The Horror Zine
Axe excerpt
The Horror Zine Review


by Terry Grimwood

Print Length: 294 pages
Publisher: Double Dragon eBooks (May 4, 2012)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B0080KB8F8



by Terry Grimwood

Review by Ian Hunter

I call myself the world’s most reluctant reader, because sometimes I find that reading can be chore, especially if they book is inches thick and contains chapters of thirty pages or more. Fortunately, “Axe” by Terry Grimwood is not such a weighty tome as it is only 296 pages long, consisting of a prologue and epilogue and ten chapters in between. But that did make me wince slightly. Ten chapters? Clearly we’re in over twenty pages per chapter territory here, but not to worry because Axe comes across like a blistering guitar solo and sucks the reader in effortlessly.

The title of Grimwood’s book does not refer to something a woodsman might use to chop up a tree. It refers to a guitar, evident by the great cover illustration by Deron Douglas.

This eye-catching cover shows a guitar up close which emits crackling bolts of lightning and blasts of energy, caused perhaps by the swinging of a leather-encased arm to create a killer riff or chord. Behind the guitar, the rest of the cover is fiery, lava-like; bristling with more bolts of energy and something else in the corner: a demonic, skeletal-like face with no eyes, just empty dark pits.

Right from the first page, Axe creates excitement when a woman enters Jack (Joe-Jack) Fosdyke’s guitar shop which is known as “Jack’s Axe.” She arrives to offer Joe-Jack some second-hand “musicware” as she calls it. The music just happens to include some tunes written by her brother, the dead rocker Andy Crane. She knows she should have destroyed that music, but somehow couldn’t bring herself to do so.

Before he died, Andy Crane had tapped into an ancient power called “The Song” which had been lying dormant. Once woken, it runs through life from the womb to the grave and beyond. It needs to feed. It needs an outlet and finds one in the form of aging rocker Steve Turner, who is basically a rough diamond and a good guy. But Turner has never had the breaks or made the most of his talent, and time is running out for him and the fellow members of his band “The Blue Dogs.”

Life could be good for Steve if he could just accept things and let them be. He’s met the love of his life in Lydia, who saw the band play one night and has her own dark secrets, but Steve visits Joe-Jack’s shop and finds the music, which is difficult to interpret, let alone play. He tries and flinches away, seeing…something. Something that should be left alone, but he can’t and soon he is on the rock and roll road to hell.

Axe moves along, building pace, and gathers a host of believable characters as it revs up the speed. Grimwood is clearly good at character development, ranging from musicians to police officers, and giving them convincing back stories.

Grimwood is also good at keeping a few secrets up his sleeves. There are twists and turns between the prologue and the epilogue as we learn what really happened to Andy Crane, and what has been happening ever since.

Grimwood is particularly good at action and at cranking up the horror. He is reminiscent of British writer Stephen Laws at being able to describe “physical” horror, which can be described as the warping of laws of nature as Steve uses “The Song” and the “The Song” also uses him to a terrifying effect.

Supernatural horror and rock and roll, or heavy metal, is probably a seam richly mined in the short story form. But I can only think of David Schow’s “The Kill Riff” or George R. R. Martin’s “The Armageddon Rag” as examples of novels who have tapped into this sub-genre. Despite the unifying theme of music, those two books are nothing like each other, nor is Axe anything like them. Axe ploughs its own unique furrow and is a very welcome addition to this genre.

Find the book HERE

About the author

Terry Grimwood

Terry Grimwood

Married to transatlantic poet Jessica Lawrence, Terry Grimwood works as a lecturer at a further education college in England. Before that he has been an electrician, project engineer, quality assurance representative and technical author. His first love, however, has always been writing. with numerous short story appearances in a variety of magazines (many of which have been gathered into his collection "The Exaggerated Man"), three novels and three plays.

When he is not writing, reading or lecturing, Terry plays harmonica and tries to sing at the "Ain't Nothin' but the Blues" pub in London, and treads the boards with a local amateur dramatic society.

Terry writes educational books for Pearson and also run his own small (and beautiful) Exaggerated Press. His Exaggerated Press also publishes a fiction and poetry magazine called Wordland.

The Exaggerated man and Other Stories
The Places Between
Bloody War

About the reviewer

Ian Hunter

Ian Hunter

Ian Hunter lives in Scotland where he edits and publishes “Unspoken Water” and is a director of the Scottish Writers Collective “Read Raw.” He’s also poetry editor for the British Fantasy Society and is a frequent reviewer for “Interzone” the UK’s leading science fiction and fantasy magazine. He’s pictured here enjoying a pint of the Eldritch at the World Horror Convention when it took place in Brighton.