Father of Lies by Sarah England – A Book Review

father-of-lies-cover-art

Blurb: 

Ruby is the most violently disturbed patient ever admitted to Drummersgate Asylum, high on the bleak moors of northern England. With no improvement after two years, Dr. Jack McGowan finally decides to take a risk and hypnotises her. With terrifying consequences.
A horrific dark force is now unleashed on the entire medical team, as each in turn attempts to unlock Ruby’s shocking and sinister past. Who is this girl? And how did she manage to survive such unimaginable evil? Set in a desolate ex-mining village, where secrets are tightly kept and intruders hounded out, their questions soon lead to a haunted mill, the heart of darkness…and The Father of Lies.

 

Author: Sarah England

Publisher: EchoWords

Release Date: 21/09/2015

Genre: Horror

Pages: 313

My chosen format to read: Kindle

My rating of ‘Father of Lies’: 4 out of 5

Purchase ‘Father of Lies’: Amazon UK/Amazon US/Book Depository

 

Book Review:

The cover art for ‘Father of Lies’ is as ominous as the title suggests the book is supposed to be. It immediately drew me in when I saw it advertised on book bub’s newsletter and I just had to find out more. It isn’t just nice, dark artwork to lure a horror fan in either, throughout the book, the use of figures clad in dark robes and hoods is prevalent, as is the feeling of being watched. The artist conveys that perfectly in the covert work.

Upon starting ‘Father of Lies’ I had high hopes due to the interesting premise set down in the blurb. After all, what’s not to like about the idea of getting sucked into a book that revolves around the daemonic possession of a mentally ill woman set in the backdrop of a mysterious northern mining town intent on keeping the lid on its dark secrets?

As I said, I had high hopes when starting and the way the prologue began made me feel as though those hopes were justified. The imagery used by the writer, topped by her writing style made me ever more excited to press on. The way the prologue ended brought me back down to earth and made me think that the author had just decided to play the whole thing a bit tame. Just didn’t seem to fit with the whole well-written prologue that preceded the last line or so.

That being said, my interest was still high but I was by no means being expected to be bowled over by what I was about to read. I enjoyed Sarah England’s writing style throughout but found, for the first half or so at least, it very difficult to either empathise or like any of her characters, except for one (and she only has a few parts in the book). The main characters just seem to be unlikeable, bad people due to their life choices and I just found it difficult to care when any of them had anything bad happen to them. This rubbed me the wrong way as, when reading, I like to feel attached to the people I am supposed to cheering for. It makes it all the more poignant when bad things happen to them.

I pushed on, as the story itself is incredibly interesting. I will state that categorically as I don’t want the negative parts of my review to put anyone off buying and enjoying the book. The story is great and has a way of getting into you, one might be so bold as to say it ‘possesses you’ (apologies for being corny but the pun was begging to be had). It keeps you hooked when little things like not having an interest in a character might steer you away.

Sarah England has the book set out in ‘flashback’ style where every so often you will go back in time and see through Ruby’s eyes, or Celeste’s. These ‘past’ chapters marry beautifully with the ‘present’ chapters, and make the discoveries of what is happening to Ruby and the mysteries surrounding the village of Woodsend all the more enjoyable. My only complaint with the aspect of past and present is when she uses them in the same chapter. For instance, a character might just be about to get into a situation that could very well spell out his/her death. You are left wondering what will happen next, your imagination is going quickly, working at a furious pace to try and think what could happen next. Will he or she survive? Then the chapter skips forward to the character lying on their bed, musing over how thankful they are they got away alive. They then proceed to explain what happened. This happens a number of times and it just sucked the pace out of the piece. You still get the interesting escape and near-death moments, but they just lose some of the impact as you already know that the character got out of it ok. This is all brought on due to the stupid decisions made by said characters. If I were hunting a satanic beast, the last thing I would do is wake up at 3am and decide that going out into the woods, by myself, is the best possible idea. A few instances like this felt as though the author was forcing the characters into silly situations to push the story along. But, in the end, the overall story and the mysteries unearthed do make it worth it.

As we near the end of the book, ‘Father of Lies’ begins to pick up its pace and I genuinely struggled to put it down. As you will note by the date on the blog; it is Christmas day and I spent much of it finishing this book because it gets VERY interesting near the end and has you wanting to jump into the next instalment (Tanner’s Dell). I know I have had a few negative things to say about it, but there are also a great many positives. It’s those positives, the pacing at the end being one of them, that pulled it up to a 4 star review in my opinion.

Please be warned, though, if you dislike lots of swearing in what you read, then ‘Father of Lies’ may not be the best thing for you. As you can imagine with daemonic possession, there is A LOT of swearing. Seriously, a **** load of it.

I kind of already did the blurb review in the first part of the main review … so I will just re-enforce that with these four words: the blurb is great.

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