- File Size: 2056 KB
- Print Length: 99 pages
- Publisher: Dark Chapter Press (March 6, 2017)
- Publication Date: March 6, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B06XGC2G27
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,373,006 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Westfield Orphan: A Dark Chapter Press Unlimited Short Kindle Edition
"Depth of Lies" by E. C. Diskin
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Top customer reviews
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I have read a couple of things from David Basnett before. Two short stories in two anthologies. The Butchers Apprentice in Kids and Out of Sight, Out of Mind in Kill For A Copy. Both books were also from Dark Chapter Press which is no surprise really as Mr Basnett is an editor for them as well. DCP produce some wonderful books, and from what I have read from Mr Basnett, he produces some mighty fine writing.
When he asked me to check this one out I was hooked immediately. He told me it was a horror story set in Victorian times. My favourite type of horror.
This, though, then gave me a problem. Victorian horror writing is a skill of its very own. There aren’t too many that can pull it off convincingly. Some that come to mind would be Willie Meikle and DCP’s very own Jack Rollins. I haven’t found many more though that can give me Victorian scares like William Hope Hodgson.
Still, I had to give it a go. This is what I thought.
Henry James Irwin lives in Whitechapel, in Victorian London. He has been convinced by his friend, Freddie to have a go at the latest craze called Upper Class Slumming. This is where upper class gentlemen dress down for the evening and go drinking in gin houses in the perceived slums.
Henry isn’t really cut out for this sort of thing. He is too nice to be making fools of the poorer folk but goes along for the ride.
Whilst on their first outing, he comes across a young lady that takes his fancy and while walking with her, hears noises in an alleyway that can only be heard when murder is afoot.
When Henry intervenes, he sets in motion a journey and adventure that not many men of the times could cope with. He will though, after all, he is The Westfield Orphan.
So, Henry is obviously the main man in this story. He is a man of means. He doesn’t work, and is very rich. This all comes from his grisly past that you don’t know an awful lot about. His parents were killed and that’s where he seems to have got his money, and his nickname of The Westfield Orphan. The money and status doesn’t go to his head though and he seems to be a really down to earth bloke. Lambton is his butler. A quiet and respectful man but one with many resources at his fingertips.
Included in this tale is Emilia Harrison. A lady of ill repute who Henry meets on his first slumming night out and takes a shine too. She seems to be a young girl in the wrong place and time and trying her best to get out of it.
A gentleman who pops into the story later, and plays a huge part in it is Professor Samuel Brown. A man of many talents, most of which are mysterious but a man who will be a wonderful right hand man for Henry.
There are evil characters in this story as well but I’m not going to tell you about them. You have to read it to find out.
So, what is the plot all about? I haven’t even seen the synopsis for this yet but I presume that it will hold some information about a beast attacking people in London. Whether it tells you what that beast is, I have no idea, so I will not tell you anymore about it. Needless to say, that Henry and the Professor embark on a reckless crusade to rid London of the beast.
There only remains one question to answer; can David Basnett write Victorian horror?
Too bloody right he can!
Oh, my word. This is just brilliant. From the very outset in this story you are totally sucked into the times with the descriptive writing in this book. You read as if you are reading Henry’s journal so it is very much told in the first person. The use of language in this narrative is just superb. You are transported back to the times of old and you will find yourself reading this story with an unintentional accent of a gentleman of the times inside your head. It is that effective.
When Henry is waking through the streets, you will feel as if you are walking at his side, smelling the smells and seeing the sights. Apart from the aforementioned Mr Rollins, I don’t think anyone has made me feel as if I have been transported by a time machine to a specific location and time like this. This stinks of everything Victorian.
I wouldn’t know but I can only presume that it is very difficult to write a story set in a time when they had nothing. By that I mean to fight evil, to fight mythical beasts. Today we have any amount of technology and weaponry at our disposal to help obliterate anything in our path. In Victorian London, Henry had a revolver and a knife. This adds to the fear factor as you read. There is nothing more he can use to try and defend himself, and the population of London, against the beasts. But still he tries to do everything he can, no matter how much risk is involved.
You will find yourself becoming very attached to Henry in this story. His manner is quite endearing and you cannot help but cheer him on. Even though he is a toff and this whole episode started with him really making fun of the lower classes, you can see the goodness in him and will back him to the end.
Now I am no expert on this so I might be wrong but, I suspect that Mr Basnett may be a Batman fan. There are similarities with some of the characters in this that gave me the feeling that it was really a Victorian Batman story with a lot of horror thrown in. I could be wrong but if you like Victorian horror or Batman, or anything in between, then you must pick this up.
David Basnett has raised the bar with this story. He has started a character that, in my opinion, could grow and grow and become something huge as he does grow. His grasp of the language and the times is fantastic, meaning there is absolutely nothing out of place in this book and you could be forgiven for thinking it was written in the late 1800’s.
Superb stuff from a young man with a very bright future in this genre.
To summarise: Victorian horror that will convince you that you are actually there! This one is perfect for anyone wanting to try a different type of horror to your normal blood and guts, although this also has its fair share of that. Just super stuff.
★★★★★ and again.
Quite simply there is nothing not to like in this story.I've not read anything by David before, however had heard of his name with positive praise amongst the circle of horror authors and readers I call my fiends..oops, sorry friends. It won't be the only book of his I'll be reading. I can't wait for the sequel for starters.
I love books set in Victorian London and David set the scene well with locations, people and prose. I felt like I'd gone back in time and his descriptions of grotty streets of London where the lower classes of society walked was excellent. Equally, when taking us into the homes of the London upper class I was almost tasting the Earl Grey tea and cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off.
The plot? Very clever and very compelling. When a couple of upper class "Toffs" decide to enter the world of the lower classes blended in disguise a series of events kick off that take you into a world of imagination and fictional thrills, toss in blood, gore and the stench of death and you have a winner.
A beautiful woman of the lower class crowd. A man of wealth with a reputation of respect. Then...hideous creatures of the night. Not human. Not pleasant. Dangerous and dark. Shit is going down in the back alleyways my friends. So is a lot of spilt blood for that matter.
A hunt for creatures of the night. The blurring of lines between the classes and what we have is a creepy, exciting tale being told. I was hooked from the first word to last. This author is a storyteller. In fine form.
The characters, their accents, the words they speak are all authentic of the era and their standing. His rendering of a harsh Glaswegian accent in the tale is particularly good! It just added to the atmosphere and had you transported to another time and place. You can tell this author took his time with research and getting this right.
It's got enough suitably gory bits to thrill the horror fans, plenty to please the paranormal fans and an overall appeal to all types of readers. I thoroughly enjoyed this and am very keen to read not only the sequel but more of David's writing. I took far too long to discover this talented horror author. 5 stars!
Thank you to Dark Chapter Press and David Basnett for my ARC of this novella. All review opinions are entirely my own and unbiased.