BY TONY JONES
“A nasty business on a remote Scottish island…..”
“Unseemly: a Novella of Horror” the latest release from Jason Parent pulls in at a brief forty odd pages and around 75 minutes of reading, so you could argue it was a longish short story rather than a novella because of its length. However, I’m not going to quibble too much as it was an enjoyable mix of fantasy and horror which successfully dipped into the myths and folklore of old Ireland and Scotland. Celtic mythology isn’t the most popular basis of horror stories, so I’m always interested when I come across a new one.
Since Jason appeared on the horror scene around 2012 he has published a variety of novellas, novels and has featured in a number of short story anthologies. Last year Adrian Shotbolt, writing for The Ginger Nuts of Horror, gave “Wrathbone and Other Stories” a very good review and I would say that this release “Unseemly” fits in very well with the stories in that collection, whether it has enough going for it to merit an individual release I am not sure. Corpus Press are selling the paperback for £3.99, so judge for yourself whether this offers value for money for what’s on offer. However, you can’t argue with the 99p Kindle price in the UK.
The plot is pretty straight forward and opens with Peter on a remote Scottish island which remains unnamed, meeting a former business partner he's done dodgy stuff with in the past who has lured him there with the promise of making easy money to help pay his mounting debts. His ex-partner believes the island hides a secret…. Why does nobody seem to work? Why is everyone so well to do? Rather than heading into Wicker Man territory which was always one distinct possibility poor old Peter and his chums have a more supernatural world of pain waiting in front of them.
“Unseemly” is written in two parts, much of the first half is set in a local pub and sets the scene, for the major kick off in the second half which gets way, way darker as we head into the ancient myths surrounding the legends of faeries and I’m not talking about Tinkerbell. In the end of the day there is only so much you can do with a story that weights in between 40-50 pages, but the author sets the scene well, loads up on atmosphere and it has a real killer ending. So it’s well worth spending your 99p on and is a pretty easy and undemanding read.
If you’re interesting in YA horror Ginger Nuts reviewed “The Call” by Peadar O'Guilin not so long ago, which was a tremendous twist on the Irish faerie myth. It’s a subject I’ve long been a fan of, flip back 25 years and I was devouring the books of Bridget Wood who between 1991-94 wrote a four book series called “WolfKing” which if my memory serves me correctly was amongst some of the most violent fantasy horror I have ever read and the series made a life-long impression on me I have never forgotten. Maybe Jason Parent is a fan of Bridget Wood? His “Unseemly” story certainly dips its toes in her nightmare world and when you get to the final page poor old Peter and his fellow chancers may well be a character in one of Bridget Wood’s novels. Should you be interested the Bridget Woods books have recently been rereleased on Kindle under the author’s other pen name Sarah Rayne.
Some discoveries are better left unmade.
Peter thought he was done with grave robbing, but when a former business partner lures him out to Dungarradh, a small Scottish island with a big secret, he finds himself waist deep in more than local folklore. Is the disappearance of his teammate truly the work of the legendary fae, or is a sinister force at play?
A brand-new tale of dark fantasy and horror, from the bestselling author of WHAT HIDES WITHIN and SEEING EVIL.