Epeolatry Book Review: Curfew by Kev Harrison

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Title: Curfew
Author: Kev Harrison
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Demain Publishing
Release Date: 18th September, 2020

Synopsis: When Jamie takes his girlfriend for a summer anniversary getaway by the sea, he thinks only the great British weather can ruin his plans. But he hasn’t accounted for Mrs Heinz, the bizarre proprietor of The Sailor’s Rest, and her obsessive fixation on midnight and curfew…

The standalone horror shorts series is back from Demain- and Kev Harrison’s Curfew is in the first five to be released. I received an advanced reading copy from Dean Drinkel, the man behind Demain, in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

I’ve read quite a bit of Kev Harrison’s fiction, most recently his novella, The Balance. So when I saw this new story by him was out – I grabbed it.

Curfew’s setting is one many Brit holidaymakers will recognise—the old-fashioned B&B on the coast, with the slightly odd manageress/owner hovering on the premises, glass in hand. This story comes with a strict time curfew (which actually happened to me years ago in Scotland – the door was locked and woe betide you if you were late). From there, Harrison lets the tension build for his likeable young couple, Jamie and Laura. They like karaoke (well, Laura does), staying out late, and drinking. They grab the only taxi on the RidesApp back to the creepy B&B. So far so normalish.

There are warning signs from the ancient maid (called ‘Girl’ by the owner, who glories in the wonderful moniker of Mrs Heinz). Girl knows something but isn’t telling. She references a missing/absent Mr Heinz who will be turning up late. Another guest is never seen except for his duffel bag. Mrs H sits drinking alone in a darkened front room. And so on.

From when Mrs Heinz says, ‘Past curfew,’ and ‘Sit boy!’ you know sweet, nice, fun loving Jamie and Laura are in for a rough ride. The scene that follows is seriously disturbing and had me flinching (no spoilers though in my reviews).

Harrison’s writing style is engaging, fluid and accessible. The twenty-odd pages rushed past, though I couldn’t help but re-read the ending! 

Harrison is skilled at constructing tension from the seemingly normal set up, ratcheting it till the warning sirens (to the reader anyway if not Jamie and Laura) are shrieking. I relished this in a deliciously cosy ‘I’m safe at home’ way.

My certain expectations, in regard to the story’s direction, were shattered. It’s fair to say I was surprised; Harrison took it in a totally different direction. I expect other readers will share my astonishment—I didn’t guess the outcome. 

These standalone stories are priced at a very affordable 77p, so much cheaper than my chocolate fix, and they entertain hugely. 

Treat yourself.

4/5 stars

Available from amazon.

Alyson Faye

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.https://alysonfayewordpress.wordpress.com/ Twitter @AlysonFaye2

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