Another debut this month, and just in time for Halloween, here comes A Monstrous Place, Matthew Stott’s first book in his new Tales From Between series, aimed at early teens upwards. First thing you notice is the striking cover art, which for me always ramps up my expectations of what’s inside.
A Monstrous Place tells the story of Molly, a young girl who finds herself caught in a nightmarish world, as her friends and neighbours start to go missing. After a visit from her grandmother’s ghost, she must enter the world between awake and asleep to thwart the evil plans of those responsible.
What follows is a beautifully creepy tale brimming with vivid and macabre imagery. Stott’s alternate supernatural world is stylishly constructed and populated with all manner of ghoulish characters, each more terrifying than the last, and as Molly makes her way through this hellish world, we see her character develop and adapt quickly to her new surroundings, determined to undermine the threat to her and her family at any cost.
Molly’s still a child however, and thankfully it’s not lost in the narrative, her sense of wonder and naiveté pushes her ever-forward, often to her peril as she tends to wander into all the wrong places.
A Monstrous Place is one of those gems that is becoming all too rare these days in indie publishing. It’s a cleverly-constructed and superbly-written tale that’s not for the faint of heart, but for those who like a scare at bedtime, you’ll not find better.