Horror Oasis store promotional banner
The Horror Oasis Facebook group promo banner

TRENDING

Children of Sin [Movie Review]

Children of Sin [Movie Review]

[dica_divi_carousel item_width_auto="on" item_width="325px" arrow_nav="on" item_spacing="10" advanced_effect="1" arrow_nav_color="#FFFFFF" arrow_bg_color="RGBA(255,255,255,0)" _builder_version="4.17.0" _module_preset="default" module_alignment="center"...

The Fear Sheets

The Fear Sheets

[dica_divi_carousel item_width_auto="on" item_width="325px" arrow_nav="on" item_spacing="10" advanced_effect="1" arrow_nav_color="#FFFFFF" arrow_bg_color="RGBA(255,255,255,0)" _builder_version="4.17.0" _module_preset="default" module_alignment="center"...

Check Out These Hi-Res Images of the Original Goosebumps Series!

Check Out These Hi-Res Images of the Original Goosebumps Series!

[dica_divi_carousel item_width_auto="on" item_width="325px" arrow_nav="on" item_spacing="10" advanced_effect="1" arrow_nav_color="#FFFFFF" arrow_bg_color="RGBA(255,255,255,0)" _builder_version="4.17.0" _module_preset="default" module_alignment="center"...

You’ve Lost a Lot of Blood by Eric Larocca [Book Review]

You’ve Lost a Lot of Blood by Eric Larocca [Book Review]

[dica_divi_carousel item_width_auto="on" item_width="325px" arrow_nav="on" item_spacing="10" advanced_effect="1" arrow_nav_color="#FFFFFF" arrow_bg_color="RGBA(255,255,255,0)" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" module_alignment="center"...

Juggling Multiple Perspectives in a Single Narrative

Juggling Multiple Perspectives in a Single Narrative

[dica_divi_carousel item_width_auto="on" item_width="325px" arrow_nav="on" item_spacing="10" advanced_effect="1" arrow_nav_color="#FFFFFF" arrow_bg_color="RGBA(255,255,255,0)" _builder_version="4.14.9" _module_preset="default" module_alignment="center"...

Maggots Screaming! by Max Booth III [Book Review]

Maggots Screaming! by Max Booth III [Book Review]

[dica_divi_carousel item_width_auto="on" item_width="325px" arrow_nav="on" item_spacing="10" advanced_effect="1" arrow_nav_color="#FFFFFF" arrow_bg_color="RGBA(255,255,255,0)" _builder_version="4.14.9" _module_preset="default" module_alignment="center"...

Virgin Night by Christopher Robertson [Book Review]

Virgin Night by Christopher Robertson [Book Review]

[dica_divi_carousel item_width_auto="on" item_width="325px" arrow_nav="on" item_spacing="10" advanced_effect="1" arrow_nav_color="#FFFFFF" arrow_bg_color="RGBA(255,255,255,0)" _builder_version="4.14.9" _module_preset="default" module_alignment="center"...

 The Cursed Among Us by John Durgin [COVER REVEAL]

 The Cursed Among Us by John Durgin [COVER REVEAL]

[dica_divi_carousel item_width_auto="on" item_width="325px" arrow_nav="on" item_spacing="10" advanced_effect="1" arrow_nav_color="#FFFFFF" arrow_bg_color="RGBA(255,255,255,0)" _builder_version="4.14.9" _module_preset="default" module_alignment="center"...

‘The Descent’ meets ‘As Above, So Below’

Having tackled the folk-horror sub-genre with ‘The Balance’, horror author Kev Harrison has turned his attention to a more oppressive and taut tale of underground monsters and ill-fated film crews.

Nick is a mining engineer who is signed on to star in a documentary about a tragic accident in a gold mine over sixty years ago. It is a tragedy that Nick has a personal connection to and one that he hopes will become a focal point of the work he is doing. Alongside his co-star Jess, a famous internet influencer with a taste for adventure, and camera operator Sofia, he sets off to tell the world about his family’s story.

book cover image for Below by Kev Harrison

HORROR OASIS SHOP

What the team soon discovers is that this particular story is far from over. When they hear unusual and unexplainable sounds deep down in the mines, and their only exit is sabotaged, the trio finds themselves trapped with no light, no food and no chance of escape, at the mercy of a creature that calls the abandoned mines home. A creature that is hungry…

It’s a familiar sounding set-up, and one rife for a fun-filled horror novella,

but Harrison has his own twist on the underground horror sub-genre and the story goes in directions that are both unique and unexpected. Would you expect anything less from an author whose debut novella was a spin on the Baba Yaga fable?

‘Below’ starts out with an intriguing set-up, and spends a lot of time introducing us to our main three characters. It is time well spent, as Nick, Jess and Sofia are all distinct and well-rounded characters, Harrison deftly avoiding caricature. All three are very different, personality-wise (Jess is the bold and adventurous yin to Nicks more reserved and considered yang) but gel so well together as a team and the book’s highlights tend to be when all three are together on the page.

Comparisons to movies such as The Descent or As Above, So Below perhaps suggest a certain level of action and bloodshed and, while there is no shortage of either in ‘Below’, the pacing is very methodical and deliberate, hinting very early on at what’s to come, but taking no pains to rush to the scary set-pieces that we know are just around the corner. Harrison is far more concerned at building tension and making us care about the characters before plunging them into peril, making the finale all the more exciting for it. If you’re here for gore and gut-munching, then ‘Below’ may not be the book for you. While it doesn’t shy away in this regard, that isn’t the focus and the action is there to propel the story, not the other way round.

I particularly enjoyed the hints at backstory we’re given in the forms of diary pages from a witness to the mining accident our protagonists are there to investigate. They crop up throughout the book, revealing more about the increasingly extreme circumstances that followed as the tension builds more and more in the present-day story. It’s effectively done and gives some much appreciated context, history and, dare I say, even sympathy to the monster.

Tense and claustrophobic,

building to a satisfying and action-packed finale, ‘Below’ is an engrossing and undeniably fun read, elevated by its focus on character and story over empty spectacle. The slow build-up builds dread effectively and the story remains surprisingly grounded throughout. Whatever sub-genre Kev Harrison chooses to tackle with his next book, you can count me in.

Richard Martin

Richard Martin

Reviewer

Richard Martin started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatized himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner and an inappropriate amount of books. 

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
My cart
Your cart is empty.

Looks like you haven't made a choice yet.