*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author and Maria Inot at TCK Publishing. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: In a silent, sleepy castle, evil has awakened…
Famed British lawyer Gerard Woodward is summoned to an ancient Welsh castle to assist a dying lord in his final affairs. But as his host slips closer to death, Gerard begins to feel less like a guest and more like a prisoner. When he finds himself locked inside his room, he realizes he must escape.
After finding his way out of his room, Gerard begins to wonder if he was safer locked inside. The labyrinthine halls echo secrets. A terrible wail and the rattling of chains sets his nerves on end. Something sinister is happening within the walls of Mathers Castle, and when he descends into the dungeons, he discovers a horrible secret…
In nearby London, children vanish into the night, animals are horribly mutilated, and a savage creature stalks the shadows. When Gerard’s wife, Raelyn, becomes the creature’s next target, his need to escape reaches a fever pitch. He must get out alive so he can dispel the evil that threatens to destroy his beloved Raelyn… and the rest of us.
Fans of epistolary Gothic horror classics like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Picture of Dorian Gray will devour The Devil’s Whispers.
This is an old-school Gothic horror, which is compared to classics like Dracula in the blurb, and with very good reason.
The story is well-written, via epistolary style, and the author has perfectly captured the Gothic voice and tropes that made the book’s predecessors so successful. Perhaps a little too perfectly however… as I was reading, the plot and characters began to feel ever more familiar to me, and by the time I was only a few chapters into the story I felt like I was reading a translation of Dracula (with names and monster species changed) rather than a homage to it.
In modernising the older story, Hault has slipped in a few anachronisms that don’t really fit with the setting: some of the names feel too modern, and Raelyn’s profession, attitude and behaviours all fit our current era better than the one she inhabits.
The horror aspects of the story are genuinely horrific, and trigger warnings abound for child sacrifices, animal torture and mutilation, amidst the human-seeming monsters and evil-spirit possessions.
In fact, it just feels like such a shame that the author cleaved so closely to his source materials, as the horror is well done and the novel is well-written but there is just not enough originality in the material for readers of Dracula to consider this a distinct novel in its own right.
‘Contained in these pages is a collection of journal entries and letters exposing an evil that must never again rise from the shadows of the night. I speak not of vampires or werewolves or goblins of lore, but of something far more sinister.’– Lucas Hault, The Devil’s Whispers
Faisal Johar, who writes under his pen name Lucas Hault is an Indian Novelist residing in Ranchi. He received his formal education from St. Anthony’s School, completed his intermediate from St. Xavier’s College and graduated from Jamia Millia Islamia in the year 2017. His first novel named The Shadow of Death — The Conquering Darkness was self-published in the year 2018 under Prowess Publishing.
Faisal is also a screenwriter and has written a couple of short horror films for YouTube. He considers J.K. Rowling as his role model and aspires to walk in her path of punctuality. Another of his book titled, The Malign : A Collection of 12 Short Stories was published in June 2021.
To get to know more about him, you can connect with him on Facebook and Instagram.