{Book Review} Coldbrook: Tim Lebbon

Coldbrook: Tim Lebbon

Reviewed By Steve Stred

Way back in 2015, my life was going through significant change. To take a minor step back, in 2013 I decided to really make a change. I switched sports. I was competing in shot put and as certain areas of my body broke down (mainly my elbow and wrist) I decided to make a 360 and I lost 100lbs and began to compete in the winter sport of bobsled. Throughout my time in sliding, reading was a constant anxiety reducer. I had a horrible coach and when I was living in Whistler, I would retreat to my shared athlete room and read, trying my best to block the growing doubts out.

After that season, we moved to Calgary – in 2015. Near us was a Chapters, so we visited often and on one such visit, a book was recommended to me by a worker there  – ‘Coldbrook’ by Tim Lebbon. At that time, I’d not heard of Tim, but the cover and synopsis sounded great. Shamefully, I passed on buying it at that time (instead taking a photo of the cover to remind myself to buy it later), but ended up grabbing it for Kindle a few years back now.

When it made it to the top of my TBR, I smiled. This caused numerous memories to return, but also reminded me of just how nice and kind Tim has been to me over these last few years (heck, he even signed a Kong: Skull Island book for my son!).

So, to get to the actual review content, ha!, I dove in, excited to see where Tim’s imagination was going to take me.

What I liked: Coldbrook is a secretive base, focused on a singular purpose – finding a way to open a door to another world. A portal if you will. And, to the benefit of the readers, we learn immediately that not only have they done this, but small things have been coming through; bugs and similar small creatures.

From here, as expected (this is a horror novel after all) things go sideways, something comes through and it doesn’t do so well with our side. We get a fairly standard ravenous ‘zombie’ type story and we see how it overruns and takes over the world. 

But what Tim does so magnificently with this book is this – when things initially go bad, one scientist survives by leaping through the portal and ending up on the other side. And it’s this back and forth, between our world and that world, that really drives the story. It was fascinating seeing the butterfly effect on both sides, and it was great to see how these people did their absolute best to try and stay alive.

What I didn’t like: Keeping in mind this came out in 2014, which was around the time that we had a really big zombie resurgence, some parts come off as a bit predictable. It all works to move the story along, but we know full well that at the beginning nobody in authority is going to take this seriously and they’ll be too slow to react etc. 

Why you should buy this: If you’re a fan of Lebbon’s fantastic writing, don’t snooze on this one or let the page count deter you. I took my time with this one and really loved diving back in. The characters are great, while remaining flawed and as I mentioned, Lebbon does something we typically don’t see – two sides to a portal based story at the same time, which for me, really elevated it from either ending up as a sci-fi story set in another world, or a straight-forward zombie feature.

Combined, they really worked to heighten the reading experience.



The facility lay deep in Appalachian Mountains, a secret laboratory called Coldbrook. Its scientists had achieved the impossible: a gateway to a new world. Theirs was to be the greatest discovery in the history of mankind, but they had no idea what they were unleashing.

With their breakthrough comes disease and now it is out and ravaging the human population. The only hope is a cure and the only cure and the only cure is genetic resistance: an uninfected person amongst the billions dead.

In the chaos of destruction there is only one person that can save the human race.

But will they find her in time?

You can buy Coldbrook from Amazon UK & Amazon US

Steve Stred

Steve Stred writes dark, bleak fiction.

Steve is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections.

He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.

Steve has appeared alongside some of Horror’s heaviest hitters (Tim Lebbon, Gemma Amor, Adrian J. Walker, Ramsey Campbell) in some fantastic anthologies.

He is an active member of the HWA.

He is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife and son.

You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred

You can follow Steve on Instagram @stevestred

You can visit Steve’s Official website here

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