Review: J.R. Park – Punch

Review: J.R. Park – Punch


Genre: Horror
Publisher: Sinister Horror Company
Publication Date: 15th November 2014
Pages: 210




This is another one that wasn’t sent to Confessions for a review. I have started to pull books off my special shelf in between review submissions sent in. I felt it was about time that I read some of the ones I buy at cons for my own book porn shelf instead of just looking at them every day.

I got this one from Mr Park at Horror Con 2016 so it has only taken me a year to get around to reading it. That is shameful, considering I absolutely loved Upon Waking when I read it so should have read this a lot sooner.

This is what I thought of Punch.

Martin Powell has returned to Stanswick Sands after being away for ten years. He hasn’t been on holiday, he has been in prison. Some would say he is mad to return, but he has some business to attend to.

He just wants to sort his house out and live a quiet life and possibly revive his Punch and Judy show he used to have on the pier.

When he meets the beautiful Polly, his life takes a turn he did not expect and he thinks things may be improving for him. That is, until some of the locals recognise him and word gets around that he is back.

The quiet life he wanted just doesn’t seem likely now that Mr Punch is back.

Martin is the main man in this story. Returning to his home town after something that is shrouded in mystery, but something you know that put him in prison, is surely a risky thing to do. To be honest, I thought Martin was a bit nuts to be doing this but when you initially get to know his character, he is a soft, timid man who truly believes he has done no wrong. There is a certain underlying anger though that threatens to come out, many times.

Polly is his love interest and just comes out of nowhere. I was suspicious of her at the beginning because it all seemed to be a bit coincidental that she just came on the scene when he came back. Her intentions towards him appear to be good and caring, but I just didn’t trust her.

Jo and Pippa are two young ladies who have grown up in the town. Leading normal, boring lives now, their worlds are about to turn completely upside down and you will learn things about them that may just make you go whaaaaaaat?!

The plot is not very apparent at the beginning. For all intents and purposes, it is a tale about a man returning to his home town after being in jail for a while. As I said. Martin seems to be a bit simple on it so he just wants to get back to normal. That seems to be the story.

As it unravels though, you soon get to learn of some secrets that have been kept by various people involved in the story. Martin is keeping secrets from Polly and there are others that need to tell the truth before all hell breaks loose.

Unfortunately, it breaks loose before those truths are told.

This is the part of the story that moves everything in to top gear and what was looking like a nice story about a man in a seaside town, turns into one of mass murder, mayhem and blood splatters all over the place.

I was surprised at how this story was going after reading Mr Park’s efforts in Upon Waking. It was reading as a totally different style altogether until the turning point in the story.

Once this happens, this book turns into a thrilling bloodbath of a ride that never seems to want to end.

Justin Park has a unique style of writing. To be included in the horror genre, his writing is very laid back and very calm. He makes the story go at the pace he wants it to, not the pace you expect it to. When he thinks it’s time for things to kick off, they do. This is a wonderful style for a reader because, really, you have no choice as to how it goes. You are sucked in and can’t escape until the story is finished. I think captivating is the word I would best use to describe it.

I am going to make it a point to pull the rest of the JR Park books I have on the shelf, off that shelf, and get them read, very soon.

To summarise: a horror tale that starts off anything but, when the killing starts though, hold on to your hat.


General rating:
☆☆☆☆☆ crackin story!

Horror rating:
☆☆☆☆☆ has everything!


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Book Synopsis:

It’s carnival night in the seaside town of Stanswick Sands and tonight blood will stain the beach red.

Punch and Judy man, Martin Powell, returns after ten years with a dark secret. As his past is revealed Martin must face the anger of the hostile townsfolk, pushing him to the very edge of sanity.

Humiliated and stripped of everything he holds dear, Martin embarks on a campaign of murderous revenge, seeking to settle scores both old and new.

The police force of this once sleepy town can’t react quick enough as they watch the body count grow at the hands of a costumed killer.

Can they do enough to halt the malicious mayhem of the twisted Punch?




J.R. Park is a writer of Horror Fiction based in Bristol, UK.

Regularly citing Guy N Smith as an influence and inspiration, it was an interview with the said author in Darkside Magazine that was the catalyst for Park to begin his career in literature.

He writes his books as if they were video nasties beamed straight from the golden era of exploitation cinema.





And for more about Justin, visit his site or find him on social media:

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