I am a huge fan of Rob Parker’s Ben Bracken series; he is a seriously talented writer. So when I discovered he was releasing a suburban gothic horror novel, I was immediately intrigued!
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
WEALTH. SECURITY. PROSPERITY. NONE OF IT MATTERS IN THE DARK.
In a quiet cul-de-sac on the newly-opened, much sought-after Blackstoke housing development, the first handful of families are moving in. These neighbours, thrown together for the first time, are looking forward to settling into their bright new lives—with varying degrees of enthusiasm. The estate couldn’t be nicer, but it’s a big change for everyone.
Then things start to happen. Bad things. As if something doesn’t want them there.
As the new residents try to make sense of events, the buried history of the area makes itself suddenly, deeply apparent—with a series of shocking, violent escalations.
Soon, no one is safe, as the original powers of Blackstoke return to reclaim their territory and birth right in a final night of dark revelations, gore and bloodshed.
It’s been so long since I delved into horror fiction so I was eager to get stuck into this to remind myself of what I’d enjoyed about the genre so much, all those years ago. Well, in the name of all that is holy, WTAF were the words coming out of my mouth all the way through!
The blurb tells us we are about to enter an exclusive gated community inhabited by the wealthy and successful; now surely nothing that bad could go wrong in that setting…right? WRONG WRONG WRONG!
Blackstoke is more than just “behind closed doors” this book is what lies behind a whole goddam estate! I swear the spooky music started playing as I turned the first page; I knew fine well that sneaky Rob Parker was just trying to lull me into a false sense of security with his introductions to the neighbours. Right away my Spidey senses were tingling and it wasn’t long before they were zapping me all over the place!
Rob Parker can tell a story and then some, this guy deserves to be up there on all the podiums and winning all the awards. His characters are drawn to perfection and the plot is stunningly sublime and bloody terrifying! It’s been a long time since I’ve been afraid to read in the dark and Blackstoke left me terrified to open it after the sun had set!
I imagined Rob having great fun writing this book; it is a deliciously dark domestic noir wrapped up in a cloak of gothic horror; yet Rob manages to take this twisted mix and inject a wry sense of humour and made me smirk with satisfaction in some places!
Do yourself a favour and go buy this book and if you have ever met, or seen Rob at an event, please do not be fooled by that innocent cheeky laugh of his, behind that façade is a dark and devious mind! I LOVED it!
Blackstoke is available to purchase via
About the author
Rob Parker is a married father of three, who lives in Warrington, UK. The author of the Ben Bracken thrillers, Crook’s Hollow and the Audible bestseller Far From The Tree, he enjoys a rural life, writing horrible things between school runs. Rob writes full time, attends various author events across the UK, and boxes regularly for charity.
He spends a lot of time in schools across the North, encouraging literacy, story-telling and creative-writing, and somehow squeezes in time to co-host the For Your Reconsideration film podcast, appear regularly on The Blood Brothers Crime Podcast, and is a member of the Northern Crime Syndicate.