Sunday, 18 December 2011

Ripping Yarn

Deep, dark and gruesome

By Ian Woodhead

 Reviewed by Mark Cantrell

ONCE again the delightfully twisted mind of Ian Woodhead has concocted yet another cracking horror story – and this one really isn’t for the faint-hearted.

Something demonic and nasty has latched onto Adrian and it’s going to kill everyone he knows and cares about unless he can figure out how to kill it first. If he fails, then not only is his girlfriend dead meat – he’ll be left to take the blame.

Adrian is no angel himself. A middle class boy with a taste for the bad-boy life, he’s chosen to work in a dead end job in a retail goods store, and hangs out with a tough crowd. This rough-neck crew he hangs around with know little of anything of his background, and he wants to keep it that way. He thinks he’s tough enough to handle anything, until the demonic beastie turns up and starts to tear its way through the people he knows, killing his friends one by one in a gruesome manner.

The thing isn’t just killing his friends and acquaintances, it wants him to see the gory details, and steadily draws him onto a horrifying high-stakes mind-game. Tough – he ain’t seen nothing yet.

Typical of Woodhead’s work, his characters are rough and ready types, denizens of the dubious side of life, seedy and violent, morally ambiguous, and every bit the kind of people you ought to recoil from, but the warts and all depiction of them as human beings, endears them to the reader. Well, it’s essential if you’re going to be drawn into the story and care what happens.

Again, the author doesn’t hold back on the gore either, although having said that, it isn’t gratuitous in the sense of gore for gore’s sake; rather a lubricant of good solid horror that leaves one in no doubt the fragility of the human frame when faced with an entity that takes delight in dismantling it.

Third Sight is deeper and darker than Woodhead’s previous works, I found. The psychological twists and turns keep you unbalanced so you never get that easy feeling of ‘oh, I’ve worked it out’; the reader like Adrian is kept very much on the toes.

Were it not for some editing glitches that upset the flow here and there, this would easily be a five star novel. As it is, the glitches jarred even my rather resilient tolerance to such issues, to the extent that I found it upset the flow of the story in places – to the cost of a star.

That’s a shame, because it is a rip-roaring read, a great story, and deliciously gruesome horror with a psychological aspect that demands it’s not read in neutral. This novel doesn’t coast – it’s rages along the neural pathways and makes the mind shudder at the thrill of it all.

Mark Cantrell,
11 November 2011

Copyright (C) November 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Category: REVIEWS



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