Review of Infernal by Cheryl Low


Infernal opens with a motley group of people sharing a boat and preparing to do some filming. One group will film the sharks, another will investigate nearby wrecks, and the third will land on the nearby island, to investigate its flora and fauna. As in all good stories of this kind, they have been warned about the mythology and scare stories associated with the island, but if that stopped people we wouldn’t have half the good horror stories we have. But they really should have listened. There is evil on the island, and in the waters surrounding it.

What lifts this story above many others of its kind are the characters. These are real people, and, on the whole, people I came to care about very quickly in the book. In particular, the main protagonist of the book, Val, is very believable and likeable, and as she is put through the ringer as the story progresses, I really did care about her. Even the evil in the story has a personality, a character of its own.

The other major factor this book has in its favour is the writing. It is very very nicely written, the characters (already mentioned), the description, the action and the horror are all handled impeccably. There are some truly creepy moments later in the book, and I don’t read many stories that evoke that creepiness these days. Immerse yourself in this book, and prepare to be creeped out and scared.

Infernal is published by Grinning Skull Press (the same people who published The Demon Guardian, so you know they have good taste!). A highly recommended book. Read it.

Buy from Amazon here

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Gratitude

I’m feeling in a grateful sort of mood, so I wanted to say thank you to those people who have taken the risk and bought one or more of my books over the last few years. There’s not that many of you but I am very grateful to you all. It’s a great feeling to know someone is reading your work, and if they enjoy it then the feeling is magnified untold times. Those of you who have put reviews on Amazon or Goodreads or anywhere else, they are much appreciated whether good or bad. And if you’ve read something of mine and haven’t reviewed it, perhaps you would consider doing so? The reviews not only provide wonderful feedback for me but also help other readers decide whether to buy or not.

Thank you also to those Editors who have taken a chance on me – whether in book, magazine or anthology format. As much as I dread waiting for the reply about a submission, it feels great when a story is actually accepted (we won’t talk about the rejections here!).

While I’m busy gushing (!) a quick mention of two “real world” friends, Steve Upham and Tony Longworth. As well as being consistently supportive of my efforts, Steve (publisher with Screaming Dreams and an amazing artist) has both published me and provided fantastic covers for many of my books.  Tony (musician, film music composer and “scary Uncle Tony” to my kids) has known me even longer than Steve and yet still says nice things about both my writing and my music. He has also provided the amazing video trailers for several of my books. Without these two people my books and my marketing efforts (such as they are) would not look anywhere near as good as they do.

I can’t leave this post without a quick mention of my family.

My wife, Cathy, who may not always find my obsession with writing easy to live with but continues to love me and care for me (and no one is more puzzled by this than me!). She’s also a very tough editor when she takes an interest, and my writing is always better afterwards.

My son, Jonathan, who not only uses the fact he’s studying for an English Literature degree to sometimes pick apart my writing, but is also responsible for persuading me out of “retirement” to play guitar again as half of The 1850 Project. We’re still writing and recording almost five years after the original “one-off” project! Recently he has also been putting his design skills to good use as a book cover designer for The Noose Is Waiting. I’m hoping he’ll do more covers in the future.

My daughter, Rhianne, the “baby” of the family who, nevertheless, manages to provide me with more emotional support and understanding than anyone else (I’m sure it’s meant to be the other way round). She also has a natural ability on keyboards that I desperately want her to push on with. She’s already better on them than either me or Jonathan and needs to become part of The 1850 Project as soon as possible.

And so I bring to a close this most sickeningly sweet and emotional post. I will probably regret it in a day or so and it may even be deleted… but for the moment I’ll let it stand.

Thank you.

(Leaves the auditorium to stunned silence from the audience, broken only by an occasional wet explosion as someone with a weaker stomach than most throws up in a bucket helpfully provided by the organisers).

What about reviews?

There seem to be some differing opinions about book reviews out there among writers. This is my personal view.

I don’t think any writer should ever get so blase about reviews that they criticize others for drawing attention to them. Having a loyal following may mean you do not need to take any notice of reviews, or you may simply choose to ignore them anyway, but reviews are important to writers trying to build a readership and, for the many writers who suffer from low self confidence, a good review lets them know that somebody else out there actually appreciates their work. It is up to the individual writer whether they read their reviews or not but it is unfair to somehow consider it unprofessional to admit their existence (I do think it’s unprofessional to respond to bad reviews but that’s another issue). I like getting reviews, good or bad, because it shows me that someone is reading my work and that I’m not completely wasting my time when I write. Good reviews make me happy, bad reviews can hurt, but both show someone cared enough to sit down and type. I envy those writers who feel reviews don’t matter because they have reached a stage where they know that their work is appreciated and worthwhile. Not all of us are so lucky. So while I personally might not get ecstatic and do a happy dance at every review (because I’m far too boring for that) I will tell people about them because that review might just be the one that persuades someone to try my work who would not have otherwise done so. And yes, whether we like it or not, Amazon is the most important online venue to get your reviews. So, if you read, review it when you’ve done, and if you write… well, it’s up to you whether you take any notice or not but I think we really should listen to what the reader has to say, don’t you?