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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

A Letter from Hell by Billy Presley

Title: A Letter from Hell
Author: Billy Presley
Read Type: Indie read
Stars: StarStarStarStar

You can purchase a copy of this book from Amazon UK and Amazon US

You can find out more about the author on Goodreads
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In a desperate attempt to save his soul before he dies, southern aristocrat William Virgil Hollingsmore writes the world a cautionary letter on the last of his twelve days in a personalized Hell. In it, through the haze of his own mental deterioration, he chronicles the horrors and agony that befell him at the hands of Satan, as well as the sad events leading up to this unfortunate climax.

This novel starts in an unknown time period, but treatment of asylum patients point to the past, in said asylum as a person's mother arrives in the late hours. I was unsure what to make of this story at first, especially when terms like God and Satan, heaven and hell were thrown at me. I thought at first I would end up reading preaching, but while there are aspects, it caught my non-religious attention.

I don't believe the age of somebody denotes their skill, however, when I found out this author was 17 I was surprised. He starts of writing convincingly as a put out young man in an asylum, then when the novel changes to the letter mentioned, writing as is elderly grandfather in his last days. The latter writing read almost Dickens-esque. Very apt for an old man knowing he is in his last days and getting weaker by the second. There were some snags, things I think an editor could have ironed out, odd words here or there that were unnecessary, but the story itself overrode this.

A large part of this story, the history that brought the character to this location, was told either through standard flashbacks, or the devil's torturing, of which how much to believe was uncertain. Even when I put this book down I was still thinking on what I'd read and what it could mean. In one or two places I fel the author got a bit wrapped up in the horror scenes being caused … SPIDERS … and forgot to add the emotion on top of the actions.

I think this novel can be easily read and enjoyed by both religious and non-religious readers. It covers theory over what heaven and hell, and their purported guardians may be, but never sits you down and says "here is how it is". It one part it is actually stated that hell is different for every person, a concept I liked, as it means we can all be correct.

I felt the ending was a little abrupt, but filled in the gaps in the answers of what happened. I liked it for how different it was.

This novel had highs and lows in its make-up, when I have trouble working out a rating I break it down, sometimes I work out a mean, other times I just use it as reference. This is what I got:
Characterisation: 4.5
Clarity: 3.5
Plot: 4
Ending: 4
Description: 4
Emotion: 3

That gives a mean of 3.8 which I think it fair and will happily upgrade for a 4

As a side-note I do not believe you are EVER too young to write and get published. When does the next novel come out, Billy?

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I also have this book scheduled for a review, it caught my eye because of the spookiness of its beginning. And now I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks for this.

    --H.C. Dallis
    Challenge of the Week: Character Quirks that Matter