Book Reviews

{Review} THE CUNDY, by R.H. Dixon

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.

Published by Corvus Corone Press on March 13, 2019
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Psychological Horror, Supernatural, Suspense
Pages: 211
Format: eBook
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THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE DARK…

For fans of Stand By Me and IT, this standalone coming of age tale, set in an ex-mining village in the northeast of England in the mid-90s, blends Norse mythology and the occult.

‘When 13-year-old Sullivan Carter and his younger brother, Colton, are forced to hide from school bullies in the cundy (a water conduit in Castle Eden Dene), they are attacked by a terrifying creature which goes on to haunt their dreams.

Rumour has it that some older teens have been performing strange rituals at the cundy. As such, Sullivan is convinced that he and Colton are now being hunted by an ancient creature that’s been unleashed from its dark lair. A creature that’s been lurking since the time Scula the Danish Viking warlord ruled the area in the 900s.

When Colton begins to hear voices which draw him back to the cundy, he tells Sullivan he believes one of them belongs to their dead mother.

Sullivan must reach beyond his own profound grief in order to defend Colton and himself against the wily creature.

Does he have what it takes to defeat it? Or will he need to sacrifice himself in order to save his little brother?’

Horror After Dark Review

THE CUNDY, by R.H. Dixon, is a supernatural novel that has a strong “coming-of-age” theme running through it. The author begins with the definitions of cundy, for those of us unfamiliar with its British/Scottish origins, as:
1. A drain or drain entrance
2. A tunnel or passage

Sullivan and his younger brother, Colton Carter have recently lost their mother to a fatal disease. Trying to move on with their father now having to play the role of BOTH parents would be difficult enough on its own. Unfortunately, Sully, a young teenager, has been targeted by the local bullies for no apparent reason. As if that weren’t bad enough, ten-year old Colton has taken to skipping school often, leading to exasperation and even more frustration for their already overwhelmed Father.

I immediately felt for each of these characters. We are given important information about them in small increments all throughout the novel. We see firsthand all that Sully is going through. Aside from being bullied, he is now forced to step up and watch out for the welfare of his younger brother, as his father is struggling to manage all other things–including his personal grief. I could honestly picture his late mother asking him this favor, knowing how their different personalities would struggle to process things after she’s gone.

“. . . When Colton came along we were known, collectively, as the Cosmic Kids. When Mam died, so did both the nicknames.” 

While we are given bits of the past to solidify the boys in our minds, the action in the novel takes place in the present. There are some things that seem to be true no matter where in the world you go. One such thing is that there are always those looking to bully others.

“Bullies . . . are nothing but weakling sociopaths, after all . . . “ 

Another thing that you can count on is that in virtually any town or village you come across, there’s usually someplacerumored by all kids to be haunted.

“. . . if there are pockets of darkness in the world . . . I expect the cundy is one of them.” 

The main point of this novel certainly centers around the cundy; however, through Dixon’s words we are invited to live life as Sully for a time.

The coming-of-age is undeniably present with Sully through all of this, and so well done that his every action feels true. While immersed in this book, I felt that I was there witnessing everything happening. Not only with Sully, but with each of the characters brought in. All of their motivations, actions, and feelings rang true to me. A feat which most authors strive for is to have the people they create come “alive”, and connect with the reader on some level. Dixon manages to do that seemingly effortlessly.

“. . . I had simply surpassed the limits of fear and had transcended into some realm of acceptance . . . life can’t be avoided . . . “ 

When we peer into the dark depths of the cundy, a part of our mind is actually there–experiencing each moment as we read it. It was easy to mentally witness everything vividly as I read the author’s descriptions, my own imagination supplying any additional details that felt right. Even the thoughts of the boys–under these circumstances–seemed completely natural to me.

“. . . Life was not a video game and it couldn’t be reset . . . “ 

As for the supernatural experiences–all I can say is that they felt refreshingly “new”, and at the same time, the only possible way it could be. That is what kind of hold these words had on me. Even the most illogical of conclusions can feel real when penned by the right hands.

“. . . Life was finite. Death was known.” 

Overall, I felt this was an extremely well described, atmospheric novel that showcased a boy coming-of-age to perfection. All of the little details, from those that bonded the characters to each other, to those that separated them and set them apart as individuals, flowed steadily into my mind. R.H. Dixon has a true gift with her words, and personally, I plan on being in line for each new release she comes out with.

Highly recommended.

About The Author

R. H. Dixon is a horror enthusiast who, when not escaping into the fantastical realms of fiction, lives in the northeast of England with her husband and two whippets. She is an active member of the Horror Writers Association.

When reading and writing she enjoys exploring the darknesses and weaknesses within the human psyche, and she loves good strong characters that are flawed and put through their paces. Her favourite authors include: Shirley Jackson, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Joe Hill, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Tremblay, Michelle Paver and Stephen King.

As well as reading and writing, she enjoys travelling (particularly wildlife-spotting jaunts involving bears, wolves and corvids), visiting spooky places, collecting animal skulls and drinking full-bodied red wine.

When reading and writing she enjoys exploring the darknesses and weaknesses within the human psyche, and she loves good strong characters that are flawed and put through their paces. Her favourite authors include: Shirley Jackson, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Joe Hill, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Tremblay, Michelle Paver and Stephen King.

As well as reading and writing, she enjoys travelling (particularly wildlife-spotting jaunts involving bears, wolves and corvids), visiting spooky places, collecting animal skulls and drinking full-bodied red wine.

Kimberly

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

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