Ever since I read Graham Masterton’s Charnel House in my early teens I have been reading horror on and off (that will be over 35 years then). In that time, I feel I have read all kinds of horror and that there is nothing new to offer the world of horror. In a word (or few words then): it’s all been done before. I read modern horror writers from time to time, but these books seem tired and written by Stephen King or James Herbert wannabees. The YA horror scene is pretty good, with the likes of Darren Shan, but adult horror…. Na.
Well, that is what I thought, anyway. I have just finished reading David Hayne’s Beneath the Boards and… wow. Beneath the Boards in a self-published book from Create Space. It was recommended to me by Amazon (good old Amazon). In a word it is:
Jim Stokes has had to leave the police force for health reason. He starts a new life in a small village in a cottage by a lake. Things start off strange almost immediately: as he is sat in his back garden looking over the lake, several geese land next to him and attack a kill one of their species for seemingly no apparent reason. The village appears close knit and they have a gathering once a week. But back at the cottage, Jim starts to have visions, a ghost from his past seems to be haunting him – the ghost of a woman from his last case, one of domestic violence, in which he was stabbed.
He decides to make improvements on the house and pulls up the carpet, to reveal hatch that lead sown below. Soon he discovers what is beneath the boards… The rats are load, the ghosts are rampant and there are some pretty shocking scenes.
You wonder if these visions are real, or just fantasy. Is he being haunted, or is he slowly slipping towards insanity.
So, I guess there are some hidden gems out there, in the world of self publishing and small press. Thirty years ago, this book would have adorned the book shelves of WH Smiths, published by Hamlyn or Sphere. Such big publishers don’t take chances on these type of book, anymore, though. So, it is the small press we have to go to. But I have discovered a new writer and will be reading more of Haynes’ books!
David is a British writer and he has written many more books for me to get my grubby hands on. These are mostly for Kindle. Over all, I found his style smooth and well-written, mostly to the point, and refreshing.
Beneath the Boards
Beneath the Boards