Book Reviews: The Devils Whispers by Lucas Hault

I was very kindly sent this book by the publisher TCK Publishing.

Here is a link to their website and a link to purchase the book on Amazon

A famous Lawyer Gerard Woodward is requested to visit Lord Mathers to discuss his final affairs as he lays upon his deathbed.

This professional visit quickly becomes a nightmare when Gerard notices odd behaviours around the castle, he is locked in his room every night and is forbidden to explore without supervision.

After climbing across the castle walls from his window Gerard finds access into the castle and soon realises that he has been trapped amongst some of the most despicable and evil creatures he has ever come across.

These creatures are called Xana and originated from Asturian Mythology and often disguise themselves as a woman to lure in lonely young men.

This book is very heavily inspired by Dracula and has a lot of similarities it begins in a castle with the protagonist, a professional man trying to sort out legal affairs and in both books this protagonist soon realises the sinister activities that are at play.

In Dracula the vampire cannot stand garlic and in this book the Xana cannot stand onions, both stories also use diary entries to tell the story from the perspective of various people.

In light of the author this diary style is a lot harder to write than you would expect, it takes a lot more planning than a standard book due to the fact of having to focus on various writers you need to change styles in order to fit said person and their perspective of events. Also making sure that everything that is written makes sense while always ensuring that you can consistently switch narratives without getting mixed up or lost in your own explanations and story telling.

Lucas Hault actually writes these diary entries really well, it was actually quite nice to read another book in this style as I think a lot of authors are intimidated by it, personally I haven’t read a book like this since Dracula so I appreciated to go back to this style and to see it written so well.

The book has not had the best reviews, I did a bit of research and found that a lot of people were complaining that it was so similar to Dracula and while I do agree that it definitely needs to be looked at for a re-write in this aspect, I also think a lot people are not giving credit where it is due.

The book comes across like a fan re-write of the Bram Stoker classic but it is creative in a lot of areas, first of all the choice to use a folklore creature is a very unique idea and not what I expected, also when the story gets interesting it does get you hooked. The problem I have is that the beginning and ending of the book completely held my attention but the middle segment really seemed to drag and quickly became uninteresting, I found myself enjoying Gerard’s character and even though I enjoyed the writing when other character were telling their diary pages I just wanted to go back to Gerard’s again and see what he was doing.

So this leaves me at a bit of an awkward moment because I cant really say that I fully enjoyed this book, I read it twice just to make sure and my opinion still stands that Lucas Hault is a good writer, his writing style is fine he is a new author and will get a lot better over time. This book could have been something really unique if it had a little bit more originality the Xana being the creature is great but it definitely feels like Lucas Hault read Dracula and then decided to have a crack at it himself, he had a somewhat original story but its structure is too close to a much more better written and historically beloved book which The Devils Whisper does not in anyway come close to even competing with.

I will end this with a message to the Author, Lucas you have talent and clearly you are creative but if possible I recommend a re-write of this so that it can have a much clearer identity and wont be compared to what its inspired by. If you decide to write another horror I would recommend trying to do something different than is expected, try and write something which does compare to other stories and one day you very well could find yourself a very successful author.

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Barti Spiced Review

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Welcome to my third rum review on this website, tonight I have decided to finally talk about Barti Spiced.  Three things to note about this bottle 1 it used to be called Barti Ddu which is Welsh for Black Bart, 2 it is made locally in the county of Pembrokeshire in West Wales and 3 the bottle is nearly empty because I like this rum so much that I keep drinking it and that is already a good start.

Lets begin with the label the front has an illustration of a ship with a traditional skull and cross bones on the flag, now this was not Black Barts flag and I think it would have been more interesting to use his original design considering that due to how long ago he passed away it will be in the public domain. The paper quality is excellent here and has a very soft touch it almost feels a little fragile and crusted in a similar manner to aged paper, this is a nice touch and is very much appreciated.

IMG_20200428_223619_6The back of the bottle gives some safety information and also displays the 35 percent alcohol volume, the best part of this label is the poem on the back “Here’s to you John Roberts, Cymro born but bred at sea, who caught in gold-lust winds chased old world tales and fantasies. Sweet music swirled around him as he swayed under the sun, bathed in silk and Spanish gems, five hundred ships he won. A merrier life and a short one hid the hiraeth at his core as the unforgiving waves took his poor soul to heavenly shores. Some say pirates were too savage but these were savage times you see…So here’s to you John Roberts forever Known as Barti Ddu.

In 2018 a competition winner for Barti turned these words with a few changes into a really nice song that is now used in its advertising, here is a link.

The wording on the back of the bottle I believe is in reference to Black Barts death and the treasures he was wearing at the time of his death.

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With a now empty bottle and some ice in my glass its time for the taste, it needs to be stated that one of the main ingredients of this drink is locally grown seaweed and you can smell it along with the spices when you open the bottle, they blend very well and the smell is divine. This is nice mixed with cola but I actually prefer it on its own, it has a slightly sweet taste but the flavours of the spices and seaweed are a match made in heaven, the flavours dance on your tongue and are absolutely delicious, there is a little kick to it when it hits the throat before finally giving you warmth. This is the best alcohol I have ever had this and it is well worth the 30 pounds cost, it makes me very proud to live in Pembrokeshire and I highly recommend that you buy a bottle if you visit or you can purchase it on Amazon.co.uk.

I hope you enjoyed this review, its not often I buy different rums so it was nice to talk about this one.

Here’s to you John Roberts for ever known as Barti Ddu.

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The Mummy (1932) Review

We have finally reached Halloween 2017 and this month we will be taking a look at eight classic monster movies from Universal Studios, the reason I have chosen to talk about some of the older horror flicks compared to the newer releases is because of the importance these films have to the film industry a lot of these old horror movies have been the inspiration for a lot of new horror films and they helped shape the genre and style that the modern horror brings to the big screen.

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The first movie we will be taking a look at is the Mummy, a lot of people associate the Mummy with the 1999 film starring Brendan Fraser and many believe it to be the original film when in actual fact it is a remake of the 1932 classic which stars Boris Karloff as the titular character.

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The film starts in 1921 where we are introduced to Sir Joseph Whemple and his assistant Ralph who discover the mummified corpse of a man named Imhotep, clutched in his hand is a sealed box which clearly states that it should never be opened, of course it wouldn’t be a horror movie if someone didn’t open the box, upon opening the box the scroll of thoth is discovered which if read has the power to resurrect the dead, needless to say Imhotep is resurrected and escapes from the archaeology site

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We skip to ten years later and Imhotep has a new look and a new identity, the Mummy is now referred to as Ardeth Bay who reveals the location of an ancient princess’s tomb which the new archaeologist team quickly discovers and the body is sold to the Cairo museum, its here that we discover that the Mummy is just as much of a love story as it a Horror, Imhotep begins to stalk a young woman called Helen Grosvener who he believes to be the reincarnation of his long lost love but unfortunately for him Helen has fallen for someone else and this only makes Imhotep want to Mummify Helen so he can keep her all to himself and its up to Helen’s true love to save her from the clutches of the Mummy.

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The production of the Mummy was quite intense, Boris Karloffs make-up was done by the late Jack Pierce who was famous for doing most of the makeup for the old monster movies back in the day, Karloffs make-up took a very long time to put on and real bandages were used as part of the make up but unfortunately the bandages got stuck to Karloffs body and removing them each day after shooting was apparently agonizing for the actor and to make things worst it was a full body job and Jack Pierce forgot to give Karloff a way to pee so poor Boris had to hold it in for very long shoots, the actress Zita Johann who played Helen Grosvener in the film didn’t get along with the director Karl Freund, Karl had never directed a movie before as his expertise was being a cameraman and Zita who at the time was a very famous actress would speak her opinions very clearly to Karl who didn’t  enjoy the criticism, this led to the two of them always snapping at each other and Karl treating Zita with less respect than the other actors, he wouldn’t even give her a chair with her name on it when every other actor got one.

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The Mummy is a great film, the cast is fantastic and the movie always keeps an entertaining and consistent pace which helps to set the atmosphere for the movie, unlike most of the other Universal Monster films the Mummy never got any sequels but it did get a few remakes most noticeably being the 1999 film and the 2017 film starring Tom Cruise, the Blu-ray of the Mummy has some brilliant special features including three documentaries and even a commentary track which makes me very happy, the Mummy is a classic horror which needs to be seen its part of a Blu-ray box set which can be bought on Amazon and its this box set which I am using for my reviews this month

you can purchase the Universal Classics Monsters Collection on Blu-ray here

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Universal-Classic-Monsters-Essential-Collection/dp/B008H45YSO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506697249&sr=8-1&keywords=universal+monster+collection

A DVD version can be bought here

https://www.amazon.co.uk/THE-CLASSIC-MONSTER-COLLECTION/dp/B001GQWT24/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1506697249&sr=8-2&keywords=universal+monster+collection

You can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com