I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.by Mark Cassell
Published by Herb's House on June 1, 2017
Genres: Creature Feature, Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Occult & Supernatural, Paranormal, Psychological Horror, Supernatural
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Shy accountant Anne returns to the village of Mabley Holt to piece together her life after a family tragedy. When her cat vanishes, and a neighbour claims to speak with his dead wife, she soon learns there’s more to the village than any resident dares admit. In search of her beloved pet, she discovers not only family secrets but also revelations of a local legend.
As she treads an unsteady path between folklore and fact, her confidence in where she grew up begins to crumble. Into hell.
Set in the bestselling Shadow Fabric mythos, Hell Cat of the Holt is not just a ghost story, and is much more than a black cat sighting.
A Supernatural Suspense Thriller
From Mark Cassell, author of the best-selling supernatural horror novel The Shadow Fabric, this novella further explores his expanding occult mythos.
His work has been compared with British horror authors such as James Herbert, Clive Barker, Dennis Wheatley, and Brian Lumley. Also, his influences spread over to the US where he admits to having been first inspired by Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Dan Simmons, and H P Lovecraft.
HELL CAT OF THE HOLT (A Shadow Fabric Mythos novella) is the first book I’ve read by author Mark Cassell. He has created “The Shadow Fabric Mythos”, of which this novella is a part of that “world”. The Shadow Fabric is basically an almost physical sign of locations on the Earth where the veil separating our existence from that of the spirit realm are the thinnest, and therefore the easiest, to breach.
“. . . What you’re seeing aren’t the shadows you think they are, it’s the veil shifting. Traces of the Shadow Fabric . . .”
We begin with an elderly couple on a drive, swerving to avoid the sudden appearance of a large black cat .. . .
Next we meet Anne, a woman who recently left behind an unhappy marriage to move back in with her grandparents–the ones that had raised her in the small town of Mabley Holt. Although Anne grew up here among the rumors of a large Black Cat that lives in the village, with a population of approximately 100, she hasn’t known anyone who has actually seen the beast. That is, except for her grandfather–who told her that he had, just before his heart gave out. Her biggest concern now is that her pet cat and only companion, Murphy, has been missing. While putting up flyers about him, she can’t help but notice how many other family pets have gone missing lately . . .
Anne is also not be the only one in this small town who’s been suffering from sleep problems as of late.
“. . . When you wake from a sudden sound, your first thought is whether it was real . . . “
While she is out searching the woods for her beloved pet, she comes across an enigmatic man named Leo. Leo seems to be an expert on the strange cat sightings and bizarre happenings that people in the village have begun to notice, yet he admits to only having been there for about a year.
Cassell’s characterization of Leo is fleshed out especially well, considering his “unexpected” appearance. It didn’t take long at all to make the connection that he is “in deep” with anything having to do with this “Shadow Fabric”. Although we don’t learn the origins of his experience, his character is one that is easy enough to believe and put trust in, immediately.
“. . . This black stuff . . . is a kind of residue. It proves the veil between our world and . . . another, has been torn . . . .”
In this secluded town it is quite easy–almost inevitable–that we are able to quickly picture the events being spoken of. With the low population and vastness of the woods, this is an area readers will be able to imagine just about anything happening in. This town, like many others, has a violent history that lies upon the other side of the Fabric–one which doesn’t discourage easily, and is anxious to get back into the world of the living.
The only thing I would have liked better in this novella, is some more information on how Leo became entangled in the Shadow Fabric to begin with. Included at the end is a bonus story that gives some additional information about Leo and his neighbor, Pippa. I found this to explain a great deal, but still not quite enough to satisfy my curiosity about Leo.
“. . . It’s all about the Shadow Fabric . . . “
Overall, a fast paced supernatural novella that starts right in on the action, and doesn’t let up throughout its duration. I am very interested in reading more of this new Mythos that Mark Cassell has created.