The Isle – John C. Foster
Reviewed by Steve Stred
Grey Matter Press has been pumping out some truly fantastic work as of late. I am in the minority where the only other GMP release I have had the pleasure of reading thus far was Devouring Dark by Alan Baxter. I ate that book up and was really excited to jump the deep end with this one. (Sorry had to do a water pun there!)
The Isle has everything I would ever dream of in the synopsis. A strange island cut off from the mainland by a ferry ride. A curse. Odd characters. Reads like a horror lover’s dream.
After reading this book, I have come to find, overall, it just wasn’t for me. It is fantastically written, the story weaves its way between the modern day mystery and the folklore of the curse, but I found myself tuning out at times. It just wasn’t holding me as much as I had thought it would.
I know this was based on the author’s love and personal experiences with New England, but I found myself struggling with the characters names. Bone is the main character and I get that it’s his last name, but when seen in the overall package of names it began to grate on me. We also have Burden Ipswich, Honor, Increase, and a few others I’m going to save your from as I want to keep this spoiler free.
At the end of the day I have a few closing thoughts. I know this review sounds a bit down but that’s not the fault of the book, that’s the fault of me as the reviewer. As I mentioned, I just didn’t jive with the book.
So my closing thoughts;
- Fantastically written, dark tale, full of intrigue and mystery
- The back story of the curse is fascinating and I almost wish it was available as a stand-alone tale
- This would make for a really phenomenal horror movie. I don’t think words can convey the damp, wet setting well enough. I think seeing it through a cinematic scope would win that movie awards.
- While the names were off putting, the characters were not. Yes they are flawed, but that’s real life. And the golden rule in fiction is evidenced here – people won’t always act rationally so stop trying to rationalize irrational actions.
- The cover art work is stunning yet again. GMP continues to knock these out of the park!
For me personally it was a 3.5/5 but I suspect for many people these book will become a favourite read of theirs easily.
Star Rating (out of 5): 3.5*
A deadly menace threatens a remote island community and every man, woman and child is in peril. Sent to the isle to collect the remains of a dead fugitive, US Marshal Virgil Bone is trapped by torrential storms.
As the body count rises the community unravels, and Bone is thrust into the role of investigator. Aided by a local woman and the town pariah, he uncovers the island’s macabre past and its horrifying connection to the killings.
Some curses are best believed.
Sometimes the past is best left buried.
And some will kill to keep it so.
Steve has a new book out will ALL PROCEEDs going to charity!
Steve Stred is an up-an-coming Dark Horror author. Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick.
Steve also has a number of works on the go and enjoys all this horror, occult, supernatural and paranormal.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog Oj.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official Website here