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Author: Genre: Length: Novelette

Free on 20th May 17
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Milton Brooks hasn’t been the same since his wife, June, passed away five years ago. His memory has been slipping, and he worries that soon he won’t remember her at all.

When he finds a vintage cigar box hidden in June’s old dresser, he begins to obsess over the odd collection of knick-knacks contained inside it — but his journey to remember the past will take a horrifying turn for the worse.

Free on 20th May 17
View on Amazon.co.uk

Reviews:

"A stunning piece of horror writing. When I finished it I went for a two hour walk. Then I recommended it to the rest of the group"

Reviewer: .


The book starts with Milton Brooks, widower, pensioner and facing one of the worst diagnosis a person can receive: Altzheimers. He progresses through shock and denial to trying to cope, to somehow fight it with routine and notes, but as the disease progresses he finds reality slipping further away from him. His only anchor is an old cigar box of trinkets that he found after his wife's passing. Then he begins to find notes that he didn't write.

The story starts by tearing your heart out and stamping on it. Milton's attempts to fight Altzheimers, to keep some degree of sanity, are sympathy-evoking and heart-wrenching. The story, like the disease, is merciless. Towards the second half when the supernatural and odd events began to occur, it was almost a relief from the sheer horror.

The problem with the book is that the second half is weaker. The horror of fantasy and the great unknown runs into the horror of real life fact, and the supernatural completely pales. All the ghost can do is kill you, while Altzheimers' takes mind and soul piece by piece while you are aware of it. The horror of ghosts is “What if this happened to you?” Altzheimers' is “This will happen to you, or someone you love.”

There is another interpretation of the story possible, which to my mind makes it worse: that there is no supernatural and Milton is simply succumbing to the disease as it steals reality away. No matter your interpretation, this is a thought-provoking piece of writing, blending real-world horror with that outside it to produce something that is an absolute page turner. Good luck putting it down.

The writing is excellent, and tear-jerking. The moment he finds his wife's photograph with the sticky note reminding him that she has died was also a moment when I took a break from reading. When I finished it I went for a two hour walk. Then I recommended it to the rest of the group. I'm giving it a four because of the ending, but it is still a stunning piece of horror writing.

Rating: 4



"The writing is excellent, conveying the horror of the situation, and the characters, thought briefly introduced, are conveyed well, each one playing a little extra role in the life of the elderly gentleman. "

Reviewer: .


Milty is an old man leaving out his life after seventy years and slowly realising that his memory is slipping. The one thing that he keeps trying to remember is an old Trinket box, filled with a few odds and ends that he recently found. Each one should trigger something, and event or location he can remember, but cannot. Slowly he begins to lose his mind and recollections and on his good days he can know and understand that it is happening. His carer Jason comes each day to help him out, but Milty wants to keep it private. The one day, he appears to receive a message from his dead wife, who passed away five years ago, leading him to head out to try and understand what is happening to him.

At first glance, this is a very well thought out, and to be honest quite harrowing tale, of someone apparently suffering the creeping effects of Alzheimer's. The forgetfulness, the worry, the realisation all well described and covers the first half of the book. If it had only been that first half this would be a powerful short tale. But the second half starts to introduce a supernatural element to it, and while ghost stories can be powerful and terrifying, they are just that stories. Compared to the ongoing and realistic horror of one poor man slowly losing his mind, and at the same time knowing it, it pales by comparison.

The writing is excellent, conveying the horror of the situation, and the characters, thought briefly introduced, are conveyed well, each one playing a little extra role in the life of the elderly gentleman.

Rating: 4



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Discussion

rz3300 (12 September 2016)
Well reading that little review is really enough to lock me in. Anytime I can find a horror story that is described as "stunning" I am usually okay, and to hear about the need for a long walk afterwards just validates that even more. Thanks for the recommendation, and this is going on the list.

rz3300 (17 September 2016)
This reminds me of a children's story that I am having trouble coming up with the name for. It is about a boy who brings back this old woman's memories with a little box like this, and it really sounds very similar, so I am excited to see if this can live up to that for me. Should be an interesting read.

skye (2 October 2016)
This is not a children's book, so please don't read it to them before reading it first. It is a horror story about dementia and a tear-jerking one at that.

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