By Karl Drinkwater
Ok, where shall I start? It was an ok book. A little above average. Hints of promise, but then his next piece of work would have to be something special or he will find himself reduced to the bargain bookshops and supermarket shelves. It started off with great promise too to be fair. The tension and horror at the start reminded me very much of a cross between the Eden Lake and Wrong Turn movies and it very much could be a screenplay wannabe for a typical slasher type movie.
But it isn’t. One or two clichés to be found but then Karl is still learning his trade, just a bit tired now of reading about people "humming tunelessly". As the action gets going though there are very little surprises and the reasoning behind the events on Stawl Island sound a bit like he made it up on the spot as he reached that part without giving it any proper planning. Phil Rickman from the BBC likened it to the "Wicker Man in Wales".
Maybe the new version of The Wicker Man, but nowhere near as good as the original, it doesn’t even compare. The Welsh speaking parts I quite enjoyed, a novel idea. What did annoy me though were the footnotes at the bottom which heralded as the translations. All numbered and screamed of being text book style rather than fiction. In my opinion I would have put the translations in brackets directly after the original quotes. But then I wouldn’t have included any translations at all, this would have intensified the not knowing what was going on part, made you feel more in line with the characters feelings of being outsiders and looking on and therefore you would be able to relate to the characters a lot easier.
There are some good points, a lot does happen in such a short book, and the action does keep our attention. However a book coming in at under two hundred pages should have been read a lot quicker than I managed and that was down to not really caring about the characters, the exception being Turner, the convict on the run, who I likened quite easily to Riddick from the movie Pitch Black. His descriptive work though was really good, and I could conjure the island in my head really easily.
The story tells the tale of a remote island off the Welsh coastline which is connected by a sandbar that floods over in high tides, rain and storms. Three people all end up on the island for their own means and discover they are being targeted and hunted by the villagers as part of the Lord of the islands sick experiments. You can pretty much guess the rest of the plot if you have seen any hack n’ slash horror movie. There was enough in the book to keep me reading, otherwise I would have given up halfway through. Just don’t expect great things from this book, but there is some promise there and I would definitely give the guy another chance.
Written on 10th September 2013 by Arron .