The Horror Zine Review
The Haunted Grove
by Tim Jeffreys
|Paperback: 129 pages
Publisher: Dark Lane (Lulu, November 2011)
Size: 6.0 wide × 9.0 tall
The Haunted Grove
by Tim Jeffreys
Review by Dr. Kevin Hillman
The Haunted Grove by Tim Jeffreys is a collection of nine tales of terror that has something for everyone. There are short shorts and long shorts, with storylines from the straightforward to the surreal. Themes range from the near-SF tone of “Three Winters,” through the mental powers of “The Thought She Blurted Out” to the magic of the title story. As a showcase of the author’s versatility, this collection serves its purpose well.
To add to the versatility theme, take a look at the cover. Note that it’s hand-drawn and of a professional appearance. Very striking! Get ready to grind your teeth in envy because I did that too.
Nobody is going to enjoy every story in a mixed collection like this. The surreal tone of “The Secret Season” went right over this reviewer’s head. However, the quality of the writing is beyond doubt even though I didn’t understand that particular story. It’s almost lyrical and will appeal, no doubt, to those of more artistic temperament.
My own preferences were for the dark horror of “The Well”, the mysterious monster that was “The Foreigner,” the delightfully cruel twist in “Rain Songs” and of course, the main story, “The Haunted Grove.” Others will have other preferences but I’m sure everyone will find something here.
The characters in The Haunted Grove are believable throughout the stories and their nature varies from story to story. The settings are clear, objects are well described, and it’s easy to see what’s happening. I found myself easily and readily immersed in Jeffrey’s writing.
With any self-published book, I turn my “typo radar” on full alert. I found only two in the entire book. I have no idea whether the author used an editor or proofreader or did it all himself, but such attention to detail is appreciated and immediately lifts the book above the general mass of self-published works. I have seen more typos in some traditionally-published books. So I give this book a “bravo!”
Overall, the quality is good, the writing is good, the stories are good, the cover art is good, and there really isn’t anything to pick at from a reviewer’s point of view. The Haunted Grove is a worthy addition to anyone’s collection.
You can buy The Haunted Grove HERE.
About the Author
Tim Jeffreys grew up in Manchester, England, and from an early age used writing and drawing as a means of escape. His early attemps at storytelling took the form of comic books until he became frustrated by the amount of time this took. So he launched straight into writing and illustrating a novel, a vampire tale entitled The Riders (now, for better or worst, lost). After making it to University and completing a degree in Graphic Arts Tim decided, after much encouragement, to sideline the artwork and make writing his main focus. This would take some explaining in the years to come. By now, though, he had been introduced to the idea of the short story and he started to produce these in tandem with his longer work.
You can learn more about Tim Jeffreys HERE.
About the Reviewer
Dr. Kevin Hillman
Dr. Kevin Hillman has a PhD that allows him to play with deadly bacteria without supervision. Someone once thought it was a good idea to teach him this stuff, but he's dead now.
In between, Kevin writes and appears online as anyone but himself. His multiple personalities include the sensible and restrained Gutbugs and the sensible but volatile Romulus Crowe, as well as the militant Leg-iron and the utterly deranged Phineas Dume. That last incarnation wrote articles for AlienSkin magazine until its demise and takes the credit for most of the stories.
He has a properly-published novel called Jessica's Trap, some self-published short story collections, and is also working on others. His online existence is gradually coagulating into a central mess at www.hkhillman.co.uk
Kevin's short stories have appeared in From The Asylum, AlienSkin, and other online venues. So far fame eludes him, which he doesn't mind. So does fortune, which he does mind. Money is the root of all evil so horror writers naturally require a lot of it. You know it makes sense.
Visit Phineas Dume HERE