Saturday 2 April 2016

REVIEW: Matthew Cash - Ankle Biters: Don't Wake The Babies!

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 15th Nov 2015
Pages: 47


A copy of Ankle Biters was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, Matthew Cash, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is self-published.

Right, time to be up front and honest from the very beginning. I have been friends with Matthew Cash on Facebook for about a year now. I have never met the fella face to face. A lot of people would say this is very fortunate for me. I would beg to differ. Matty-Bob, as he is better known, has had a bit of a bad rap. Not entirely his fault, more from situations that show how social media can sometimes be used against a person, but, I won’t go into that here.

I have known he has been writing for a while now. I have offered to read some things before. A couple things didn’t work out but that was purely down to the fact that even though I know him, I will be honest with him about his writing. Mr Cash was wise enough to take some things on board and fix them. This brings me to Ankle Biters. This is the first story written by Matthew Cash that I have sat down to read for enjoyment. To give the fair and honest review. He knows I will be brutally honest.

Here goes then.

Courtney, Bethany, Meghan and Grace are four teenage friends. They act like any normal teenage girls. Nothing too malicious about them, but they do get into mischief from time to time. One night while hanging around in the local cemetery, they dislodge a three-hundred-year old statue that ultimately, falls completely over.

They are too young to know about the legend of Old Ma Lacey or indeed the significance of what they have just done.

Old Ma Lacey was a witch. The statue was keeping her in the ground. The door has been reopened, and she want’s vengeance.

So, there are not a lot of characters in this. It’s mainly just the four girls. They are as I said, typical teenage girls. Mobile phones surgically transplanted in their hands and they like a sneaky beer when the parents are out. They are not vindictive or malicious kids that are out mugging grannies so you can’t help but like them. The circumstances they are in are disastrous, but accidental.

Christine is Courtney’s mum. She comes across as an intelligent and courageous woman who would do anything for her kids. They all must band together in a dramatic fight to defeat evil.

The plot? It’s very old skool. An ancient legend of the last witch to be burned at the stake in the area. A legend that is so old that people of today don’t believe it is true. But it is. And it is real. The witch has been unleashed once more and is after the girls who let her free and ultimately to get revenge on all ancestors of the people who put her underground.

So what did I think of it? You know what? I’m actually rather surprised. I went in to this not expecting much from it. Don’t ask me why. I think it may be something to with it being a new author and the fact that I know them from another life before the writing so didn’t want to build my hopes up that it was any good. But it is. It’s mighty damn fine in fact.

When I mention the plot is old skool, so too is the writing. This story could be from any horror film you ever watched in the 70’s or 80’s. It has a wonderful old atmosphere to it that will transport you back to the days of Poltergeist (1982) and Tremors (1990) and The Gate (1997). It just has that feel about it that makes you smile while you read it. It keeps you on edge and it does creep you out without descending into the ridiculous or unbelievable. It’s horror, but it’s great fun while it’s at it.

Can I be negative for a minute? Sometimes you can tell it is an early piece of writing from someone new. That’s to be expected though, right? A bit more work on some of the phrasing, some of the grammar. I also have to say that for me, it ended too suddenly. It was an effective ending and if it was a movie it would be a great scene to fade out on, but I wanted a little bit more of the human story at the end. But that’s about it really.

You know I reckon this fella has a future at this writing lark. The surprised feeling is still hovering over me a bit. I’m more impressed than I thought I would be. This book brings back a certain nostalgia to the horror story. Nothing high tech, no CGI, just scares and ancient monsters. Good stuff.

To summarise: old skool, no frills horror that will take you back to the golden age of the 80’s. A very enjoyable short from a new name that could make his name shine in big bright lights if he keeps writing stuff like this.

General rating:

★★★★ a couple of creases to iron out.

Horror rating:

★★★★ not far off the full lot.

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


Book Synopsis:

When Courtney and her friends accidentally vandalise one of their town's forgotten historical landmarks, they unleash something sinister, poisonous and hell-bent on revenge.

Old Ma Lacey, the last woman to be burnt as a witch in this state, has awoken and she's brought her babies.

Matthew Cash, or Matty-Bob Cash as he is known to most, was born and raised in in Suffolk; which is the setting for his forthcoming full length novel Pinprick which is due for publication with Knightswatch Press in 2016.

He has always written stories since he first learnt to write and most, although not all, tend to slip into the many layered murky depths of the Horror genre.

His influences, from his early reading, to present day are, to name but a select few; Roald Dahl, James Herbert, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Stephen Laws, and more recently he enjoys Adam Nevill, F.R Tallis, Michael Bray, William Meikle and Iain Rob Wright (who featured Matty-Bob in his famous A-Z of Horror title M is For Matty-Bob, plus Matthew wrote his own version of events which was included as a bonus).

He is a father of two and a husband of one.

And for more about Matthew, you can find him on social media:

Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Amazon Page

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