Tuesday 5 July 2016

REVIEW: Patrick Lacey - Sleep Paralysis

Genre: Horror / Collection
Publisher: Great Old Ones Publishing
Publication Date: 5th July 2016
Pages: 240


I received an advance copy of Sleep Paralysis from the author, Patrick Lacey in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Great Old Ones Publishing.

I have read a couple of things by Patrick Lacey. The first was his short story The Lynnwood Vampires, which appeared in the anthology, Widowmakers and is also included in this collection. The second was his novella released last year, A Debt to be Paid. You can find links for both reviews at the bottom of this review.

You may not have heard of Patrick Lacey before. He is one of those authors that I would love to have a hand in changing that fact. I love his writing. Don’t ask me why. There isn’t a stand out difference in his style that grabs me. It just makes sense, and it’s scary, and tense, and for the most part, beautifully written.

Anyway, I had a chance of reviewing his debut collection Sleep Paralysis. This is what I thought.


Worm Garden is a cemetery, famous the world over for being one of the most paranormally active areas. Josh and Charlie are going there to investigate it. Josh has a secret he would like to tell Charlie. Maybe now isn’t the time.

Wow. This is so much head feck in an opener. A creepy cemetery, people with secrets, giant worms. Psychedelia in a nutshell.

It slowly builds the tension until all hell breaks loose and you think what the actual flip!

This one may have you going back to it to figure it out. Very intriguing.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for horror.


Manny has some information for his reporter friend, Nolan. It concerns a secret corporation working in conjunction with the government to infect the nation. He must get the information out there. Everyone must know before it is too late.

Perfect. Perfect idea with perfect tension and perfect horror and perfect writing.

This is perfectly executed. It even has the ending that will have you calling Mr Lacey a bad name.

Does it show I loved this one?

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


James has been assigned a pen pal in school. He has to write to Simon. He doesn't hear back from him for ages, but when he does, he is intrigued to learn more about Simons fascination with making things disappear.

Until he learns the truth of this talent.

This is so so creepy. This is the sort of thing that would be the ultimate nightmare if it happened to you.

Again written in a style that will have the hairs on your entire body standing on end the whole time you are reading this.

Loved it.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Danielle is the host of a reality television show that visits and tries to help hoarders. People living up to their necks in dirt and filth.

On their latest assignment, they meet Amanda. She claims she has no power to stop what she's doing. The thing she found in the forest won't let her.

Oh man this is another creepy one. Don't try and read this one while you eat. No point. I'm really starting to realise what that special thing is I like about Patrick Lacey's stuff. Creepiness. It makes your skin crawl.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Henry’s Grandma is dying. He has to say his goodbyes, but his stutter won’t let him. When his father gets angry with him, he runs away, and sees something that he isn’t sure is real.

He soon discovers that it’s more believable than he first thought.

This is another of those psychedelic, dream like stories that you aren’t quite sure whether it was real or not, or all in the character’s head. Or maybe your head.

Super creepy again.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for horror.


Eddie always gets up an hour early. He needs to. It's part of his ritual. He needs to get to school a while before the first bell so he can meet Chrissy and the unlucky, like he does every day.

This is more of an emotional tale than horror. Yes, it does contain ghosts and the sentiment behind the story is horrific in itself but the emotional side is the bit that grabs you by the throat.

Mr Lacey deals with one of the most topical, but sensitive subjects in American culture these days in a perfect way.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror / emotion.


Marissa is in turmoil. She watched a video on a new website and now she is hooked. She doesn't know what to do. She speaks to her favourite teacher about it but no one seems to know what to do.

Strange one this one but again, creepy as hell.  This one examines the power of suggestion over our feeble minds and tests just how far we can be pushed before we crack.

Great stuff again.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for horror.


Frank is a teacher at his local school. They have had an urgent meeting about the alarming rise in the members of the Lynnwood Vampires, a goth group in the town that seem to be growing in numbers and ferocity.

When his daughter Alyssa gets a new boyfriend and seems to have joined the group, Frank must act before it’s too late.

Second time of reading this and it's even better than the first.

An urban horror story of goths and Vampires trying to take over an all American town. Great stuff.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for horror.


Richie is falling apart. His wife has left him and all he has is his daughter, Veronica. He wants to make things right, but times are tough. When Veronica sees a fluffy toy lying by the roadside she instantly wants it. Richie gives in for a quiet life.

Veronica names him Norton. Norton changes everything.

Nothing creepier than dolls or fluffy toys that seem to be possessed in some way. Norton is no different. For someone like me with a deep rooted fear of cuddly toys, this one was extra creepy.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Beth is struggling with her new daughter, Suzi. She gets a persistent cold call that just won’t let her be. She tries to get rid of them but it soon becomes clear that this won’t happen. Beth has made a deal that she can’t remember. It may just cost her everything.

This is brutal. By that I mean the sentiment of the story is brutal. It asks a human to give up the one thing they have, and they seem to have no choice in the matter.

This is really scary stuff.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Laura has only ever wanted one thing in her life. A baby. Problem is she is not getting any younger and her doctor has just told her she will never conceive.

After a vicious attack by some sort of beast leaves her injured, it looks like the unthinkable is happening.

This is surreal and scary and in some parts ridiculously funny as well. This Mr Lacey has some imagination inside that head of his.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for horror.


Gary has been asked to stay behind to clear the company’s junk email folder.

One email in particular catches his eye and when he opens it, he wishes he hadn’t. Strange images on the email make him think he is going mad. He needs to delete it for good before he truly does go insane.

My least favourite so far. A bit weird and out there for me. I think this maybe needed to be a bit longer with more background to explain what the evil in the email was for it to make more sense to me.

★★★ for general.

★★★ for horror.


Peters father is dying. He tries to tell him something before he passes, but Peter doesn't understand.

He thinks he understands OK when he sets about clearing up his father's house. Especially after his discovery.

You think you know people eh? Sometimes the biggest discoveries about people come after they are gone.

This tale is full of that emotion again. It's weird in a way because Peters discovery is horrific beyond any words, but at the same time more sad than anything.

This is just wonderful writing.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror / emotion.


Henry lives on the streets, beside a big dumpster. It never gets emptied but never seems to get full either.

When a man throws something he shouldn't into it, Henry discovers the dumpsters true potential.

Another one that shows the depth of the imagination of Patrick Lacey. This story is just superb. It has horror. It has emotion. It has everything it needs.

Every town needs a dumpster like this one!

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Perkins wants to be a writer. For inspiration he goes to sit in Big Ted's burger joint. Something interesting always happens there.

Tonight is no exception when a customer asks to speak to The Boss.

Another one that I suspect is a bit more tongue in cheek than anything else. At the same time, the intent in the story is scary as hell again.

Horror and dark humour all in one tidy short.

★★★★ for general.

★★★★ for horror.


Kristen and Michael move into their new home beside the mysterious Mrs Alto. She seems to be the stereotypical widow that just loves to be in her garden.

That is, until Kristen spots her making a late night trip in to the woods. Mrs Alto may not be as innocent as she lets on.

This is like the quintessential 80’s horror film. Small town, with small minded people, with a huge big secret just waiting to be revealed. You can’t be quite sure whether it’s alien or manmade but you know it holds horrors.

With a twist at the end that will leave a smile on your face, this one will give you the creeps big style.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


Christopher hates working the late shift in the arcade. It’s not so much the cleaning up he has to do but more that the Big Bertha machine gives him the creeps. He is right to be creeped out.

I think we all had an arcade game that scared us when we were kids. Imagine being left alone with it? Just you and it, and it starts to talk to  you? I think I just pee’d.

Another one where you can feel the fear that the character is going through. You have no choice the way this is written.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.


A man who’s name you never learn has stayed in his apartment after he died.

He haunts it daily, making it his job to keep tenants out so he can be alone. At least, until Adrianna moves in. He soon falls for her but there is a dark force in the apartment that is after her too. How can he stop her coming to harm?

A haunted apartment. A ghost falling in love with the new tenant. An evil force wanting to do her harm. What a way to finish this collection. Again it has everything.

★★★★★ for general.

★★★★★ for horror.

So there it is. My thoughts on the individual stories between the covers of Sleep Paralysis. I will start this summary off with a bold statement: this is one of my favourite collections, ever!!

This is the embodiment of everything that a collection of short horror stories should be. Each and every story in this collection is scary. Each and every story in this collection is creepy as hell. Each and every story in this collection is full of all sorts of emotion. Each and every story in this collection is written so beautifully perfectly that you will believe every tale is possible. You will believe every character is real, every situation is actually happening and above all, anything is possible.

Patrick Lacey has nailed it in every way possible with this collection. This, ladies and gentlemen, should be used as a reference book for an aspiring author that wants to gather together a few of their short stories and release it in one book.

Nothing more to say.

Bravo, Mr Lacey, Bravo.

Normally when I review a collection it gets a very clinical and precise score from the average scores of the stories therein. The Clinical score for Sleep Paralysis is:

★★★★.6 for general and ★★★★.5 for horror / emotion.

In a break from tradition, I have no choice other than to do this.

General rating:

★★★★★ superb.

Horror / emotion rating:

★★★★★ and again.

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


Book Synopsis:

Sleep paralysis: A transitional state between wakefulness and sleep, accompanied by powerful hallucinations and muscle weakness, preventing one from moving.

A website that specializes in suffering. A basement filled with secrets and bones. An apartment housing much more than just ghosts. These are the places between reality and the unknown. These are the stories that stay with you long after you've read them. These are the things that visit your dreams. And nightmares.


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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