Rosie’s #Review-A-Book Challenge #RRABC #Horror HIGHLAND COVE by @dylanjmorgan

Today we have a review from Sherry, who took part in our Review-A-Book Challenge. Sherry blogs here https://sherryfowlerchancellor.com/

Sherry chose to read Highland Cove by Dylan J Morgan.

Five friends with ambitions to become documentarians travel from London to an abandoned asylum on a Scottish island. The doctor who ran the asylum died sixty years prior and the hospital was closed and is rumored to be haunted.

The author is excellent at evoking atmosphere. The descriptions—first of the pub where the friends met the man who was taking them to the island—then of the island itself—and, finally, the inside of the asylum. The descriptions were creepy and very well done. Dark clouds hanging over the island and the storm complete with lightning added to the exquisite sense of anticipation of meeting some supernatural beings in the corridors or hospital rooms in the abandoned building. Peeling paint, dead leaves and icy wind whirling through the scenes were particularly evocative.

This reader enjoyed the suspense of the book for most of the novel. Figuring out an essential plot point early on was interesting and upped the anticipation of what was ahead.

What was unexpected was the shock of what happened later in the story, and without any spoilers, it’s hard to say what that was, but it was almost too much for this reader. I confess, I glossed over some of that, swiping my e-reader pages faster until the tale moved past that part. I imagine many readers of this genre would revel in that section, but not this one. It didn’t ruin the story for me, but it was disturbing.

The flashes back to the past added to the overall creepiness of the novel. The author is definitely gifted with a talent for descriptiveness. I could see all the places in the story and some made my skin crawl.

If you’re a fan of horror, you shouldn’t pass on this one. The ending was particularly disturbing. Just don’t read before bed or you might wake up at 2 a.m, like I did thinking I heard someone calling my name…..

Book description

Highland Cove Sanatorium sits abandoned on a desolate island one mile off the Scottish mainland. It’s a dark, foreboding place, filled with nightmares. Even darker are the asylum’s secrets: a history of disease and mental illness, macabre experiments and murder.

The tales of ghostly appearances are said to be more fact than fiction, but no one has ever documented the phenomenon. Codie Jackson aims to change all that. Arriving from London with his small independent film crew, they plan to make a documentary that will forever change their lives.

But when one of the crew disappears, things begin to spiral out of control. A storm closes in to ravage the island, and in the darkness Highland Cove’s true horrors are revealed. Now lost within the institution’s labyrinthine corridors, Codie and his team realize that their nightmare is only just beginning.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of Noir #Fiction Moristoun by Kevin McAllion @Moristoun set in #Scotland

MoristounMoristoun by Kevin McAllion

4 stars

Moristoun is a noir fiction novel which is set on a Scottish island and features the subject of suicide.

Public defender Buchan is needed urgently on the mainland. Part of his work includes trying to prevent suicides. His latest case is James McSorely, a thirty-year-old who has a long list of misfortunes, and Buchan hopes that a quick intervention will turn McSorely’s life around. He offers McSorely a job as his assistant on the island of Moristoun with the added bonus of free accommodation.

Most of the inhabitants of Moristoun are stuck in their day-to-day routines. Being cut off from mainland Scotland, there is also very little to occupy them, except for football. This is a favourite topic of conversation in a pub called the Tortured Soul.

But all is not what it seems. Apart from Buchan, the only island inhabitants able to return to the mainland are McSorley and Gail, the pub landlord’s daughter. Secrets are being kept and McSorley discovers that he wants answers.

I would describe this as an intense story, and I found I needed to take breaks from it before continuing. One drawback was that some of the chapters jump back to the past with no warning, so I was not always immediately aware in which era I was reading, and this made the secondary storylines harder to pick up each time. A chapter heading to indicate the time jump would have made the reading flow better.

The suicide theme was woven through the grim setting. The author used a mix of criminal action and seedy characters, which worked well for the genre, and there were also moments of wry humour to lift the bleak future of the island’s inhabitants. A different read for me, not a genre I often choose, but it’s good to shake up reading habits from time-to-time.

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Book description

McSorely has had enough. His life has spiralled out of control and nothing has gone his way. There seems to be only one option open to him, one last thing he can do to take control of his fate. All hope is lost.
But far away on the mysterious island of Moristoun, Buchan is charged with the task of dissuading McSorely from this drastic course of action. Moristoun is where people like McSorely might end up, having exchanged one kind of hopelessness for another.
A glimpse of the ‘life’ he might be heading for might change McSorely’s opinion of his own existence, but a glimpse of the entrancing Gail behind the bar in the pub and a hint about Moristoun’s true nature could render all of Buchan’s efforts to rehabilitate the despairing McSorely equally hopeless.

About the author

I was born in Dundee but now live in Glasgow with my wife Thanyalak and daughter Jennifer. I have worked as sports journalist since 1997, when I started out writing football match reports for The Sunday Mail newspaper while still a journalism student.

Since then I’ve written and edited for a wide range of publications, including the Scottish Daily Express, The Big Issue in Scotland, The Herald, The Scottish Standard and The Scottish Daily Mail. I now work full-time as a sub-editor for the Daily Record and Sunday Mail.

When not at work I relax at home with my family and survey my simian empire, rhesuspark.com, which is probably the world’s only spoof monkey park.

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