Ceri Shaw



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'The House In Wales' - Richard Rhys Jones - Book Of The Day

user image 2013-09-09
By: Ceri Shaw
Posted in: Book Reviews

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From the authors blog :- " My publishers at Taylor Street were looking for someone to write about a haunted house. The series "American Horror Story" and the film "The Woman in Black" had hit American audiences in a big way. American Horror Story, with its creepy characters, perverse subplots and psychotic undertones, and The Woman in Black with its eerie atmosphere and dark isolation, had turned the haunted house genre around in the public mind, putting it firmly back on the map. I knew I simply couldn''t copy those two films; it had to be set somewhere different, remote and unrelated. So, ingeniously, (well not really, as we''d just returned from a family holiday in my home town), I decided to set in North Wales during World War Two."


The House In Wales is Richard Rhys Jones second book; his first The Division of the Damned was a novel about Nazi Vampires in World War Two. Recently released in paperback we learn that the book was written partly in response to the box office success of recent blockbuster ''haunted house'' movies , ''American Horror Story'' and ''The Woman In Black''.

The plot revolves around an evacuee who has been relocated to a lonely vicarage in the hills above Colwyn Bay after his mother is killed in a wartime bombing raid on Liverpool. Daniel Kelly soon realises that all is not well at his new home and that the ''Vicar'', his sinister housekeeper Miss Trimble and the even more sinister Irish Wolfhound Astaroth have plans for him. In the course of avoiding a grisly fate at their hands Daniel is visited by a succession of ghosts, including his dead mother as he feverishly strives to piece together the true nature of the house''s dark secret.

The writing is taut and well paced and the atmosphere is sinister and threatening throughout. The depraved and manipulative relationship between the ''Reverend'' and Miss Trimble is particularly well described. Neither is a sympathetic character and it becomes apparent that they deserve both each other and their ultimate common fate.

This is a book that will recommend itself to all dedicated horror fans. With lashings of delicious depravity and gratuitous gore it is not for the squeamish but if you are looking for a new take on the haunted house/satanic rituals meme then this book is definitely for you. Personally I hope there is a sequel and I am looking forward to whatever comes next from the pen of Richard Rhys Jones. If this was Amazon I''d give it 5 stars.

I should add that we are delighted to announce that Richard Rhys Jones has contributed an original short story to our bi-annual anthology of Welsh fiction - eto . The story, The Left Eye will appear in eto issue two later this month.