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.Diabolica Britannica: A Dark Isles Compendium by Various Authors
Published by Self Published on July 13th 2020
Genres: Horror, Occult & Supernatural, Supernatural, Haunted House, Witchcraft, Gothic
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Diabolica Britannica is a collection of 14 dark tales from the dark isles. It features contributions from the following authors: Adam L G Nevill, Tim Lebbon, Keith Anthony Baird, John F Leonard, Morgan K Tanner, Arthur M Harper, Christopher Henderson, Beverley Lee, Sarah E England, Catherine McCarthy, Stephanie Ellis, Janine Pipe, Sarah J Budd and Alyson Faye.
How the hell do I write this review?
Diabolica Britannica is quite frankly everything that is good about the horror fiction genre neatly compacted in a kick ass anthology. The genre is producing some of the best fiction out there at the moment and it’s getting harder to get scared and shocked but this awesome work of art packs a swift punch to jugular. A Dark Isles Compendium instantly took me to the freezing and rugged coastline of the Scottish highlands, the brutal streets of London and the isolating manor houses watching your every move, so it can make theirs!
As much as I love the genre, sometimes, the titles don’t jump out at you and the synopsis just sounds the same. There’s names you automatically trust, you know that you are going to be in safe hands. Pick up this book and you are going to be reacquainted with old friends and new outstanding voices that will quite frankly knock your socks off! So, what are you going to get when you dive into Diabolica Britannica? A new wave of British horror, genuine characters that evoke a wide spectrum of emotions and plots of intricately weaved that you aren’t sure if you want to stay in the story or crawl away kicking and screaming!
The opening story is a doozy! Catherine McCarthy hits us straight in the feels with her Story Carreg Samson. Ever sat and thought about how simpler our childhoods were? Lack of social media, no internet and no mobile phones. It’s about being more Intune with your environment rather than destroying it at a rate that is frighteningly irreversible. It’s a truly realistic horror story. This story was love at first sight for me. A plot that drew blood, a raw truth.
The Secret of Westport Fell by Beverley Lee stood out for me. Set in what I assume is in the Victorian era – the atmosphere is palpitatingly claustrophobic. A woman who has got to the point in her life where she hasn’t married. She arrives at Westport Fell to care for her dying aunt. This story is haunting…so haunting I’m surprised I didn’t have fog pouring out of my kindle. We’ve come across stories like this before, so what made the difference? The author did. Beverley Lee’s writing is so utterly flawless that words spill out into the void and scramble for supremacy.
Diabolica Britannica wouldn’t have been complete without a werewolf story and boy can Janine Pipe deliver on the monster horror. Footsteps…the title doesn’t instantly strike fear in the heart of its readers, but it is a sinister undertone in an atmosphere of dread and panic. Another author that can set a scene and it impregnate it in your psyche and it takes root and makes itself at home. The safety of home and a locked door is a faded memory. My eyes grew to the size of saucers and I’m not ashamed to say that I had a few WTF moments. A heavy and intense read that will make monster lovers extremely happy!
Linger by John F Leonard gave me my long anticipated haunted house story. A different literary voice that knew exactly what I wanted and delivered it with every fibre of his being. It’s the perfect pretext at examining the human condition and how it has a predispotion to greed and literally nothing will stand in their way of achieving their goals. The ending felt like being in a snow storm with no jacket on – try as you might to fight against the oncoming freeze, it will get into your bones and chill you!
Diabolica Britannica is the very best in British horror. There is not one bad story contained within. Be prepared to be transported into a world of horrific situations and spellbinding atmosphere. Powerfully visceral with razor sharp narratives.
Authors can be found at – Diabolica Britannica
Thanks to Keith and all the contributing authors for the work they’ve put in in putting this compendium together and donating all proceeds going to the NHS in the wake of covid – 19.