I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
A group of strangers with dark pasts find themselves in a never ending nightmare in author C.B. Collins novel “One Night’s Stay”. Here is the synopsis.
Thirteen strangers check into the Sunset Inn hoping to find rest. When one of them is murdered in the middle of the night, the survivors realize they’ve found something else entirely; an ancient evil looking to satisfy an undying hunger. If the guests want to make it through the night, they’ll have to discover the secret behind the motel and the mysterious town it serves. However, in uncovering the truth, they might find that the town’s past is nowhere near as dark as their own.
This was one of the most original horror stories of the year. A twisted tale of damaged souls and great evil coming face to face with something more sinister than any human could imagine, the author does a wonderful job of turning a classic supernatural horror element into a fresh batch of hell. A blend of both supernatural and classic serial killer style horror, the story reads like a mix of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs.
The story had equal parts horror, scares and emotional storytelling. Each character had a backstory that was either twisted, sad or highlighted humanity’s struggle with the world around them. The character development nearly outshone the horror story being told, but in the end both showcased truly amazing command over the genre that the author has.
Overall this is a must read novel. Filled with scares, chills and everything in between, the author did a wonderful job of creating a story horror fans will love while giving a wider audience characters that would draw them in. What is the terror facing this unlikely group of survivors? Find out by grabbing your copy of C.B. Collins novel “One Night’s Stay” today.
Published December 1, 2017 by Perfectly Poisoned Anthologies
It’s 1870 in a rural setting on the outskirts of London. Famed surgeon Dr.
Benedict Morrow hosts an elite few surgical trainees at the renowned Morrow
Academy of Anatomy and Science.
Though the days of Burke and Hare are long gone, and body snatching and
grave robbing a seemingly thing of the past, the supply of high-quality fresh
cadavers is still lacking.
Each student of Dr. Morrow must procure a fresh corpse for their very own
study, or face expulsion from the prestigious academy.
These hand-chosen students are the best and brightest in the country. They
are also devious, conniving, and determined to do whatever they must to stay in
the academy and under the tutelage of Dr. Morrow. Even turn against each other
In the cards will be manipulation, murder, betrayal, sex, blackmail, and of
course, money always talks.
Dr. Linnea Lyons has it all. She is beautiful, intelligent,
witty, and charming. All the things a young woman needs to get her way in 1870.
Tasked with procuring a cadaver for her surgical studies,
Linnea decides to use her womanly charms to get what she wants. A visit to the
morgue when only the Deputy Coroner, Dr. Cyril Rhodes is on duty, she asks him
to allow her to watch his embalming process.
Cyril is enthralled with the dark-haired beauty. After all,
it is a rarity to meet a female doctor, let alone one studying the art of
Linnea senses the good doctor is a bit lonely and perhaps an
easy mark to get what she wants.
The first year Dr. Benedict Morrow at the renowned Morrow
Academy of Anatomy and Science considers female students, Louisa Becker is
honored to be chosen. An ocean away from everything she has ever known and
thrust into a highly competitive, if not, demoralizing group of students is
arduous. It intensifies once Dr. Morrow tasks them with procuring their own
fresh corpse or face expulsion.
Residing in the home of a previous student of Dr. Morrow’s
and his teaching assistant, she suspects Edgar Walker guards sinister secrets
and she should fear him. Instead, she observes his skill and technique in class
and respects him. Intrigued and attracted to the withdrawn, brooding man she
watches him from a distance.
One evening following him into London, she witnesses him
commit a grisly crime. Louisa and Edgar forge an unconventional relationship
involving murder, seduction, lust, ambition, and mayhem.
An immigrant, Fredrick Wolf has to succeed at Morrow Academy
of Anatomy and Science. Not only succeed, he has to prove to his peers that he
belongs, that he isn’t a poor local Dr. Morrow accepted out of pity.
Fredrick is willing to do anything to procure a prime
specimen for their special assignment. Calling upon his uncle, his partner in
crime since their move to England, Fredrick plans to use his uncle’s position
at the local gaol to select the perfect candidate.
But not all prisoners are the usual drunkards or petty
thieves. Some possess dark secrets, especially the man known in Clayton Bridge
as Eugene Wallaby. Biding his time, Eugene sees young Fredrick’s murderous plan
as a means of escape, but only if Eugene can survive the night.
No one wants to be successful as a surgeon more than
Scarlett Kensington and no one has as little conscience. She has met every
challenge with skill and talent and by out-thinking her detractors. And when
the great Dr. Morrow demands his students present a cadaver for class, whose
body will it be?
Enzo Mason is a hustler and a thief by nature. After
stealing the most valuable thing he’s ever stolen, he thinks he’s finally on
the path to making a good life for himself. His confidence is tested when Dr.
Morrow reveals the newest challenge that will decide their fate in the surgical
program – procure your own cadaver for study or be dismissed from the Academy.
Will the help of a fellow classmate, who happens to be the most beautiful woman
he’s ever seen, be the one thing that helps him achieve his goals or will his
luck run out?
Jacqueline Kennison is a stunning newcomer to the Morrow
Academy of Anatomy and Science who has caught the eye of a fellow classmate,
Enzo. Jacqueline is determined to see her master plan through, even if it means
teaming up with Enzo. This choice leads to unforeseen dilemmas that she never
expected. Will Enzo be the one to aid in her own self-destruction or will he
surprise her by saving her from herself?
Doctor Elizabeth Chandler is top of her class at the Royal
College of Surgeons of England and has the world in her hand… until it comes
crashing down around her. With the sudden death of her beloved father and her
mother’s convalescence due to a carriage accident, Elizabeth abandons
everything to return to Clayton Bridge and help her family. Traditional
medicine has failed to bring her mother back to consciousness, so when she
hears of Doctor Benedict Morrow and some of the more unusual requirements of
his Academy of Anatomy and Science, this seems like the answer to her prayers.
Blackmail, deceit, and treachery are just a few of the lessons she will learn
along with her surgical studies.
Miranda O’Reily has been struggling with her grades. In a
profession where men are the superior sex, she has a lot to prove to not just
her peers or Doctor Benedict Morrow, but to herself. Coming from an
impoverished home, she was lucky to have an unknown benefactor paying for her
college. The mystery unravels as she tries to identify who this mysterious
wealthy individual is all while struggling to meet the intensity of the
Edward Thatcher, the last mortician she saw denied her a corpse because of her
gender. Infuriated, she vowed to get a body by any means necessary, even if it
She buys an ancient stone ruin on the island of her dreams. Her mystic aunt Clarissa warns her of danger, but Claire pays no heed.
Soon after moving to the idyllic island, Claire is confronted by a mystery. As the sinister story of her home slowly uncovers, Claire enters a world of inexplicable events and ordeals. Someone or something doesn’t want her there.
But is it really a curse, or is there something else behind the events?
This was the kind of classic slow burn horror story that defines the horror/thriller genre. What starts out as a mission to fulfill a dream turns into a nightmare when Claire must struggle with the distrust of the locals, tales of an ancient curse and mysterious happenings that defy logic. The story flourished under the hopeful eyes of protagonist Claire. Peeling back the layers of this well rounded character, readers will love seeing the complex relationships with her parents, her close knit bond with her aunt Clarissa, the strength of taking a leap of faith and going after her dreams, and the struggle to merge her logical, scientific mind with the supernatural/curse nature of her new home.
The setting really brought this story home however. The Canary Islands take the center stage in this tale, an inspiration from the author’s own travels and mission to bring ancient structures on these islands back to their former glory. Themes of conserving our past, pursuing our passions and bringing the truth to light all shine through in this truly incredible horror thriller.
Overall I loved this tale. The novel soars as a classic story of love, passion and a promise to protect the places that hold our civilization’s history within it. With a heavy focus on character development with light doses of horror and thriller elements, this is a story readers will thoroughly enjoy. Be sure to preorder your copy of Isobel Blackthorn’s “Clarissa’s Warning” today.
Isobel Blackthorn is a prolific Australian novelist of dark psychological thrillers, mysteries and contemporary fiction. On the dark side are Twerk,The Cabin Sessions and The Legacy of Old Gran Parks. On the lighter side are Asylum, The Drago Tree and A Perfect Square, and the short story collection All Because of You. Soon to be published are three more novels: A Matter of Latitude, Clarissa’s Warning and The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey.
Isobel’s writing has appeared in journals and websites around the world, including Paranoia Magazine, Mused Literary Review, Backhand Stories, Fictive Dream and On Line Opinion.
Isobel’s interests are many and varied. A humanitarian and campaigner for social justice, in 1999 Isobel founded the internationally acclaimed Ghana Link, uniting two high schools, one a relatively privileged state school located in the heart of England, the other a materially impoverished school in a remote part of the Upper Volta region of Ghana, West Africa.
Isobel has a background in Western Esotericism and she’s a qualified Astrologer. She holds a PhD from the University of Western Sydney, for her research on the works of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey, the ‘Mother of the New Age.’ After working as a teacher, market trader, and PA to a literary agent, she arrived at writing in her forties, and her stories are as diverse and intriguing as her life has been.
Isobel performs her literary works at events in a range of settings, gives workshops in creative writing, and writes book reviews. Her reviews have appeared in Shiny New Books, Sisters in Crime, Australian Women Writers, Trip Fiction and Newtown Review of Books. She talks regularly about books and writing on radio, in Australia, and on occasion in the UK and USA and Canary Islands.
British by birth, Isobel entered this world in Farnborough, Kent, as Yvonne Margaret Grimble. She has since been Yvonne Rodgers, before changing her name completely in 1996 to Isobel Schofield. After a number of years as Isobel Wightman, she is now very happily and permanently Isobel Blackthorn. Isobel has lived in England, Australia, Spain and the Canary Islands. She now lives on Australia’s southern coast with her cat, Psyche. You can find out more about her other achievements here.
On June 24, 2016, THE REAPING will be available in both
print and e-book format. To celebrate the release, the first book in the
DREADLAND CHRONICLES series, ALL ROADS
LEAD TO TERROR will be free from Friday June 24, 2016 until midnight Sunday
June 26, 2016. There will also be a second chance weekend on July 16 & 17
to give those who missed the first free weekend a chance to enter the drawing.
Anyone who downloads a free copy of All roads lead to terror
and leaves a review on Amazon.com before midnight on August 20, 2016,will be
entered into a drawing for a one of a kind candy jar to take place on August
21, 2016. Full details about the giveaway can be found here:
Man is no longer alone at the top
of the food chain.
From the East a new threat to a struggling civilization
emerges, spreading across the land like a cancerous stain, leaving in its wake
the shattered remnants of a species teetering on the brink of extinction.
After the dead walked and society crumbled, mankind
struggled back from the brink of extinction. Having fled the cities, the
survivors lead a more pastoral lifestyle, while the cities to the east stand as
silent monuments to the former progress of man.
But they are not empty.
Not only did mankind leave behind the trappings of his
progress, but the creatures of the night that once fed along the shadowy edges
of a well lit world. Inhabiting that twilight space between day and night, between
what is real and imagined, between dreams and nightmares.
In Bryn Mawr Window is infected when he is bitten by a
Reaper. As he struggles against the rising bloodlust, viewing his friends as a
potential meal, they set out to the East in the search of a cure.
Along the way they learn more about the nature of the world
they inhabit, their own past, and the part they each play in a potential
future. Crossing paths with a shadowy figure who leaves small tokens from each
of their own history. Little objects that carry powerful emotions linked to
major changes in their past lives.
In the nations former capitol they are confronted by the
master who reveals the cold truth about the cosmos as he prepares his own army
of the undead to enslave what remains of mankind.
The horrors of the
past meet the brutality of the present.
On the day of his birth the dead walked and society
crumbled. His mother took one look at him and pronounced him Meat. He survived,
Fourteen years have passed and obscurity means survival in an increasingly
dangerous world. For the survivors compound at Bremo Bluff that obscurity is
threatened when a savage band abducts a group of children from the compound.
Accompanied by his three friends Window, Einstein, and Billie-Bob, Meat embarks
on a quest to rescue the children. A journey that will lead them into
adulthood, with a brief detour through the Dreadlands, as they confront the
harsh reality of a brutal world beyond the barriers that had served to protect
In the dead city of Richmond they will confront that savage cult of children
who worship a creature of the night. These creatures, once considered the
nightmare imaginings of a fevered mind, are now awake in a world where the
population that once served as their food source has been reduced.
They heard her before they saw her, whistling a soft tune, a
haunting melody that was anything but upbeat. Like a funeral dirge best
shared during the procession when the casket takes its final journey to the
grave. From around a bend in the small stream the sound came, competing with
the babble of the water rushing over smooth stone, and the restless voice of a
soft breeze that stirred what leaves remained, their dead bodies chattering
against one another like skeletons dancing a frenzied jig.
Cautiously they approached the sound, coming upon an old woman kneeling on the
bank as she washed clothes in the cold waters of the stream. Her calloused
hands were red with the cold, and as they rounded the bend she pushed herself
to her feet with the help of a gnarled cane, tilting her head to one side like
she could hear their footsteps on the grassy bank.
“I been waiting for you boys to find me. Mama said you would be around,” she
said as the hem of her long dress caught in the moving water and the fabric
drank its fill. She wore a black shawl stretched across her shoulders, her
white hair in stark contrast as it rested against her back.
“Don’t be bashful now, I know you’re out there, I can smell ya.” She turned her
head to look in their direction, the cataracts coating her eyes capturing the
sunlight to lend them a silvery appearance. Her face was a road map of
wrinkles, each one denoting a different emotion, the lines radiating out from
her narrow lips ready at a moments notice to punctuate a smile or a frown.
Window moved past the others, following the narrow strip of brown grass that served
as a bank to keep the stream on its course. She blinked several times as he
approached, taking a hesitant step back as he got closer, his six two frame
towering over her diminutive five three posture.
“He got to you, didn’t he boy?” She said with a faint quiver in her voice. It
was obvious she was frightened by Windows sudden movement, but at the same time
she carried herself like one who was prepared to meet her end. She reached out
with one hand, and gently caressed Windows cheek like a mother comforting her
“How did you know we was coming?” Window said.
She smiled then, relaxing her grip on the walking stick she used to keep
herself upright. “Mama told me back when I was a young un. She said, Sophie,
you help them four boys when they come, you wait right there, don’t go running
off, cause they’s gonna need your help.”
“How long ago was that?” Window said.
“All my life I’ve known, and I’ve waited, cause mama told me I had to. From the
time I was a wee child running barefoot down to old man Winner’s little store,
I’ve known of you.”
“But that was before we were even born,” Window said as the others joined them
and the old woman tilted her head to each in turn.
“You can see us?” Billie-Bob said.
She laughed then, her voice filled with a joy that helped push back the chill
of the late fall day, offering a brief respite from the cold as a spreading
warmth filled each of them at the sound of her merriment.
“Everything that has been, and is yet to be, has been writ down for those who
know where to look,” she said before turning to look in Billie-Bob’s direction.
“I can see you with my heart, and that’s all I need. I can see your pain, you
did something you thought was bad, but it wasn’t. Sometimes we are pushed to do
things we otherwise would not do, for these things we can’t be held
accountable, least ways not to ourselves. Where each of you are going you need
to leave your guilt behind, it’s the only way you will survive, the only way
the world as we know it will continue on its way.”
“What good is this world?” Einstein said, “why should we worry about letting it
continue on its way.”
The old woman reached over and touched Einstein’s cheek, “I feel your pain son,
but sometimes we have to know loss before we can know joy. It’s the way of the
world and it won’t do us any good to fight it. You can’t see that now, but you
“Can you help us?” Meat said.
“That’s why I’m here,” she said as she took Windows hand into her own, “he’s
got something very bad in him,“ she said as she nodded at Window,
"they calls them reapers, I can see it hunkered down next to his soul,
trying to hide from me. I can’t help with that, but I know what you need to do.
Let’s go inside where we can talk.” She looked around, searching the woods
around them for other intruders, the boys followed suit, finding only the empty
When they turned back a small cabin stood behind the old woman. It hadn’t been
there before, Meat was sure of it, it was like it had materialized right out of
the forest behind them.
About the Author
Unlike other writers who knew they wanted to write the
moment they became self aware, Richard’s path to taking up the pen followed a
more leisurely route.
As a child he wanted to be a fighter pilot, later he thought
it would be neat to be a rock star. Unfortunately, as an introvert, he was not
suited for the stage. Once he gave up the guitar, much to the relief of his
parents, he turned his attention to making movies.
Armed with an 8mm movie camera, several rolls of aluminum
foil liberated from the kitchen, and the spare bed sheets, he filmed his first
masterpiece. The story was about a space ship crash landing in the woods behind
his house. His sister starred as the damsel in distress while his little
brother, wrapped like a mummy in the spare bed sheets, chased her through the
His career as a famous director ended before it even got off
the ground when on opening night his mother recognized the missing bed sheets
and aluminum foil resulting in his
grounding for the remainder of that summer.
A voracious reader, he believes writing is the most intimate
form of communication possible. The reader permits the writer access to their
mind, and the readers reality dissolves as they focus on the narrative of the
tale being spun.
His love of the macabre was sparked at an early age when he
would sit on his grandmother’s porch listening to her tell ghost stories.
During the summer he and his cousins would sleep in his grandmother’s back
yard, within sight of the abandoned haunted house next door, and spend the
night scaring one another with gruesome tales of shadowy creatures that went
bump in the night.
During his life he has played a series of roles, husband,
father, son, and lover, but his favorite by far is grandfather. He and his wife
of twenty plus years have raised four children, and helped raise eight
grandchildren. They provide a secure home to a yellow lab named Max and a cat
who will answer to either Flame or Furball. His loving wife, Dena has
experienced first hand the exasperation of living with a writer whose mind has
a tendency to wander at the most inappropriate times. Yet she manages to keep
his feet firmly planted on terra firma.