Book review ‘Haunted Souls’

  • Author: Samuel M. Hallam
  • Publisher: Ginger Paw Press
  • publishing year: 2022 (out mid-July)
  • Number of pages: 142 (Tolino ereader)
  • My rating: 4/5
Haunted Souls

Synopsis:

Death brings January Miller home, back to a house that’s taken so much from her over the years – Stone Acres. After years away from the manor, January finds herself drawn back there. To a place soaked in horror and tragedy, the scope of which she cannot imagine…
Samuel M. Hallam’s debut novel will bring both January and the reader face to face with a relentless evil which has plagued Stone Acres for centuries.

Review:

When you mix the gothic atmosphere from Susan Hill and the movie The Haunting with the paranormal horror from stuff such as The Conjuring, Insidious and recently Vecna (from the fourth season of Stranger Things), you might have an inkling of an idea what Samuel wanted to obtain with his debut novel: scaring his readers by combining all those elements in a fast paced story! Actually another allegory would fit as well: what if Susan Hill (yes, her again) had written The Hellbound Heart instead of Clive Barker? Well, Sam wrote just that story!

‼️‼️‼️The next part will contain spoilers for the story‼️‼️‼️ do not read yet if you still have to read the novel!

The Soul Reaper is definitely one of the baddest meanies or meanest baddies I’ve seen appear in a horror novel lately. His hunger for new souls and his motivation (and modus operandi) to ‘harvest’ these and the way he appears to his victims is for sure an image that will haunt some readers in their nightmares. Bones with rotting flesh here and there… and a way to invade other people’s bodies and jumping bodies, so they do his bidding… not being in control of your own body… that is no fun!

No more spoilers from here on out… (unless mentioned)

As a villain, The Reaper is definitely one of the worst out there. I haven’t had so much fun reading about a bad spirit or creature since Pennywise from Stephen King’s It. I always have a bit of a soft spot for the monsters in books and movies… I can never get enough of Pennywise or Freddie Krueger or even a human monster such as Jigsaw from the Saw movies (whomever it is, the way they taunt their victims… it always brings a smile to my face, guess I am a bit sadistic)

As for the writing, Sam uses a very clear and legible language with chapters that aren’t overly long. His pace is really fast going so the story never feels dull or boring. There’s always a lot going on, the scares never really stop… January is a powerful character, clearly a chip from the block because her father Kyle was as well!

So this is one debut I highly recommend to all fans of (gothic) horror and especially fans of indiehorror will enjoy this book! And isn’t it just great to support another great writer to the indie community?!

Finally I do wish to thank the author, Samuel, for giving me the opportunity for being an ARC reader and reviewer and for the confidence he gave me with his work. I am always happy to help spread the word because I am a true believer in support for indie authors!

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