Doll House by Ashley Lister
BLURB: Following the death of his best friend, author Ben Haversham is crippled by a terminal case of writer’s block. The isolation of his agent’s remote cottage, nestled in an out-of-the-way village, seems like the ideal location for him to rekindle his creativity.
Except, Sandalwood village, with its curious museum the ‘Doll House’, is not as idyllic as it first appears.
There is a history to Sandalwood. There are nefarious plots and dark secrets held by the sinister souls who reside in Sandalwood. And there are dark and dangerous characters determined to keep those secrets.
Even if his own ghosts hadn’t followed him to Sandalwood, Ben discovers that he would still have been haunted by the many malevolent spirits that reside in the village beneath the shadow of the Doll House.
Ben Haversham is having a case of writer’s block following a tragedy that happened a year ago. Since then, he has been unable to write the third book in a trilogy series that should have already been completed. Ben’s agent, John is determined to get that manuscript, so he forces Ben to stay at one of his country cottages in the village of Sandalwood for the next three months. Ben will have the solitude and isolation necessary to complete his novel. Only Sandalwood is not as it seems and something is definitely not right in this village. Is it already too late for Ben to escape or will the secrets he learns seal his fate for good?
When I first started reading this story, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I will admit the first three or four chapters I was a bit confused with the introduction of new characters, but once I got passed the first few chapters I realized it was needed and served as warm up for things to come. This is when the story started to shine for me and boy did it turn quite disturbing! There are two things that creep me out the most and they are dolls and clowns. Needless to say Ashley Lister has a wicked sense of humor including two of the top things most people are probably afraid of.
Everytime a doll was mentioned all I kept seeing is this:
Creepy, I know!
Once I found out about the clowns. Here was my next mental image:
Needless to say, I probably should NOT have started reading this story at night. Yes, I am a scaredy cat. You are probably wondering why I like horror stories right about now, too. What can I say? I am a glutton for punishment.
Doll House just gets weirder and weirder as you move along with the chapters and I couldn’t help myself from liking it to the TV Show American Horror Story. It’s not necessarily scary, but the freak out factor is on point. Lister blends just the right amount of tension and fear throughout the story. The lure of the village really draws you right in and I needed to know what comes next although, I was slightly perturbed knowing that I was actually enjoying it given the fact that I am scared of dolls and clowns.
I really loved the characterization of Ben. He is going through a tough time after his tragedy and he has really let himself go with drinking and recreational activities, but you can see how he blames himself for what happened a year ago. Is he a likable character? Yes and no. I could see how much he cared about certain things and people, but sometimes he could be a jerk. Also, he was kinda wimpy for a man, but under the circumstances and in a creepy village like this, I could understand why.
Doll House by Ashley Lister is a darkly written, twisted tale which delves deep into the creep zone with a side of eerie that will have you questioning your sanity when you reach the last page. If you are a fan of all things weird and horror, then you will definitely enjoy reading this story. I will certainly be looking for more from Ashley Lister in the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ashley Lister is a prolific author, having written more than fifty full length titles and over a hundred short stories. Aside from regularly blogging about writing erotica, Ashley also lectures in creative writing and hosts open mic poetry events in Blackpool, Lancashire. Doll House is Ashley Lister’s second horror novel from Caffeine Nights, following on the success of the much acclaimed Raven and Skull.
Doll House will be published by Caffeine Nights on June 28th 2018. The book will be available in print and ebook format
Website : http://www.ashleylister.co.uk/