My path crossed with Karl Drinkwater on the Book Connectors Facebook group. This group is fabulous in connecting readers with authors and the administrators do an outstanding job of managing the group. It’s a group where all sorts of bookish things are discussed and support given. Highly recommend!
I’m reviewing Harvest Festival today which is available to purchase but is included in Karl’s horror collection, They Move Below.
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 843 KB
Print Length: 62 pages
First the birds went quiet.
Then the evening sky filled with strange clouds that trapped the heat below.
Now Callum wakes, dripping in sweat. Something has come to his isolated Welsh farm. If he’s going to keep his family alive during this single night when all hell breaks loose, he’ll have to think fast. And when he sees what he’s facing, he suspects even that may not be enough.
Callum’s thoughts while out checking the farm before dinner leads us to believe that all is not right within the relationships in his family. An angry and moaning wife, a 12 year old son that doesn’t do his chores and a teenage daughter who is always kicking back at the isolation of the farm. I think we can all identify with how we take for granted the people who are close to us when every day life is running smoothly …
From the moment Callum wakes in the middle of the night sweating the action is spellbinding. The isolation of the setting, the dreamlike quality to events and ignorance to what is truly happening lends suspense and terror to each and every precaution Callum tries to make to protect his family. Reading this in bed at night my heart was pounding and every muscle tense as I willed the family to safety and even when I thought they had a chance, Karl adds more to the terror as Callum tries to rescue his daughter against a deadline. All members of the family push past their own boundaries and limitations to work as a team.
Novellas (for me) can be quite difficult to feel that emotional involvement with but from the very beginning of the story, Karl hooked in my emotions through Callum and how he felt about his life/family and how he was prepared to give something up that he obviously loved so that he could satisfy everyone else. Clever! I cared about what happened to his family because he did.
The ending is open which led me to continue thinking about the story long after I had finished reading it. What happens now? What would happen if? Does he …? This story could be developed further into a full length novel.
Fast paced and with events that will freeze your blood, Harvest Festival is a sci-fi/horror story that most people will be able to identify with … underlying themes of loyalty, unconditional love and facing your worst nightmares as a team will be understood by many. I love that the title has more than one meaning – it’s a symbol that is not just about the harvesting of vegetables to donate to the harvest festival …
If Harvest Festival is representative of the rest of the stories in the collection, readers are in for one hell of a ride.
I would like to thank the author for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but has lived in Wales for over fifteen years, ever since he went there to do a Master’s degree: it was easier to stay than to catch a train back. His longest career was in librarianship (25 years); his shortest was industrial welding (1 week).
He started writing stories when he was 9, and hasn’t stopped. His writing sometimes spends time in the sunlit patches of literary fiction, where it likes to picnic beneath an old oak tree, accompanied by a bottle of wine, some cake, and soul-searching peace. At other times his words slope off into the dark and tense shadows of horror fiction, and if you follow them you might hear chains rattling behind locked doors and the paranoid screams of the lost echoing in the distance. There is no obligation to enjoy both of those avenues. His aim is to tell a good story, regardless of genre, but it always comes down to life, death, and connection.
When he isn’t writing or editing he loves exercise, computer games, board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, and zombies; not necessarily in that order.
Connect with Karl