Book Reviews

{Review} THE INVASION, Brett McBean

{Review} THE INVASION, Brett McBeanby Brett McBean
Published by Sinister Grin Press on May 15, 2016
Genres: Crime/Serial Killer, Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Psychological Horror, Suspense
Pages: 372
Format: Hardcover
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It was supposed to be a quiet end to a long day: five close-knit family and friends settling in for some much-needed sleep after coming together for an early Christmas party. Instead, it’s the beginning of a shocking night of brutality when six intruders break into the sprawling residence of Debra Hillsboro, a middle-aged romance novelist with a fierce devotion to her loved ones and a strong kinship with her home of almost thirty years. Armed with smartphones and a modern brand of madness, the intruders – an internet-age cult disconnected from humanity and addicted to causing fear and mayhem – have come to the secluded property for one purpose: to terrorize, and ultimately kill, everyone inside all while filming their heinous crimes. Outnumbered and cut off from the outside world, the terrified occupants find themselves trapped in a fight for survival as a once place of safety is turned into a deadly maze of darkened rooms and forbidding hallways. On this sweltering summer night, they must somehow find a way to escape before the cult turns the beloved home into a house for the dead.

THE INVASION, by Brett McBean, begins with a simple statement guaranteed to capture your attention:  “There is something ominous about a front porch light glowing in the daytime . . . It signifies that for this house, night has yet to end.”  With an opening like that, you just know that things are going to get–dark–quickly.

Debra, a romance novelist, is hosting an early Christmas party for her brother, Paul, his partner, Adam, her niece, Taryn, and literary agent, Carl.  Shortly after most have retired for the evening, a group of youths invade the house.  After gathering the family into the lounge, the intruders gather an assortment of knives and other vicious instruments, while filming the captives with their smartphones.  One announces that they are waiting for their leader, “Mr. Fear”, to arrive.

“. . . Mr. Fear . . . He’s  . . . special.  He understands life and death . . . He can see into people’s souls.”

As the fear and torture begins, McBean alternates between scenes of the mutilations taking place, and of building his characterization through the thoughts and actions of each.  The drama and fear NEVER lets up–once this tale begins, it runs full throttle forward.  Even brief moments of hope:  “. . . Get out of the house.”:  are eclipsed by thoughts of impending defeat instilled by the constant state of terror the family is kept in.

“. . . What good was . . . against a six-foot-two man with murder on his mind?”

Some of the youths come off as being merely bored with life–hurting others just for a thrill, and because they can.  More frightening than those, however, is Mr. Fear’s philosophy:  ” . . . Killing is a lot like creating art:  you have the power and control to do whatever you want and if you do it well, it frees your mind and takes you to a higher plane of existence.”

McBean will pull at all of your emotions in this one!  The adrenaline just doesn’t let up until you settle yourself down for the night.

You may want to double check the locks on your doors and windows . . .


About Brett McBean

Brett McBean was born and raised in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. A child of the ’80s, he grew up on a steady diet of He-Man cartoons, Steven Spielberg movies and audio tapes such as Summer Hits ’88. And yet, somehow he managed to turn out normal (well, kinda…). He started playing the drums at age ten and after high school, studied music at Box Hill College, one of Victoria’s most renowned music schools, where he earned an Advanced Diploma. Shortly after completing the music degree, he turned his attention towards writing, and he now prefers to pound the keyboard rather than the drums.

His books, which include The Mother, The Last Motel, The Awakening and the Wolf Creek prequel novel, Desolation Game (co-written with director/screenwriter Greg McLean), have been published in Australia, the US, and Germany, and he’s been nominated for the Aurealis, Ditmar, and Ned Kelly awards. He won the 2011 Australian Shadows Award for his collection, Tales of Sin and Madness. He has a keen interest in true crime, in particular the infamous Jack the Ripper murders of 1888, and most of his fiction deals with true-life horrors, often using real-life crimes as a basis for his stories. He still lives in the wilds of Melbourne with his wife, daughter and German shepherd.


I am an avid reader/reviewer and collector of books--primarily horror, supernatural, and supernatural-themed thrillers.

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