From Ian Sheltain comes a thrilling and dark occult horror set in an English seaside resort. Called ‘Your Heart Out’, the official synopsis reads as follows:
In an English seaside resort, seasonal workers have been disappearing for years. Lately they have been turning up dead and horribly mutilated.
Molly Raynor, a young hotel receptionist, is looking for answers after one of her co-workers goes missing. Why are the disappearances being kept out of the papers? Why are the police lying to her? And who is the mysterious guest on the third floor?
An excellent debut from Ian Sheltain, Your Heart Out sets the stage for a mysterious and horrifying tale from its opening chapter. Where we are introduced to Mr Bolland, a old man who seems to be desperate for death. His previous attempts all over his body, most notably his devastated lower jaw where he shot himself. Yet he lived. Now, he has a 24/7 live-in nurse all arranged by Mr Bolland’s even more mysterious friend/partner, Binky.
It appears as though Mr. Bolland will do anything to die but the living aren’t so willing to let him go and it turns out, either are the dead.
A past wrought with evil and ritualistic doings is coming back to haunt Mr Bolland and the link just happens to be in the basement of a hotel. A hotel where Molly Raynor works and a hotel run by Mr Regis, a beastly man who has no qualms with firing his staff over the most minor thing.
Molly is our lead and what a likeable one she is. Her life is going nowhere it seems and the job in the hotel is hardly satisfying work. However, it pays the bills and is easy enough to do. That is until Mr Bolland comes to stay after yet another suicide attempt.
Mr Regis is clear. Stay away from his room, give whatever his nurse demands and ask no questions. Instructions that Molly and the staff are more than happy to agree too. That is until strange events begin to occur around the hotel and Molly suspects a link between them and Mr Bolland.
As she begins to dig she begins to uncover darker events that will put her own life at risk. Will she be able to survive long enough to reveal the truth?
Your Heart Out is a gripping read written by an author capable of simplifying a hell of a lot of detail and keeping the pace very snappy. Through great descriptions and actions, the characters become more whole and way more believable. It’s easy to picture Mr Bolland’s ruined face, Molly’s wide-eyed innocence and frustration and Mr Regis’ overflowing fury.
Then we have the supernatural and occult elements that hark back to ancient evils that few would be able to comprehend in modern times. Getting to ride along with this evil while it tries to make sense of the modern world is a particular high point of the story.
With plenty of blood and gore, plenty of thrills and chills and an ending that is surprising in just how bleak it is, Your Heart Out is a must read.
Your Heart Out (Ian Sheltain)
The Final Score - 8/10