Drama

The Scottish Movie

Scottish Movie, The
Why is 'Macbeth' known as 'the unlucky play'? Young Harry's unpublished novel has the answer. And when some Hollywood producers steal it, they find themselves making a very unlucky movie.   Harry Greenville, a young actor and part-time writer struggling to make a living in modern Los Angeles, writes a novel about Shakespeare. ‘It’s 1606 and the Bard needs a new play for King James, who is notoriously hard to please. As history tells us, he comes up with ‘Macbeth’. But the rehearsals are dogged by illnesses and accidents, the royal premiere gets the royal thumbs down, and the actors consider the play to be more than unlucky – they believe it’s cursed. The question is: Why?’ Harry’s novel offers an intriguing answer, and he posts the first draft on a website in the hope that a Hollywood agent will discover it. And someone in the movie business does discover it – but not the kind of person Harry had in mind. The result is a truly Shakespearean tale of theft, revenge, and just desserts.

Reviews by Awesome Indies' Assessor

August 4, 2014

A Joy to Read

The Scottish Movie by Paul Collis is a well-crafted revenge tale that even Shakespeare naysayers can enjoy.  The novel begins with William Shakespeare’s creation of his play, MacBeth.  We learn that the bard overheard the plot being described by another playwright at a pub and, wanting to really impress King James with his next piece, promptly goes home to write it.  When the original creator finds out the Globe Theatre is performing his play, without his consent, he sets out to sabotage the performance.  As it turns out, this story is just that, a story that a modern day author has penned.  In a very similar turn of events, Harry Greenville discusses his novel with his friends at a diner, only to have an eavesdropping Hollywood executive steal the idea for his own.  Once Harry discovers that someone has ripped off his idea and the movie is to begin production, he takes a page from his own novel and proceeds to sabotage the film.

This novel was a joy to read.  The author used the lore surrounding the Scottish Play and turned it into an intriguing story with snappy dialogue, and hilarious actions scenes.  Though the author completely has his own voice, the style of the story reminded me of a Christopher Moore novel.  Through complete dumb luck and sheer brazenness, Harry Greenville is hired onto the film’s production staff and given an all-access pass to conduct his revenge on the story thief.  Harry is the everyman stepped on by the corporate big shot, and you just can’t help but root for him.

The strongest part of the book was the author’s ability to seamlessly change between character points of view, sometimes multiple times in one scene.  This allowed the reader to see the story angled from both main and supporting characters.  Sometimes the switch was only for a few paragraphs; however, it added color to the story, almost like seeing a facial expression in a film that only the audience is supposed to see.

My only concern is that, as the characters use many modern references to Hollywood stars, movie titles, or general hat tips to modern culture, this novel may not age well.  If the reader cannot place what actress a character is referring to when only using her first name, some of the dialogue charm could be lost.  Even still, a good revenge story is always an indulgence, and this one does not disappoint.

The Glade

The Glade
You are being arrested for the murder of your husband… You have a secret you can’t tell…The evil is gathering… The Wenstrops have it all: health, wealth and happiness. But then it all begins to fall apart. Helen is arrested for murder, yet is either unable or unwilling to give a defence. During her detention, vital evidence goes mysteriously missing and tensions are running high. Helen finds herself surrounded and yet alone: not knowing who she can trust or how she can tell her enemies from her friends. Helen has to work through her self-doubts and fears, in order to know whether her suspicions and misgivings are valid or simply products of an overwrought mind. There are those who would like to encourage her confusion, and those who would help her – but how to know one from the other? And then there are those who actively mean her harm. Meanwhile, malignant forces in the forest are gathering power, ready for a final assault. Helen finds herself in a battle of life and death, and faces having to lose everything in her attempts to thwart the evil that has insinuated itself into her very existence – but is she ready to make the ultimate sacrifice? This sensational second novel by acclaimed author Harmony Kent will have you alternately laughing, crying and gripping the edge of your seat as this roller coaster ride of a plot unfolds. It will keep you guessing through its many twists and turns, and hijack your attention right up until you turn the final page. This book has it all: murder, intrigue, the supernatural, a broken marriage, a love affair, courage against impossible odds, suspense, and high drama.

Reviewed by  

The Glade is basically a supernatural suspense story. It’s different, intriguing and totally unpredictable.

Like many indie works this book crosses genres. The supernatural element puts it in the fantasy category, but apart from The Presence that Helen and Geoff, her husband, feel in their little glade in the Forest of Dean and the dead people who get up and walk, it all happens in the fairly ordinary world of a small country village. It’s this low key approach that makes the story all the more chilling because we can’t immediately dismiss it as a fantasy world. This real world basis means that the book also fits into the mystery and suspense categories. There isn’t so much fantasy that it would turn off those who aren’t generally fantasy readers, and there’s plenty of mystery and suspense for fans of those genres. Kent’s characters and the world she creates around them are very real, but beneath this ordinary exterior lies a dark underbelly.

Helen has cancer and she and her husband retire to the Forest of Dean to live out her remaining days. Things do not go as they expect, however, and the author takes the reader on a roller coaster ride to find out the truth behind the strange events, and then to work out how to destroy the menace that has haunted the village for generations.

The story is extremely well done in terms of plot and pacing. I never knew what would happen next, was often surprised and always keen to keep reading. The characterisation was excellent. I got to know Helen quickly and soon became concerned for her. Though Geoff was a bit of a mystery, it worked for the story because Helen also discovers that she never really knew her husband. Mike and John were well-rendered and were both lovely characters, and Sheila also came across loud and clear.

I was particularly impressed by how Kent handled the backstory. We moved seamlessly from past to present until they coincided, and the backstory never felt like backstory. Beginning the story, as she did, part way through, created an added layer of mystery as we wonder now Helen got to the point where she took her husband’s life. Another thing the author did well was to feed the information out at the right pace, just enough crumbs to keep you reading, but never too much at once, and she left the real revelations until right at the end, exactly as a good mystery should be.

Endings can make or break a novel, and in this case, the end was its crowning glory and made it much more than just an ordinary suspense story. I was concerned about it for some time as the end grew near, wondering it if would leave me miserable – it could easily have gone either way. Of course, I’m not going to tell you whether it did or not, but I will say that I thought the end was magnificent.

Some of the phrasing I found strange, but I think that’s because it’s local lingo – the author is English.

I like the cover too; it does a good job of expressing the feel of the book. I recommend it for those who enjoy a good supernatural suspense story.

It’s really worth a read.

Review by S M Spencer

This is an excellent book – the perfect mix of mystery, thriller, horror, fantasy & even a touch of romance. Couldn’t put it down. Probably not a good book to take on a camping trip to an isolated forest however 🙂

5 stars for sure.

The Battle for Brisingamen

The Battle for Brisingamen
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Author:
Publisher:
Published: 10 Jan. 2014
There is a World not too Far Away … Beneath the north sea a land of magic lies undetected. The lives of many are drawn inexorably closer together in a race against time, as both energy companies and evil beings attempt to destroy the magic which is protecting not just this land but all worlds. The unwitting protagonists have no idea of how suddenly and irrevocably their lives are about to change. It is a race against time to try and recover the lost necklace, Brisingamen, which holds the ancient power of the Goddess Freya, and to prevent the undersea drilling from taking place. Are Aart, Matthias, Gemma and Dirck up to the challenges they now must face?   Here there be Dragons, and all manner of Creatures …