“Ex Libris The Eyes of Madness, simple reviews from a simple reader…”
Zakk reviews Hell Cat of the Holt by Mark Cassell, 193 pages published by Herbs House, June 1, 2017.
Shy accountant Anne returns to the village of Mabley Holt to piece together her life after a family tragedy. When her cat vanishes, and a neighbour claims to speak with his dead wife, she soon learns there’s more to the village than any resident dares admit. In search of her beloved pet, she discovers not only family secrets but also revelations of a local legend.
As she treads an unsteady path between folklore and fact, her confidence in where she grew up begins to crumble. Into hell.
Set in the bestselling Shadow Fabric mythos, Hell Cat of the Holt is not just a ghost story, and is much more than a black cat sighting.
Hell Cat of the Holt (HCotH) kicks off with a great bit of understated (quiet) horror. This opening chapter slid in and caught me a bit off guard, bringing a little shudder, all the while setting up an awesome, damp and dark tone for the remainder of the book to follow. Which caught my interest quick, as I love yarns that are steeped in shadow where the cold chill can almost be felt through the page.
And that cold chill is ever present during HCotH. Mr. Cassell paints a vivid picture, easy to imagine and just as easy to get lost in. The unsettling vibe gives a constant threat that anything can happen at anytime and almost making the read feel a bit more fast paced than it actually is. The read is not slow, nor is it dull, not a bit. But the fear drops in sheets, layered and methodical. Building to a thick, oppressive, and highly entertaining conclusion.
Hell Cat of the Holt is my first experience with Mark Cassell’s brand of dark fiction and I am pleased to say that I made it through unscathed, a bit of a chill coursing down my spine, but whole and healthy. It is another offering in his Shadow Fabric mythos (one novel and a sack full of shorts), how these tales tie together What are the commonalities: characters, locations, events, all of the above or none? Are they simply (or not so simply) stiched together by the living Shadow Fabric? This is something I’d like to find out. I will definitely be making another journey through the veil of the Shadow Fabric and I hope it treats me just as well as HHotH.
If you like your haunts eerie and cerebral with a landscape that is just as much a character as the folks living within it, check out the opening chapter, it’ll probably sell you on the book.
And If I had to give it a number
I’d say that it’s a solid 4/5
Zakk is a big dumb animal!
**Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and/ or publisher and I am reviewing it voluntarily. These are my honest, unbiased feelings. I did not receive any sort of compensation.
Mark Cassell lives in a rural part of the UK where he often dreams of dystopian futures, peculiar creatures, and flitting shadows. Primarily a horror writer, his steampunk, dark fantasy, and SF stories have featured in several anthologies and eZines. His best-selling debut novel THE SHADOW FABRIC is closely followed by the popular short story collection SINISTER STITCHES and are both only a fraction of an expanding mythos of demons, devices, and deceit.
Mark’s 2017 release HELL CAT OF THE HOLT further explores the Shadow Fabric mythos with ghosts and black cat legends.
The dystopian sci-fi short story collection CHAOS HALO 1.0: ALPHA BETA GAMMA KILL is in association with Future Chronicles Photography where he works closely with their models and cosplayers.
For one of Mark’s FREE stories go to: www.markcassell.com
Or visit the website: www.theshadowfabric.co.uk
HELL CAT OF THE HOLT – a novella in the Shadow Fabric mythos