Dave Weaver's The Unseen was published by Elsewhen Press as a digital edition in May 2016. The printed edition will be published in August 2016.
Information about Dave Weaver:
Dave Weaver, a graphic designer, was born in darkest Surrey. He took quite a long time to begin writing. About a decade ago he joined the local Verulam Writers' Circle and has since had a number of short stories published in various anthologies and webzines. Much of his writing hovers on the shifting borders between fantasy and reality. He holds a particular fascination for the uncertain times of Britain's Dark Ages, no doubt inspired by the ruins of the Roman town of Verulamium near where he lives with his family and a cat called Trillian. This is much in evidence in his first novel Jacey's Kingdom.
Though born and raised in the distinctly un-exotic heartlands of Surrey, ‘the land of the rising sun’ has held a fascination for Dave since he first visited it with his Japanese wife. A fascination for the beautiful colours of its landscapes and the subtlety of its culture, for its contradictions and certainties, intelligence and passion, spirit and diversity. Yet beneath all these things lies another Japan; one of ghosts and shadows, unspoken secrets, demons from the past and uncertain visions of the future. It's what makes this intriguing country ultimately unknowable, unique, Nippon... and inspired his second novel Japanese Daisy Chain.
Information about The Unseen:
Ex-advertising man John Mason is driving to the small town of Hambleford to view a cottage that is for sale, when he is caught in a sudden hailstorm. It brings back memories of the crash a year before in which he lost his wife Judith; a crash caused by a woman in white standing in the middle of the road – a woman who was nowhere to be found after the accident. As the hailstorm lashes his car he has a vision of her, with empty eyes and a silent screaming mouth. John had been having regular dreams about her ever since the crash, but lately they have been replaced by dreams of an idyllic cottage on a hillside like the one in which Judith had wanted them to live.
John is special – he sees things that others can't. Since childhood he's had strange experiences but has tried to shut them out; now he thinks Judith is trying to contact him, that she's been sending his mind images of the house where her spirit will join him again, and that Pine Cottage in Hambleford is literally the cottage of his dreams.
But things aren't all as they appear and John quickly becomes convinced that a spirit other than Judith is trying to manipulate him.
The Unseen is a darkly erotic tale of guilt and obsession. Both hallucinatory and horrifying, its finale will shock you.
A REVIEW OF DAVE WEAVER'S THE UNSEEN
Dave Weaver is a versatile and talented author who has written interesting speculative fiction novels. Now he tries his hands on horror fiction and he does it well. I was positively surprised by The Unseen, because the author has his own voice and he easily creates a strange atmosphere that is filled with supernatural menace.
Dave Weaver's The Unseen is a welcome addition to paranormal horror fiction. It's an entertaining and intriguing novel, because it's simultaneously a horror story and a paranormal thriller with elements of psychological horror. Because it's something a bit different from what has recently been written by various other authors, it will be of interest to readers who are interested in supernatural happenings and secrets of the past.
The Unseen has a touch of British coolness that separates it from other horror novels. Although it's partly a traditional supernatural story, it has freshness that makes it different and entertaining. (If there are readers out there who wonder if a horror novel can simultaneously be entertaining, thrilling and unsettling, this novel proves that it's possible to find such a novel.)
Here's information about the story:
John Mason is on his way to Hambleford to view a cottage there. During the drive he is caught in a hailstrom, which brings back bitter memories of the crash in which his wife died. When he arrives in Hambleford, he visits the local graveyard and sees the grave of Evangeline Foret and notices that someone has written the word 'witch' on the gravestone. Soon afterwards he goes to see the cottage with a real estate agent. He thinks that the cottage is perfect and he decides to move there. John thinks that Judith may have somehow sent him an image about the cottage so that he would move there and her spirit would find him. Soon he finds out that the cottage is haunted by the spirit of Evangeline who has terrifying plans...
These strange happenings begin a chain of events that offers a terrifying glimpse into the life of John Mason. The story is effectively told from John's point of view in the first person narrative mode.
The characterisation works well, because Dave Weaver has created a fully three-dimensional protagonist in John Mason. The supporting characters are not as fully fleshed as John, but they're interesting and well-created characters.
John's life has not been easy, because he has lost his wife Judith in a crash. Just before the crash he saw a figure standing in front of them, a woman in a long white dress, but the vision was a blur and he remembers no details about her. When he tried to avoid hitting the woman, Judith died. No traces of the woman were ever found during the police investigations.
John has a step-daughter Katy. She is Judith's child, but he has taken care of her and wants to be the person she turns to for advice. He is also friends with Judith's younger brother, Danny, but their relationship is a bit complicated, because Danny doesn't seem to fully believe his story about the woman on the road.
One of the reason why John is an interesting protagonist is that he is not perfect and has made mistakes. He is tormented by his past and has feelings of guilt. He has problems with alcohol, but he has gotten treatment for it (his wife used to notice how much he drank). Now that he has gotten treatment for his condition he intends to stay sober for Katy's sake.
John has an ability to see things that other people can't see. He can see spirits and is capable of communicating with them. He's had the ability ever since he was a child, but he hasn't told anyone about it.
Mike Shawcross, the local reverend, is an interesting supporting character, because he knows quite a lot about supernatural phenomena and various happenings concerning the village. He helps John and provides him information about Evangeline Foret.
Katy is also a well-created character. The author writes fluently about what kind of a relationship Katy has with John. It was interesting for me to read about how they were friends, but didn't really know much about each other's lives and feelings.
Dave Weaver creates an intense, strange and hallucinatory atmosphere by gradually revealing what happens to John and what he finds out about the past events related to Evangeline Foret. I won't reveal any details about John's findings, but I can mention that what he finds out is unsettling and worrisome.
Because I'm a big fan of horror fiction, I enjoyed reading about Evangeline's life and the circumstances surrounding her death. The author wrote well about what had happened to her as the story began to unfold.
Dave Weaver effectively infuses the story with dark eroticism and feelings of guilt. This adds plenty of depth and punch to the story. In my opinion, the author writes well about sexual situations and feelings of guilt, because he has his own way of writing about them.
This novel has a surprise ending that suddenly steers the story into a new direction. I won't reveal what happens at the end, but I can reveal that the author has come up with an intriguing twist that will thrill readers. I think it's good that the author has not settled for an ordinary ending, but has thought of something different.
Because I enjoyed reading this novel and found it entertaining, I'd like to see Dave Weaver write more this kind of fiction, because he has potential to become a thrilling horror author. He has all the necessary talents to break out into the genre and cause amazement with his fiction.
I give this novel 4.5 stars on the scale from 1 to 5 stars for its entertainment values and freshness. This kind of horror entertainment appeals to me, because it's nice to read something a bit different for a change.
If you are looking for an entertaining and gripping story to read, Dave Weaver's The Unseen is an excellent novel for you. It's a relatively fast read that keeps you intrigued by various twists and turns and surprises you with its ending.
Intriguing horror entertainment!