Tuesday, 12 July 2016

REVIEW: Matt Hickman - Jeremy: Evil Has One Name

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 12th Dec 2015
Pages: 103


This is one of those rare occasions when this book was not directly submitted for review. I picked up a copy of Jeremy: Evil Has One Name direct from the author, Matt Hickman at a convention earlier in the year. I have spoken with Matt for about a year now but never met the fella before. I had heard good things about his writing.

The only story I have read of his prior to this was the short story, Anna in the Dark Chapter Press anthology, Kids. I was quite impressed with that one but really wanted to read something a bit longer to see how he coped with that. Again, even though I sort of know the fella (he has weird taste in T-shirts), this does not gain any favours when I review.

This is what I thought.

Jeremy is a troubled eleven-year-old boy. He is an only child and may as well not even exist as far as his parents are concerned. He wants for nothing material, but never gets the emotional love a child deserves.

Along with his friends, Sam and Cole, he suffers at the hands of two school bullies when he moves to secondary school. They just will not let up with the name calling and general nastiness.

When the bullies cause Jeremy and his friends to make a mess of a science experiment and get suspended from school, things take an even nastier turn when a chance meeting outside school leads to a disaster.

Our main character as you would guess is Jeremy. I felt so sorry for this lad. He has everything and yet he has nothing. Everything material a kid could wish for but nothing meaningful from his parents. He is a gentle lad but amidst all his woes, he keeps working in school and grades are good. The bullies make his hellish life just that little bit worse. Sam and Cole are much the same sort of characters. Intelligent, and just looking for a quiet life, away from the terrors.

The bullies themselves are just typical. Mr Hickman does a good job of describing the yobs you would see standing intimidating the local gangs of grannies on any street corner in the world

There are a host of others involved that all fit very neatly into their respective roles as the story progresses. Jeremy’s parents are despicable but you will see that for yourself.

The plot is an interesting one. Jeremy is dealing with the daily bullying and when things come to a head, disaster strikes for one of the bullies and Jeremy. I’m not giving anything away here but when Jeremy wakes up from a coma, he has changed. His whole psyche has changed. He has gone from the quiet conscientious boy to the……..well read it and find out.

I liked this one. It is quite a quick read coming in at just over one hundred pages but is jammed full of a very powerful story. The change that comes from Jeremy is immense. It’s a bit shocking and hard to get used to at first. I said before, he is a likeable young lad and when he turns, he is the complete reverse. On the other hand, though you can’t help but root for him. You have got so far inside his head that you feel like you have been through all his troubles with him and now that he wants revenge if you like, you want it too.

Then you start to feel bad because you shouldn’t really be cheering on someone who does some of the things he does. But then he doesn’t. Not really. Am I confusing you? The book itself is not confusing. These are just some of the conversations I have been having in my head since I finished reading. This to me is one sign of a powerful story when it has you thrashing things out long after you have finished it. To achieve that powerful story, you have to be a powerful writer. Impressive Mr Hickman.

I have a complaint though. To me, the build-up was too long. I wanted to see Jeremy and all his nastiness come out much sooner in the story. You know from the synopsis what is going to happen and you are waiting for it for quite a long way through the story. When it does happen, it all hits the fan at one hundred miles an hour but I wanted it sooner. Then the focus of the story changes a bit and confused me for a while as to what it had to do with Jeremy. It all becomes clear in the end but that little disjointed bit in the middle interrupted the smooth flow for me. I just felt that after moving to the edge of my seat with the new stuff happening, I had to sit back for a while again before it all kicked off again.

Having said that, this wasn’t enough to really take away from my enjoyment of the book. There was an immense amount of tension in this one and the build-up in the nasty scenes was excellent. Mr Hickman certainly pulls no punches when it comes to the bloody stuff. However, it wasn’t over the top which pleased me. Horrific and harrowing at times but perfectly believable.

Matt Hickman certainly seems to have a talent for this writing lark. It’s not just all about the horror stuff either. He builds good characters and gets you inside their heads from the outset. He clearly defines between the good and the evil and can write both equally well. I reckon I might pick more up from this fella.

To summarise: a horror novella with a bit of feeling. Well, at the beginning anyway. Nicely paced with all the blood and guts you could ask for, this is one that will certainly keep you entertained. It will have you thinking about it afterwards and maybe, like me, hoping for a continuation of it.

General rating:

★★★★ nearly there.

Horror rating:

★★★★ creepy as owt.

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


Book Synopsis:

An eleven-year-old schoolboy shouldn't find his life complicated. Jeremy does.

Jeremy is a normal young boy. His father is a successful business man, and often spoils the boy with lavish, expensive rewards to compensate for their lack of quality time together. His mother is a socialite who feeds off her husband's healthy income; she spends more time at the salon than with her son, and considers Jeremy to be nothing but a hindrance.

He has two best friends; Cole and Samuel. The boys have been close since primary school. The boys rarely get in trouble and perform well academically. They are generally respected by their superiors and their peers.

When the boys start secondary school, a run in with one of the bullies results in a freak accident, one that puts Jeremy in a coma and leaves him fighting for his life.

When he awakes and finds himself in rehabilitation, he soon begins to learn that something much more sinister has been awoken within.

Matt is an avid fan of horror fiction. He spends a majority of his free time reading books from both established and independent authors. With a diverse knowledge of the genre, he has now tried his hand at writing horror. With the support of his peers, some of which are established writers themselves, he now approaches a new career, one that will see him take horror by storm. His influences lead right back to traditional horror writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, Bram Stoker and William Hope Hodgson through to the more traditional horror writers such as Stephen King, Richard Laymon, Dean Koontz, James Herbert and Clive Barker to newer names such as Alex Kava, JA Konrath, Bryan Smith, Matt Shaw, Michael Bray, Iain Rob Wright, Graeme Reynolds, Tim Miller and Ian Woodhead right the way through to emerging writers who are currently starting out such as Stuart Keane, Jack Rollins, Kyle M Scott, Andrew Lennon and Shaun Hupp.

He currently resides in Tipton, a small town in the West Midlands with his partner and two children. He travels the width breadth of the UK on a regular basis as a Sales Manager for a construction company.

His writing debut, a collaboration with Andrew Lennon; Hexad, is available now as a digital download or paperback from Amazon.

He has since been featured in an anthology by Matt Shaw - Behind Closed Doors, which is available for digital download now from Amazon, to be followed by inclusion into an anthology from Dark Chapter Press - Kids, and The Dichotomy of Christmas, featuring such established names as Graham Masterson and Kealan Patrick Burke.

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

WebsiteFacebook – Twitter – Goodreads – Amazon Page

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