Month: January 2022

The Zombie Poets. (Short Version.)

The Zombie Poets 

If you’d rather read the story on your tablet, phone of computer,  you can download it from the link above.

Journal: 1st November. 2011.

I’m sick to death of these bloody Zombies, they are everywhere now. I can’t walk down the street without being accosted by them. They’re in the library, my local pub, and the gym. When I’m at home they squash their faces up against my windows and peer through my letterbox. I can’t escape them. They don’t want to bite me, eat me or rip off bits of my body, it’s much worse than that. They want to recite poetry to me.

It’s a waste of time trying to hide from them, they smell my fear. They know that as soon as I hear the opening line of ‘The Lady of Shalott,’ I break out in a cold sweat. They could sniff me out hiding in lead box in a disused tin mine.

I wasn’t always afraid of poetry, I used to quite like Pam Ayers on that TV talent show. It’s the repetition that gets to me, the dreadful monotone chanting. Hearing one Zombie do it is bad enough but when there are thirty, fifty…

 That’s how they turn you. They don’t need to bite. It’s a slow brainwashing process and its effects are devastating. My girlfriend and my two best friends have already succumbed. One day they were normal people headbanging to Metallica, the next they were sticking their heads through my open bathroom window mumbling some Scottish nonsense about a wee timorous beastie.

I bumped into then again when I went to steal supplies from the looted supermarket. They were staggering along the High Street with about half a dozen others, arms held in front, fixed stare, bits of rotting flesh dropping everywhere. Pam spotted me as I came out with my box of scavenged food. I started to run but tripped over a discarded foot and went my length on the tarmac. Before I could get to my feet, my ears were assailed by an horrific recital of a Lord Byron lament.

And thou art dead, as young and fair

As aught of mortal birth,

And form so soft, and charms so rare,

Too soon returned to Earth!

After the tenth reprise I could stand it no longer and I kicked, spat and fought my way from beneath their fixed eyes and cruel tongues. I ran like the hounds of hell were on my tail and made it back home, bruised and soiled, but still able to sing Stairway to Heaven.

Continue reading

My review of Getting Away With Murder, by Joy Wood.

Getting Away With Murder. Joy Wood.
An enjoyable tale of secrets, ambition and obsession.
Claire thinks she has everything. A beautiful house in the exclusive Sandbanks area of Dorset, a ten-year-old son she dotes on and a successful, if too often absent, husband, Max.
Happy to play the role of the stay-at-home mum Claire gets involved with a local community choir and spends her time working on the final touches to their newly refurbished home as she looks after Julia, her mum who is staying with the family after suffering a mini-stroke.
Max is the ambitious owner of a successful leisure company who is conducting a passionate, secret affair with the scheming, Anabelle, the beautiful owner of a rival leisure-based business who is intent on keeping the secret of her dark past, away from Max.
Anabelle feels a desperate need to control the lives of everyone that comes into her orbit, including the love life of her company manager. Jealous to the point of obsession, Anabelle plans her wedding without consulting her, ‘fiancée’ Max, whilst plotting to be rid of. ‘Clingy,’ her nickname for Claire.
Into the mix steps Adam, the strikingly handsome landscaper who has been brought in to clean up Claire’s extensive gardens that had been damaged during the house renovations.
With Adam causing more than a flutter in the chest of both Claire and Julia, and with Anabelle’s interference reaching new heights, can Claire’s marriage survive the increased tensions?
As usual with a Joy Wood novel, the characters are both believable and consistent. The plot is solid and intriguing. I read this enthralling book over two nights, reluctant to put it down, even for much needed sleep.
A well deserved five stars.
More please.
T. A. Belshaw

My Review of Carfax House by Shani Struthers.

My review of Carfax House. A Christmas story by Shani Struthers.
Not your run of the mill ghost story.
Carfax House is not your usual run of the mill ghost story, but then Shani Struthers is not your usual run of the mill author.
Set in the desolate winter landscape of the Leicestershire countryside, Carfax House sits alone in its overgrown, briar tangled acres. Neglected for too long, the big house has fallen into disrepair and is badly in need of more than a little TLC.
Step in, Lizzie and Al, a London journalist married to a criminal lawyer who see an opportunity on a property website. Sure, the old house will need some work and it will cost, but with the money they can get from selling their nicely appointed London apartment and their combined incomes, they should be able to afford to restore the old house to something close to its former glory. Besides, Lizzie thinks to herself, what woman wouldn’t want to saunter down that beautiful open staircase wearing a designer creation to the wide-eyed acclaim of her party guests?
So, the flat is sold and the deal is done. Carfax House, bought unseen, awaits their arrival.
I won’t go into too much detail of the story as I don’t want to spoil it for future readers but what I will say is that Carfax House has great depth and tackles issues that other authors steer well clear of. As I said earlier, this is not a run of the mill ghost story, it is a story of loss, of isolation, of desperate emotions.
Carfax House is all about memories. The repressed memory of childhood, dreadful memories of a shameful family secret that a mother and daughter weave a web of lies to attempt to hide, and the memories of an old house, memories that are baked into the bricks and mortar. Memories that make the floorboards creak, memories hidden behind a small but strong, oak door built into the walls of bedroom six.
You will be able to read this one in bed without scaring yourself silly. It’s not that kind of book, but by the time you reach the end, you will have been so eloquently informed about the brutality of mental illness and how it was endured by two families born a hundred years apart.
This book gets a well-deserved five-star rating from me. I lost myself in this short novel for a few hours, reading it in one session, broken only by my need to fuel my long-standing coffee addiction.
T. A. Belshaw.  Dec 31st.  2021

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