Brain Damaged -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

Brain Damaged

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David Owain Hughes

Hellbound Books

“Another superlative collection from the critically acclaimed David Owain Hughes; a selection of 20 mind-bending, soul-tearing tales of terror designed to make even the hardiest of souls weak at the knees! Firstly, Hughes brought us the delicious madness that is White Walls and Straitjackets, followed by the unhinged Choice Cuts, before unleashing a whole host of batshit crazy with Psychological Breakdown. Each of these collections displays stories of cracked minds, disturbed individuals and the scariest monster of all”

I quite enjoyed most of the stories within this collection. As always with short story collections, some you love and some you hate. Here, I loved most of them. Brain Damaged is as it says it is. It contains some very graphic, gory, pushing the limits (but never too far) gruesome horror tales.  

To pick my favourite three, well, it’s hard I must say. I will go with the following though, as these really stood out.

Scarab: This is a tale of crime and ancient gods. Jason is a man who has always lived within the grey. He has been in trouble with the law numerous times and served his time for armed robbery, costing him his family. He is a desperate man, and desperate men will do anything. Just one more job, one more job will set Jason and his crew up for life. Jason plans to kidnap his children and flee the country with the proceeds of this last job. He targets what appears to be a simple family jeweller, with lax security in place. They hold within their vaults priceless ancient artefacts, which cannot be removed from the vault under any circumstances. Jason doesn’t believe this; he has his sights set on an ancient Egyptian Scarab. Ignoring all the warnings, he kills the jewellery shop owner and takes it. The second he sets foot outside the shop, the world begins to end. The dead rise and begin their slaughter of the innocent.

As a fan of mythology as well as horror, ‘Scarab’ really stood out for me. I love all these stories mummies rising form the tombs, ancient curses, all that kind of thing. I find it so fascinating, as well as very believable. I for one would never tamper with an ancient artefact, because really, who knows? We have all seen those movies!

Brief Encounter: The first tale from the book. Brief Encounter is the story of a man trying his best to get to his kids on Halloween. After the end of a toxic relationship with his ex, Millie, he now lives a separate life from her and his children, Lilly and Mark. He is doing his best to get to them on Halloween; he has costumes for them, and is, as any father would be, excited to spend some time with them. He is unfortunately stuck in excessively heavy traffic, and is unsure what is happening after he witnesses some form of explosion behind from his rear view. He isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

 He meets a woman, in the next car over, first thinking that she is in costume, then the gruesome reality hits, she is dead, and so is he. The explosion was his death on the highway, and he is now in hell.

I really enjoyed this story. It felt like a great metaphor for the ‘hell’ that is the daily rat race of life. A man, working a job he resents, separated from his family, just trying to get by anyway he can.

Mink:  I loved this one. Tanya is a nasty piece of work, a woman who married her mob boss husband purely for his money, and then she had him killed by her lover, her husband’s right hand man.

One of her favourite possessions, well used to be, was a mink coat. Her husband had gifted it too her, and she loved wearing it. She loved wearing it that is, until she started to believe it was possessed by her dead husband.

This was a great read, a gold digging horror show of a woman getting her just deserts. Her scorned husband still managing to enact his bloody revenge from beyond the grave.

This is a great read, short stories are perfect too if you don’t have too much time to read. It’s bloody, gory, scary and fun.

Find it here on Amazon, currently free on Kindle Unlimited.

4/5

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

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South by Southwest Wales -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review ***Spoilers***

South by Southwest Wales

39979330

️ Book Review

David Owain Hughes

2018 Darkwater Syndicate

“Samson Valentine is the best private eye ever to wear a fedora–or at least he was, before he became a washed-up booze hound. There simply isn’t demand for a whiskey-swilling Welsh gumshoe who insists he’s living in 1940’s Chicago. Everything changes when a massive diamond falls into his lap. 

Before he’s too sure of what’s going on, he’s swept up in the biggest case of his life. The mob will do anything to get its gemstone back, and they prove it when Sam’s friend turns up dead. Now it’s personal, and Sam sets out on a one-man mission to take down the Welsh crime syndicate. Armed with little more than his wits and his fists, the odds don’t look good. Too much time at the bottom of a whiskey bottle has given him trembling hands and an addled brain. If he’s to have any chance of bringing the mob to justice, he’ll first need to come to grips with his worst enemy–himself.”

First of all, many thanks to the author, David Owain Hughes, and the publisher, The Darkwater Syndicate, for a copy of ‘South by Southwest Wales’ to read in exchange for an honest review.

This book really made me smile while reading. From the beginning, the plentiful Chicago gumshoe speak just filled my soul. South by Southwest Wales is a wonderfully written book, a very interesting criminal mystery to solve and a fantastic lead protagonist, Samson Valentine. We have whisky, dames, guns and fedoras. What’s not to like right? Oh, and don’t forget, a huge diamond. I admit that I was a very excited gal when I started reading this, I love things like this. Gangster Noir, I was hooked from the opening.

I love the Noir style, the imagery and the expression used fits perfectly with the scenes created. The Chicago 1940’s lingo used by Valentine throughout too is very fitting. The gumshoe references are aplenty, but not in a way that they become over used. Everything about this book fits. I can see why South by Southwest Wales is David Owain Hughes’ baby.

It’s very easy to develop a relationship with Valentine, he is a troubled man, he has a drinking problem, and has lost two wives to illness. He is a kind man at heart, under that rough lawman exterior, he is a good man, he wants to help people. Reading this character, while he flits between Cardiff and Chicago, the writing is very clean, with very smooth transitions.

There is a great human story behind the case. He is a man dealing with his worst enemy, himself. His drinking has cost him a lot. If he carries on it will cost him more. He needs to deal with this, get control of his life again. Once he deals with his demons, he can then deal with the case at hand. I found myself riveted with his daily struggle. I was willing for him to stop drinking, becoming worried for his safety. It’s crazy how involved you can get with a character in a book, I love that.

This is a very well written book, its very easy to read, well laid out. The pacing is perfect, not too much too soon, but it doesn’t feel stunted either. It’s just right as Goldilocks would say.

The dialogue is consistently engaging throughout and the split between thought, his internal voices, and the spoken word is very clear.

I highly recommend checking out the work of David Owen Hughes (if you haven’t done already). He is a very talented author, and I for one am looking forward to reading some more of his work.

Find it here:

5/5

Lesley-Ann

Housewife of Horror

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