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“Hello, hello? Is anybody out there?”

Four-point-nine billion people dead already. Killed by the virus.

London, England. 22-year old simple-minded Sally Jones is all alone with her mother lying dead in the house and her decomposing dad outside in the yard.

Sally’s searching for someone, just anybody to answer her – her only connection is the internet, and there’s one line open. But not for much longer.

The conversation that ensues will fascinate and shock you.

As Sally struggles with the macabre reality and the devastating losses, her new found friends struggle to reconcile the current state of the world and where fate will take them.

The Sleeping Ones will draw you in and refuse to let you go. Get your copy today!

Free on 25th - 27th Oct 21
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Reviews:

"a good short horror with the potential to be great, but let down by structural issues"

Reviewer: .


Sally sits alone in a room, her mother dead beside her, her father dead outside. Her laptop, her only company, flares to life with connections from other survivors around the world. Four people sharing their last conversation before the power dies for good.

It is an interesting premise, brilliantly explored through the medium of four people simply talking. The details of the world come out through their stories, and through what they now accept as normal. Before the final signal fades, a few words can change the course of some lives - but not others.

It is gripping, it is atmospheric, it held my attention, and sadly, it is not perfect.

The formatting of the story is readable, the cover a generic photo version that is serviceable enough. The writing, where it is in third person close, conveys Sally's thoughts and character quite clearly.

Where it falls down, in my opinion, is the structure. The novellete is in three chapters, but isn't long enough to need them and the last chapter has a scene break which is the only one in the book. Now, Chapter One is less a chapter and more a standalone description of the world's situation. It doesn't add anything to the story and it isn't needed to set the scene. If it was deleted and Chapter Two and Three were merged, you'd have a stunning short horror which really doesn't need chapter breaks.

There's a last paragraph at the end of Chapter 3 that changes point of view to omni and starts to discuss the global situation. It is seperated from the rest of the chapter by scene break asterisks, but honestly? In my opinion this is that rare story that should have ended a paragraph earlier. The last image before the break is a nearly perfect ending.

The aftermatter is extensive - a free gift offer (which is an exact repeat of page 5), more books by this author, a request for review, and a two page author bio. There are also several blank pages, possibly due to formatting issues.

Overall this is a good short horror with the potential to be great, but let down by structural issues. Horror fans may want to pick it up as a taster and introduction to this world.

Rating: 3



"A clever, relevant, short for this day and age."

Reviewer: .


Alone in her house in London, Sally Jones has no-one for company other than the decomposing body of her mother. Then, she makes a connection to three other people through her laptop, a video conference of three other people around the world. All of them are facing life during a pandemic that has wiped out over half the population of the world leaving them to try and survive. Jessica Sullivan has lost her husband to the pandemic in Brisbane, while Danika Patrick is alone in Las Vegas while her husband, Patrick Bowen, is trying to stay alive in Seattle. Between them, they try to make a connection to each other and sort out what they may do next. And then the connection starts to go leaving them alone, but knowing there is still life and hope out there.

This is short story set a year into the future in a world of a more deadly pandemic, so feeling very relevant to the world today. As a short, it sets up the world quickly, only giving hints and glimpses of how bad it is by how it has affected the characters and how they are trying to survive. The same goes for the characters, briefly fleshed out but different enough to see the changing viewpoints and how they interact with each other. The flashes of their backgrounds are ripe for further tales to be written and you are left hooked wondering if they will be able to overcome the trials and challenges they have set themselves.

The only downside is that there is some unfortunate head hopping between the characters as the viewpoints change from sentence to sentence instead of staying consistently from one viewpoint. Other than that the formatting and spelling are fine, I didn't notice anything to take me out of the story.

A clever, relevant, short for this day and age. Providing some hope amongst the despair and which has the potential for more stories following these characters.

Rating: 4



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Discussion

sliara (31 August 2021)
The plot doesn't sound very interesting and I'm not enticed to buy or read it.

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