Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Publication Date: 29th September 2017
REVIEWED BY NEV
A copy of Quiet Places by Jasper Bark was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publishers, Crystal Lake Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.
Jasper Bark. A man revered by many, and loved by most. I always used to see him as a sort of enigma. Until I got a chance to interview him, and discovered he is, just that. I have a huge amount of respect for this man and his writing. He doesn’t follow any formulas and doesn’t give a toss whether what he writes follows guidelines or not. He just does what he does, and he does it so well. Saying that, I have a lot of catching up to do with his work. I should be reading the old stuff but when something new comes out, I make a point now of trying to get to it very quickly.
That’s what I did with Quiet Places. This is what I thought.
Sally and David have had a funny old relationship. Always liking to keep their distance, they are now about to move in together, in an old cottage that David has inherited from an uncle of his.
The cottage is in Dunballan and it appears David is the last in a very long line of lairds that have lived in the area. When they arrive, it soon becomes clear to Sally that there is something mysterious about Dunballan. An ancient beast is about to show itself and take David for itself.
It comes down to Sally to learn about the past, to try and save the future.
Jasper Bark has a way of teaching you everything you need to know about the characters in his stories in a very short amount of time. This is true again with Quiet Places. Sally and David have had a torrid time of it, but it has been nothing like what they face now. Sally has always felt a bit weak, but her strengths are all about to come to the fore. David has always been one to retreat to dark places and this time is no different. They have always been together while keeping their distance from each other. Now, Sally must do everything she can to keep the man she loves.
The people of Dunballan feature but not in the way you would expect. One of David’s ancestors, Matthew, spends a lot of his time telling you the story and it soon becomes clear where David gets his melancholy from.
The plot is pretty much how it is described in the synopsis. The way it is told is not.
This is probably one of the most messed up timelines I have ever read in a story. It jumps all over the place. For example, you will be reading a bit about Sally and it will mention something that happened last week. The next chapter will be “8 days earlier”. While reading that bit, it will mention something that happened a month ago. Instead of reverting back to the original bit, it will jump to the bit from a month ago. Now, you would think this would be confusing. It isn’t though. It is extremely effective in telling the story and it makes it work fantastically well.
The overall feeling you get from this story is wonderful as well. It’s difficult to describe. Some may call it folklore. Some may call it cosmic. Some may call it Lovecraftian. I simply call it a mixture of all the above. It does feel quite Lovecraftian to me, but it also feels a bit like William Hope Hodgson, of whom I am a huge fan. When it sneaks back to the olden times, when David’s ancestor is telling his piece of the story, it reminded me a lot of old Carnacki stories and I can see this appealing to anyone who likes that style of writing.
I had to think long and hard before writing this review. I really wasn’t sure what to write. This is one of those stories that I absolutely love but have no idea how to describe it or put together a review that will do it justice of any kind.
So, I think I will just leave it there. I will highly recommend this story to you though if you like horror that totally sucks you into the story and won’t let you leave.
I will also give you a word of advice. Be careful when you pick this one up. I thought I would read the start of it before bed, just to get a feel for it. I didn’t get to sleep until I had finished the entire thing. It is that engrossing.
Super. Wonderful stuff. That Jasper Bark man sure can tell a thrilling and scary yarn!
☆☆☆☆☆ simply wonderful!
☆☆☆☆☆ and again.
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In the quiet of the forest, the darkest fears are born.
The people of Dunballan, harbour a dark secret. A secret more terrible than the Beast that stalks the dense forests of Dunballan. A secret that holds David McCavendish, last in a long line of Lairds, in its unbreakable grip.
It’s down to Sally, David’s lover, to free David from the sinister clutches of the Beast. But, with the whole town against her, she must ally herself with an ancient woodland force and trace Dunballan’s secret back to its bitter origins. Those origins lie within the McCavendish family history, and a blasphemous heresy that stretches back to the beginning of time. Some truths are too terrible to face, and the darkest of these lie waiting for Sally, in the Quiet Places.
Quiet Places is folk horror at its most cosmic and terrifying. Blending folklore with psychological terror, it contains stories within stories, each one leading to revelations more unsettling than the last. Revelations that will change the way you view your place in the cosmos, and haunt you, relentlessly, long after you have put down this book.
Quiet Places is a novella in the Heresy Series story cycle and has been substantially rewritten and revised for this edition.
Represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths
CONFESSIONS REVIEWS JASPER BARK
Jasper Bark is infectious – and there’s no known cure. If you’re reading this then you’re already at risk of contamination. The symptoms will begin to manifest any moment now. There’s nothing you can do about it. There’s no itching or unfortunate rashes, but you’ll become obsessed with his books, from the award winning collections ‘Dead Air’ and ‘Stuck on You and Other Prime Cuts’, to cult novels like ‘The Final Cut’ and acclaimed graphic novels such as ‘Bloodfellas’ and ‘Beyond Lovecraft’.
Soon you’ll want to tweet, post and blog about his work until thousands of others fall under its viral spell. We’re afraid there’s no way to avoid this, these words contain a power you are hopeless to resist. You’re already in their thrall and have been since you began reading this bio. Even now you find yourself itching to read the whole of his work. Don’t fight it, embrace the urge and wear your obsession with pride!
And for more about Jasper, visit his site or find him on social media: