Deep Down There – Oli Jacobs

*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Blurb: In the gated community of Anton Court, everything is normal enough. The five families living there get on, and the assigned caretaker makes sure that nothing is out of sorts. All is well and everyone is happy.

Until the hole appears.

Perfectly round and 6-feet wide, the hole inspires many feelings in the residents. Wealthy app developer Rich Davis wants to investigate it. Elderly army veteran James Stanley (known as The Colonel) wants it removed. While widowed single mother Hannah Suggs is just unnerved by the hole.

Soon enough, obsessions take over and the peace of Anton Court is horribly corrupted.

From the dark mind of Oli Jacobs, author of The Station 17 ChroniclesThe Children of Little Thwopping, and Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award 2021 finalist WilthavenDeep Down There is a story of obsession, secrets, and the fragile nature of fate and reality. As always, he hopes you enjoy.

Deep Down There starts a little slowly, then builds into a gripping horror story.

In terms of both style and content, it falls somewhere between psychological horror and Lovecraftian horror, with the reader only given glimpses and hints of the ‘Big Bad’, leaving the fear to percolate in your imagination until the eventual climactic reveal.

The focus of the story is on the mysterious hole that has appeared and what might be down it, so while we follow mum-and-widow Hannah as a main character, and grow somewhat attached to her and her neighbours, the characters feel less important than the unfolding events that happen to and around them. I think the author could have taken pretty much any characters and slotted them into this plot, and still got the same horror-effect from the reader. That said, it was a nice touch that these particular neighbours had secrets of their own to hide! It added an extra dimension to the tension, to know that Hannah had human perfidy to deal with alongside the eldritch monsters.

But mainly, I wanted to know what was down the hole, what made the hole, what the purpose of the hole was… I couldn’t stop reading until I knew, so I definitely identified with the obsession the characters had with the hole (the word ‘hole’ crops up quite a lot in the course of the story, for obvious reasons!). Oh, and I particularly liked the possibilities introduced with a certain uncertain character midway through – I could definitely read more stories centred on that particular brand of mind-bending potential!

Fans of The Magnus Archives and similar horror stories – cleverly constructed so as not to answer the questions but to pose them to the reader and allow them to help to scare themselves – will enjoy this foray into the darkness beneath. And as an added bonus, the author has included some related short stories set in and around the ‘hole’ event time and place, as a neat bit of extra worldbuilding.

If you decide to read this after dark, just remember to stay well back from the edge…

Where once were a host of lovely communal flowers, and a little patch of grass for the children to play upon, now sat this alien abyss. There were no chips to suggest it was dug, nor any tools to suggest who may have dug it.

It was just there, a perfect circle leading down into the ground.

– Oli Jacobs, Deep Down There

Find more from Oli Jacobs at his website hereor follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

For my review of Oli Jacobs’ The Lament of the Silver Badger check here, for The Space Adventures of Kirk Sandblaster have a look here, for Wrapped Up In Nothing, try here, for Strange Days in High Wycombe have a nosy here and for Suplex Sounds of the 70s, here.  Plenty of OJ for everyone! 

Deep Down There is available on Amazon right now.

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