Hearthstone Cottage: Frazer Lee
Reviewed by Steve Stred
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Flame Tree Press (24 Oct. 2019)
I first discovered Frazer Lee’s work by reading The Daniel Gates Adventures. The novellas were a fun time and I loved Lee’s occult leanings and descriptions
KR: You can read the Kendall Review for The Daniel Gates Adventures HERE
Big thanks to Flametree Press and Netgalley for offering this one up, which I hungrily snagged based on the cover and the synopsis.
The book opens up where we follow a group of young adults who’ve recently graduated from University. We are introduced to Alex, his girlfriend Kay, Mike and his girlfriend Helen, as they travel to Alex’s parent’s cottage. Hearthstone is known to have a history, which Mike is soon to find out.
Throughout Lee introduces a level of creepiness that oozed off of the pages. This worked as a positive, but at times as a negative for me. Every time it felt like Lee was really ramping things up, the creepiness would overtake things and then there’d be a subdued finale. I just kept begging Lee to build and to really let loose.
He does this a few times and that was what kept me in check, engaged.
The main character, Mike, is a bit of an annoying character, but I found that it really worked for me. I wanted things to happen to him. I wanted whatever was haunting or possessing this cottage to rip him to shreds, just to shut him up!
Along the way, Lee introduces Alex’s earthy, artsy, vegan sister to the mix and I found that worked great to increase some tension within the group dynamics.
For me, the biggest reason I ended up giving this a four-star instead of a five star, was I found Lee had Mike’s character stuck in an alcoholic/pothead state too much and with a plot shift that involved his girlfriend, he became a bit of a wet blanket at times.
The setting of this book was phenomenal and every time we would spend pages away in the hills surrounding the cottage helped to really push the story along.
Overall, I did enjoy this, but it came so frigging close to be an outstanding read at times that I wished Lee really let the back story really rip out to life.
Another fun read by Lee, an author who is quickly becoming a must-read author for me.
Mike Carter and his girlfriend Helen, along with their friends Alex and Kay, travel to a remote lochside cottage for a post-graduation holiday. But their celebrations are short-lived when they hit and kill a stag on the road. Alex s sister Meggie awaits them in the cottage, adding to the tension when her dog, Oscar, goes missing. Mike becomes haunted by a disturbing presence in the cottage, and is hunted by threatening figures in the highland fog. Reeling from a shock revelation, Mike begins to lose his grip on his sanity. As the dark secrets of the past conspire to destroy the bonds of friendship, Mike must uncover the terrifying truth dwelling within the walls of Hearthstone Cottage.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, 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, and the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun.
On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In will arrive. This release was specifically created to help fund the 1st Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
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