Friday, 29 June 2012

Review: The Ever by Hollis Jay

The Ever by Hollis Jay is a different kind of horror. It's a different kind of ghost story. It's a different kind of haunted house tale. It's different. And that's not a bad thing.

The books weaves together the lives of all the people touched by the Marks' House, a house containing such evil and malice that it has become a living thing, intent on ensnaring the souls of those it can manipulate into murder.

The initial chapters work well as stand alone vignettes, letting the reader into snippets of the characters' lives as they come into contact with the wickedness that is in the Marks' House. Hollis Jay dips the reader in, gives them a tantalizing view, and them whips them away again, sending them further down the road to the next life, the next death, the next terrible tragedy.

As the book moves on, we focus on one particular man - Tommy - who has survived a broken childhood in the house, and has managed to escape. But only for a little while. Due to circumstances that the house controls, he is drawn back, along with his wife and unborn child, and becomes yet another part of the house's bloody history, another legend.

I found this book a quick read, but not an easy one. This is not easy subject matter as this is not just a horror story with the usual blood and gore and characters that deserve their fates. These characters don't deserve the terrors that await them; they are normal people living normal lives, and they just happen to be unlucky enough to become captured in the Marks' House's web of evil. It could be me. It could be you. It could be your loved one. It's a disturbing thought and one that stayed with me after I had finished reading.

I like a book that makes me think.

I especially like a book that makes me think when it's dark and it's quiet and I'm supposed to be going to sleep...

I can recommend this book as a new kind of horror - if you're just about blood and guts, you can have them here too (great!), but if you want a bit more, if you want to ask questions and find your own answers, then I suggest you read this and ask them.

The Ever can be bought here:

And here is some information about Hollis Jay in her own words:

Hollis Jay is an up and coming author focusing primarily on both the gothic and horror genres. She also loves to work within the realms of both poetry and nonfiction as well.  Having seen John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) at the age of five, she became infatuated with the horror genre watching films such as The Uninvited (1944) and The House on Haunted Hill (1958) and reading such outstanding authors such as Richard Matheson, Shirley Jackson, Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Peter Straub, Clive Barker, Stephen King, and of course H.P. Lovecraft.  She graduated with both her BA in English and American Literature and her MFA in Creative Writing specializing in fiction. She is continuing with her educational goals and is currently working on her MA in English focusing in the gothic.  She plans on also eventually receiving her PhD specializing in Gothic Literature. She is working as an intern for Magic Cat Press and plans on releasing her first edited anthology focusing on the horror genre. 
Traveling her whole life, Hollis not only takes on a different point of view and walks a different path due to her exposure to new cultures but she also uses those experiences within her writing to illicit reactions-both good and bad- and bring about discussion within her readers.  Visiting and living amongst historical locations gave her not only an understanding of loss, but an appreciation of the sanctity of life.  Raised in an unconventional and abusive family, she turned these negative fixtures in her life around towards a positive goal and used these elements to help her to dictate not only the emotions of her characters but she also used these traumatic events as an inspiration to her and as an advantage throughout her work.
 Her first novella, The Ever is the classic story of a haunted house turned inward and personalized towards its victims. Set throughout various sections of life, the Mark’s house becomes a representation of the minds of its occupants engulfing them in not only their own nightmares but haunting them in every aspect of their lives.  In her writing, she believes in the reader completing the story for themselves and that the writer does not always have to present the back story in order for the readers to understand the complexities of the characters and the issues at hand.  She presents an honest story without formalities and without presuming that there will always be a happy ending. 
  Hollis lives with her family and her dogs in Arizona.  When she’s not writing, she enjoys photography, helping animals, being with her significant other, and of course reading or watching a good scary story.  

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