Epeolatry Book Review: Coffin Shadows by Glen Krisch & Mark Steensland
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Title: Coffin Shadows
Author: Glen Krisch and Mark Steensland
Publisher: Silver Shamrock Publishing
Release Date: 31st August, 2020
Synopsis: 12 YEARS AGO Janet Martlee’s infant son died under mysterious circumstances.Consumed with grief and anger, she ran away to start again…YESTERDAY A 12-year old boy with dead eyes appeared in her classroom,begging for help. But Janet doesn’t believe in ghosts…TODAY Her psychiatrist tells her she must return home to confronther past and uncover the mystery of what happened…Only some questions don’t want to be answered.And some answers hide in the shadows…In the COFFIN SHADOWS
I came across Mark Steensland earlier this year as co-author of Silver Shamrock’s, In the Scrape, which I reviewed for Horror Tree, and loved. So, when I saw his name attached to this novella, I grabbed it.
The heroine, junior school teacher Janet Martlee, has run away from her home town, her parents, ex-boyfriend, and her past twelve years. She’s built a new life for herself. This new life is thrown into turmoil when Janet starts seeing a strange teen boy dressed in a hoody. (Is he real? A ghost? A memory?) Her psychiatrist urges her to return home to confront her past with all its memories and demons. So she does!
A lot is packed into this shortish—at 120 pages—horror novella. I personally felt it could have been longer with more back story and detail to make a richer, deeper read. In particular, the ex-teen boyfriend; he’s a shadowy figure whom I’d have liked to have more page time, and more interaction with Janet. The web of conspiracy and deception goes back years; it was interesting and fun and included a shuddersome Gothic finale in the crypt. Quite a lot of characters buzz through this novella, more than a few to keep track of.
Janet’s gradual realisation of her deeply screwed up her parent’s lives is well done. It crept up on me. The hospital and cemetery scene were brilliantly menacing and sinister. Gave me the chills while wondering who is telling the truth and who is lying? And who is in on it?
Coffin Shadows is a smooth, fun-paced read with lots of action, scares, and a mystery which grips. But could have done with 50 more pages for me, and the ending felt rather rushed.
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Alyson lives in the UK; her fiction has been published widely in print anthologies – DeadCades, Women in Horror Annual 2, Trembling with Fear 1 &2, Coffin Bell Journal 1 and Stories from Stone and in ezines, most often on the Horror Tree site, Siren’s Call and The Casket of Fictional Delights. In May 2019 Night of the Rider, was published by Demain, in their Short Sharp Shocks! E book series and reached the amazon kindle top 10 best seller lists. Her work has been read on podcasts (eg Ladies of Horror), shortlisted in competitions and published in charity anthologies. Future work will appear in anthologies from Things in the Well, Mortal Realm and Twisted Wing Publishers.
She performs at open mics, teaches, edits and hangs out with her dog on the moor in all weathers.