I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Hearthstone Cottage by Frazer Lee
Published by Flame Tree Press on October 24, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Horror
Format: ARC, eBook
Buy on Amazon
"Lee creates an atmosphere of unease and foreboding that culminates in explosive violence and terror. Rife with frightening imagery, ghosts, and visceral horror, this tale will please the most ardent of horror fans." - Booklist
Mike Carter and his girlfriend Helen, along with their friends Alex and Kay, travel to a remote loch side cottage for a post-graduation holiday. But their celebrations are short-lived when they hit and kill a stag on the road. Alex s sister Meggie awaits them in the cottage, adding to the tension when her dog, Oscar, goes missing. Mike becomes haunted by a disturbing presence in the cottage, and is hunted by threatening figures in the highland fog. Reeling from a shock revelation, Mike begins to lose his grip on his sanity. As the dark secrets of the past conspire to destroy the bonds of friendship, Mike must uncover the terrifying truth dwelling within the walls of Hearthstone Cottage.
FLAME TREE PRESSis the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
Thanks to Anne Cater @Things through my letter box tours and Flame Tree Press for my spot on the blog tour and a copy of the book. All thoughts are unbiased and my own. Hearthstone Cottage just made me crazy – in a completely amazing way. I seriously wish I had a brain that was as capable of such genius. I mainly stick to thrillers or fantasy but when I do pick up a good Horror, I usually become so immersed in the world I usually question why I don’t read more. This is one of these times. Book hangover central over here! Flame Tree Press have released some of my favourite books of the year. Be prepared for a suspenseful, creepy and raw read. Thank you, Frazer Lee, for scaring the crap out of me!
Outstanding writing, intriguing layers, the tension and suspense was edge of your seat stuff, relatable characters that I could see myself getting along with and the twists and turns left me aching for more. The author certainly has gained a new fan.
This book is so full of suffocating intrigue it makes you palpate trying to figure out the next bad thing that’s going to happen. This storyline seems extremely plausible especially is you know the little villages and cottages like I do that reside in the Highlands. Having stayed fifty miles north of Inverness, I know the eerie little cottages, the wilderness feeling claustrophobic at times, the air feeling stale with evil promise. These little places are great to escape everyday life, but it does feel like eyes are on you at every turn. You know you are in for a ride when the events happen before you even turn up.
The first chapter is threatening. It sets the tone straightaway, haunting and panicky. I knew this was going to be a book that I wouldn’t put down until it was finished. Boy was I right, no toilet breaks, no phone breaks…I was engrossed. It is a story of two couples Mike and Helen, Alex and Kay and Alex’ sister, Meggie. They were all excited to be spending some time at Hearthstone Cottage, Alex’ fathers’ property. They had finally got through their finals and had graduated. The hard work was over, they could finally relax and what better place than Hearthstone…right? It was in a prime location, surrounded by a loch. No tv, no internet no wi-fi, no phone signal. Escapism. Before they even get there however, they hit and kill a stag. The symbolism of the accident will come back and haunt them. The description of the dying deer had my blood pressure steadily increasing. The cottage is pregnant with a sense of impending doom. Frazer Lee has the ability to conjure fear and anxiety from his narrative alone.
Things move on from bad to worse quickly. Meggie’s dog, Oscar seems spooked and runs away. Mike starts seeing disturbing things in the loch, the fish they catch turns his stomach. Is this all happening or is the houses’ presence impacting Mike. Events take eerie turns, at night Mike seems to have scary experiences but they all turn out to be dreams. Why hasn’t anyone else experienced these things? The author uses the human psyche as a weapon. We are scared of the things that we don’t understand. Our fear can’t be explained because we can’t explain the supernatural.
Why is Mike having these experiences? Is it the weed he smokes daily? Is it the fact that he doesn’t know where he fits in the world anymore? His relationship with Helen? I didn’t understand any of it, but I was compelled to keep going, to find the answers no matter how terrible they may be.
Why didn’t they just leave?
Towards the end things just get crazier and crazier. The story is building to a crescendo. True colours become revealed. One thing this book leaves you with is questions, it makes you question even your sanity. This is a story that you can’t just forget about, you won’t come out of it unscathed.
Hearthstone Cottage is a twisty and claustrophic read. Its taut with tension and fear. Do you self a favour and add this to your TBR.
Frazer Lee is a novelist, screenwriter and filmmaker.
His screenplay credits include the acclaimed horror/thriller feature Panic Button, and multi-award winning short films On Edge, Red Lines, Simone and The Stay. Frazer’s screenwriting and story consultant engagements have included commissions for Movie Mogul, The Asylum, Mediente, eMotion, and Vanquish Alliance Entertainment.
Frazer was awarded the Edgar Allan Poe Gothic Filmmaker Award for his short film The Stayin 2018. His film and television directing credits include the multi award-winning shorts On Edge and Red Lines, and the promo campaign for the Discovery Channel series True Horror With Anthony Head. Frazer was named one of the Top 12 UK directors in MySpace.com’s Movie Mash-up contest by a panel including representatives from 20th Century Fox, Vertigo Films and Film Four.
Frazer’s novel The Lamplighters was a Bram Stoker Award® Finalist for ‘Superior Achievement in a First Novel’, and a Book Pipeline Finalist (from over 950 entries). His other published works include the Amazon number 1 horror/thriller Panic Button: The Official Movie Novelisation, novels The Jack in the Green and The Skintaker, and the Daniel Gates Adventures series of novellas.