but Paul Flewitt gives it his best shot with this one.

From Jeffrey and Tommy to the local priest and the local sheriff and the FBI agents brought in to solve the case. They are all struggling with one or more aspects of life, and the cases presented to them. I found this angle to be very fascinating. As well as the main story you see all of these little internal battles going on that had the potential to explode at any time and completely change the dynamics of the story.

I think I am right in saying this is Mr Flewitt’s first book. You certainly wouldn’t think it. This story flows extremely well. As I mentioned, there are a lot of little side stories and bits and bobs going on. At no point did I find this confusing or unnecessary. It all came together to meet perfectly in the middle towards the end and in the build up to the climax.

In terms of Mr Flewitt’s writing style there is only one word that comes to mind. Easy. By that I mean easy to read. Easy to follow. Easy to set down and get immediately back in the flow when you pick it up again. I really enjoyed this one for that reason. This reads as if it has been written by someone with ten other novels behind them. It’s confident without being arrogant. It’s articulate without being snobbish. It’s intelligent stuff without being a know it all. I could definitely read a lot more of this.

I have a complaint though. I wanted more horror. I wanted more scares. There are plenty of creepy bits in it but I definitely wanted more fear. To me there wasn’t enough of the Poor Jeffrey element to the story and this could have been expanded on and embellished a fair bit more to make it that much scarier.

Having said that, again going back to the point that this is a first novel, Mr Flewitt is on a learning curve and probably still defining his individual style. All that I can say is don’t change it too much at all. You have a winner here.

To summarise: a killer on the loose while everyone is trying to catch him and kids are bringing other kids back from the dead! If you want to read a debut novel that will entertain you from beginning to end and leave you with a nice warm feeling when you finish it, this is one for you.

General rating:

★★★★ a cracking debut.

Horror rating:

★★★ wanted more scares though.

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


Book Synopsis:

Sometimes magic works... Grief drives people to extreme behaviour, and when Poor Jeffrey Kinsey is killed, his friends go to some extreme lengths to bring him back... But Jeffrey's death isn't the only thing going on in town... Several girls have disappeared, only to be found half eaten by an unidentifiable creature later... it's enough to drive a town insane. For Tommy, Jade and Chloe the next few weeks will make them or break them... and a story begins... Poor Jeffrey; he never wanted death to be this way...

Paul Flewitt was born and raised in Sheffield, Yorkshire where he still lives with his family. He is the father of two children and keeper of several beta reading demons.

Paul is a writer of horror and dark fantasy, and a former steel worker. He has contributed to several anthologies including OzHorrorCon's Book of the Tribes, his short story "Paradise Park" appears in the Thirteen vol 3 anthology.
Paul's debut novel Poor Jeffrey will be relaunched in April 2016.

Paul spends his time caring for his children and devotes much of his free time to writing his next works. He writes only for the thrill of scaring his readers in new and inventive ways.

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

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