British Fantasy Award Winner; 3x British Fantasy Award Nominee

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Cold Turkey reviews

I know that endless pluggage and lists of reviews/blurbs can be pretty tiresome (and I've certainly been giving FB and Twitter a hammering lately), so while I'm still sorely tempted to do all of the above, I won't. Instead, I'll list a few excerpts of the best ones here, and the rest you can (if you so desire) read in the News and Reviews section of this blog, or alternatively, follow the links to full reviews.

“Carole Johnstone’s Cold Turkey is darkly funny, assuredly written, and deliciously creepy. It’s also the best giving up smoking manual I’ve read...In a style reminiscent of Joe Hill, Cold Turkey is a perfect blend of dark humour and creepy chills.”

“Part nightmare, part pitch black comedy, Johnstone's novella has a hallucinatory quality that keeps you guessing until the final reveal. Cold Turkey is genuinely chilling, an addictive mystery that will have readers turning pages until well after midnight. It is Johnstone's skill in characterisation and in the rendering of dialogue, however, that is most consistently mesmerising. Her sense of place is masterful, leaving you with the conviction that she doesn't just know these people, she cares about them, too. Cold Turkey must surely be Carole Johnstone's most confident and assured achievement to date and I loved reading it.”
“Cold Turkey is wise, mischievous and a delight to read. Johnstone tells a mesmerising tale, every time.”

“From its grisly opening gambit reminding the reader of the dark, phlegmy fate awaiting all who fail to give up the snouts, to its climactic stalking, creeping, flailing, bloody finale, this is what horror should be like - as ghastly as examining the contents of a dying man's hankie, and a hell of a lot more fun.”

And a few review excerpts:

“Cold Turkey  is a triumphant novella, it combines emotional depth, deep psychological chills, with some of the blackest humour and some of the most knowing characterisation you are likely to read this year...[it] is one of those books that every writer dreams of writing, the sort of book that will remain as a fixed point in time in their career. A book that in a perfect world will mark the dawning of a new era in their success.  Bold, assured, utterly rewarding; this is a book that everyone should read.”
See full review here

“This is an excellent novella, beautifully constructed and filled with wonderful little moments of humour- Raym braved the staff room with all the stoicism of a soldier shoved screaming over the top.  The characterisation is precise and clever - Raym isn’t generally a nice man (especially with Wendy and Cate) but you somehow willingly follow him and feel sympathy for his plight - and there’s a nice use of dialect too (especially the key phrase “Yer tea’s oot!”).  The male viewpoint is well captured and when everything goes wrong for Raym during the Easter Fayre, it all happens in a perfectly pitched sequence that is embarrassing and funny and painful but which you cannot look away from.

“Johnstone doesn’t shy away from the dark side of things though, with some unpleasant sequences and an occasion of brutally shocking violence, as reality and fantasy intertwine until Raym (and the reader) are never quite sure what is actually happening and what’s imagination...Superbly written, with a great feel for character, dialogue and location, this is a great read and I highly recommend it.”
See full review here

“I think that “Cold Turkey” might be my favourite of the novella series so far. It’s straightforward on the most immediate level, but through that delves into an entirely believable character. It is what I would term traditional horror, predicated on basic ideas of human nature, and even evokes a chill at the bottom of the spine when it really gets going. Well-written and engaging, it represents another triumph for Carole Johnstone and TTA themselves.”
See full review here

“Although this story, on one level, is a cracking good horror tale, it's more than bogles and night-haunts. Carole's depiction of Raym's addiction, and the personality and character traits going along with said addiction is spot on...The actual monster in this story is Raym and his addiction, along with the depths he eventually sinks to. Top Hat (tally van man) is a great monster, but really, he's everything bad contained within Raym, come back to haunt him. You can really read this on two levels; as a man falling to pieces and losing his sanity, or as an actual story of something from beyond having great fun tormenting an unfortunate git. That, of course, is just my take on the story. Either way, Cold Turkey is an enthralling story, and is highly recommended.”
See full review here

Once again: *pleased face*
And huge thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read and blurb and review.

Sarah Pinborough website:
Nina Allan website:
Joseph D'Lacey website:
Christopher Fowler website:
Jim McLeod website:
Mark West website:
Matthew S. Dent website:
Shawn Vogt website: