Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin

Nicholas Close is a haunted man. Haunted by the very visual ghosts of the victims of violent deaths. Haunted by the sudden loss of his young wife and the possibility that he may have inadvertantly caused it. Haunted by the murder of his best friend as a child and the idea that he was meant to die instead.

Nicholas is the protagonist of Stephen M. Irwin's first novel, The Dead Path. Following the death of his wife, Nicholas quits his job and flees London to the small town in Australia where he grew up. But Nicholas is not just running from a life suddenly shattered by tragedy; he has also begun to see terrifying visions of people dying in bloody violent ways. He hopes to reunite with his estranged family and begin a new life, burying unhappy memories and nightmarish visions alike.

But very quickly events and disquieting feelings overtake Nicholas, forcing him to confront the unholy force he senses in a dark and forlorn grove of woods near his childhood home. As clues and circumstances arise, Nicholas realizes the malavoent darkness of the woods is more powerful, more evil and more ancient than he can believe.

I really enjoyed The Dead Path. For a first novel, Mr. Irwin has crafted an eerie tale that the accomplished masters of the genre would be proud of. His characters resonate beautifully and the reader can't help but be drawn into the novel. The complex relationship between Nicholas' mother and her children, in particular, was very artfully contstructed.

Mr. Irwin admirably uses the language to depict his scenes and action. I was often charmed by the similes he uses. Spare and poetic, I think Mr. Irwin's style reminds me very much of Peter Straub. His themes, character construction and tone, however, reminded me very much of Stephen King.

And therein lies my only qualm with The Dead Path. Genre readers will find no new ground broken in the novel. I feel that I must point out that I was (perhaps unfairly) reminded of King's It by The Dead Path. However similar the stories may be, The Dead Path is definitely not It relocated to Australia. It is rather a genuinely creepy story with a kindred leitmotif. I liked King's It very much. I was gripped by The Dead Path just as well.

In sum, if The Dead Path is the caliber of novels I can expect from Mr. Irwin, then I look forward to his next as soon as published.

The Dead Path was previously published in the UK and Australia as The Darkening. It is now available in the US from Doubleday.

Toolshed rating: 9 of 10 bloody talismans.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Contest Winnah!

Congratulations to the winner of our Cinema Fave Gush contest: iZombie aka Jeremy from Born Again Zombie! Jeremy will recieve a copy of The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin courtesy of Random House Publishing.

Still in the midst of reading The Dead Path myself but a review is on the way. If you'd like to read an excerpt see yesterday's post.

Thanks again, everyone for entering. This has been a lot of fun for me and hopefully we'll have another one soon. Congrats again Jeremy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Excerpt from "The Dead Path"


Our innaugural contest is moving right along but we still have two days left to enter, folks! On Thursday, 28 October around 6:00 pm Central, I'll announce the winner. Please remember to leave your email so I can get in touch with you if you win. Good luck!

By the by, I recieved my reviewer's copy of "The Dead Path" and will be posting my review soon. If you'd like to read an excerpt, you can find it at Stephen Irwin's Facebook page. Here's a
link guys.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Toolshed's Innaugural Contest!

This is it, fiendish folks! Our first Toolshed giveaway! I have (courtesy of Random House Publishing) one copy of The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin free to the winner of The Toolshed's Cinema Fave Gush contest.

I have not, as of yet, recieved a reviewers copy but the publicist's info sheet describes The Dead Path thusly:

"Nicholas Close has always had an uncanny intuition, but after the death of his wife he becomes haunted, literally, by ghosts doomed to repeat their final violent moments in a chilling and endless loop. Torn by guilt and fearing for his sanity, Nicholas returns to his childhood home and is soon entangled in a dis turbing series of disappearances and murders—both as a suspect and as the next victim of the malignant evil lurking in the heart of the woods."


Simply put, send me a comment on this post and tell me in 30 words or less your favorite horror flick and why you love it. On October 27th I'll put all entrants names in my Mystery Murder bag and the lovely Mrs. Toolshed will pull a winner forth!

Winner will be announced on October 29th on The Toolshed. Good luck to all!

It Rises!

Hello again fear fans. Sorry for the incredibly long disappearance from the blog but I've had all to much on my plate for the last six months or so. But the Toolshed is open for business again! And to innaugurate this august event, the Toolshed will soon have it's first product giveaway contest!

Details soon!