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.The Church of Freyr & Other Dark Tales by Duncan Thompson
Published by Lone Wolf Press on 5 July 2021
Genres: Horror Short Stories
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"The scarecrows are coming..."Welcome to Freykirk - population, 266. A quaint, rural, yet affluent village where everybody knows everybody else and the locals are not afraid to leave their doors unlocked at night. Washed-up writer and city boy, Cage Roberts, is about to experience village life first-hand when he spends a weekend in Freykirk visiting his ex-wife and their two children. On his way there, he picks up a young runaway named Rochelle. Together, they discover what it truly means to be part of a village community... But to whet your appetite before you venture into The Church of Freyr, there are two one-hundred word drabbles and three short stories, coving all things weird and wonderful to the bizarre. "Thompson is a master of menace," - The coycaterpillar Reads
The Church of Freyr & Other Dark Tales brings about the return of The Master of Menace, Duncan Thompson. Just like his other works the trip into his imagination is a bumpy one! He warms us up with the triple threat of three short stories before screwing us with the main event.
Cage Roberts is a flawed character that is plagued by the wrongdoings of his life. A semi-successful author with two beautiful children. He could have had it all if it weren’t for his unfaithful dalliances with the opposite sex. His ex-wife, Julie tried to overlook them, she even suggested moving away so that Cage could attempt to escape his past, but it was a move too far for him. He lost it all. This is one thing that Thompson excels at and that is bringing to life characters that have more than one shade of grey to their personality, characters that should be difficult to like but you end up liking them anyway. The loneliness and sadness are executed with enough precision that it blends into the storyline allowing the reader to just accept that this is how it is for him.
It’s finally his weekend to have his kids and he’s excited, he only has to get through a book signing and the incessant encouragement to sleep with anything moving from his agent, Al. He describes him as the devil on his shoulder. Anyway, fast forward to the next morning, he’s got the hangover from hell, a mouth like Gandhi’s sandal and he’s running late for the long drive to Freykirk. He stops momentarily at the garage services to try and shake off his hangover with coffee. It’s there that he bumps into the very beautiful and young, Rochelle. They seem to hit it off, with Cage trying to shake off the devilish thoughts he’s having about her. She’s trying to get to London so he warily agrees to take her as far as Freykirk where she can call a taxi to take her the rest of the way.
There are very strange things are happening in the village of Freykirk. Firstly, why are their Norse markings on the local church and why does the community seem to be so against tourists? Now although Cage Roberts appears to be a character who is a bit morally grey it is in the scenes in Freykirk where you see a different side to him. He has a strong moral code with vast amounts of guilt affecting his actions.
The atmospheric edge to Freykirk was outstanding. It was the perfect companion to Cage’s desolation. The scarecrows and the stranger danger vibe of the residents gave off a claustrophobic undertone throughout the plot.
Duncan Thompson is fast becoming one of Horror’s most original and innovative voices.
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