Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
Publication Date: 15th May 2016
REVIEWED BY NEV
A copy of The Invasion by Brett McBean was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publishers, Sinister Grin Press via Hook of a Book Publicity in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.
The very excellent relationship between Confessions, Sinister Grin and Hook of a Book continues with Brett McBean’s latest novel being offered up for review. Another person that I have to admit to never reading before.
I have seen the name and heard the name before but just never got around to him. This one was not what I was expecting at all.
This is what I thought.
Debra is a writer. She lives alone now, after splitting with her husband Ray. She has friends and family over for a Xmas meal. This is a very mixed bunch so the night doesn’t exactly go to plan.
Once the party is over and she is the last one awake, she notices a strange noise. It’s almost like someone has entered the house.
It’s much worse than that. There are unknown people inside her house. She has no idea what they want or what to do. One thing she needs to try and do though is to survive The Invasion.
After the party has finished and most people go home, we are left with very few characters. Debra is the owner of the house. She writes romantic crime books for a living. Once successful, things seem to be on the slide a bit. Her brother Paul is also staying along with his partner Adam. Very much in love but very much out of their comfort zones, they just can’t wait to get home. Taryn is Debra’s niece. Struggling to come to terms with her mother’s illness, she is one messed up kid. Carl is Debra’s agent. He wasn’t meant to stay but he is passed out drunk on the sofa.
There are a mix of characters that come into the story once the invasion begins. They would all be classed as being on the evil side of the fence. None of them particularly nice but to describe them anymore would give stuff away.
The plot is one that, to be honest, didn’t excite me that much. People get into the house. You have no idea of their motives for breaking in or what their true purpose is but that was about the only thing that really surprised me that much.
This is a very hard type of story to write I suppose. The whole story is centred around the house. No one can get out once the invasion starts so it all feels very cramped to me. The group who have taken Debra and the rest hostage seem to be a nasty bunch to begin with but there was no real ferocity from them.
Certainly, later in the story when some deaths occur, there is some fantastically written, bloody horror which will have you reading with one eye closed and also have you wincing at the level of brutality and viciousness involved.
It just didn’t seem to go anywhere exciting for me. There is only so much tension you can get into the story when the same group of people are being held hostage if you like and another group are just continually trying to scare them.
This reminded me a bit of The Purge. Once inside the house there is no getting out and there doesn’t seem to be any hope for the hostages other than moving from room to room and trying to hide.
I hate being negative about a book like this but this one just left me feeling flat. I wanted more horror and tension and scenes that made me hold my breath for fear of being found.
To summarize: a group held hostage in a house by a bunch of crazies. That’s about all I can say really. I know this one didn’t do it for me but if the general plot is something that interests you, then this could be one for you.
★★★ I was disappointed.
★★★ and again.
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It was supposed to be a quiet end to a long day: five close-knit family and friends settling in for some much-needed sleep after coming together for an early Christmas party.
Instead, it’s the beginning of a shocking night of brutality when six intruders break into the sprawling residence of Debra Hillsboro, a middle-aged romance novelist with a fierce devotion to her loved ones and a strong kinship with her home of almost thirty years.
Armed with smartphones and a modern brand of madness, the intruders – an internet-age cult disconnected from humanity and addicted to causing fear and mayhem – have come to the secluded property for one purpose: to terrorize, and ultimately kill, everyone inside all while filming their heinous crimes.
Outnumbered and cut off from the outside world, the terrified occupants find themselves trapped in a fight for survival as a once place of safety is turned into a deadly maze of darkened rooms and forbidding hallways. On this sweltering summer night, they must somehow find a way to escape before the cult turns the beloved home into a house for the dead.
Brett McBean was born and raised in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. A child of the ’80s, he grew up on a steady diet of He-Man cartoons, Steven Spielberg movies and audio tapes such as Summer Hits ’88. And yet, somehow he managed to turn out normal (well, kinda…). He started playing the drums at age ten and after high school, studied music at Box Hill College, one of Victoria’s most renowned music schools, where he earned an Advanced Diploma. Shortly after completing the music degree, he turned his attention towards writing, and he now prefers to pound the keyboard rather than the drums.
His books, which include The Mother, The Last Motel, The Awakening and the Wolf Creek prequel novel, Desolation Game (co-written with director/screenwriter Greg McLean), have been published in Australia, the US, and Germany, and he’s been nominated for the Aurealis, Ditmar, and Ned Kelly awards. He won the 2011 Australian Shadows Award for his collection, Tales of Sin and Madness. He has a keen interest in true crime, in particular the infamous Jack the Ripper murders of 1888, and most of his fiction deals with true-life horrors, often using real-life crimes as a basis for his stories. He still lives in the wilds of Melbourne with his wife, daughter and German shepherd.
And for more about Brett, visit his site or find him on social media: