By Joe DiFrancesco

Reviewed by Paul McAvoy

I have always been of the opinion that if you enjoy a book, regardless of how well written or even how believable or cheesy it might be, then it deserves to be credited as 'Good.' A good read. Joe DiFrancesco will not win any awards for skilful writing--he may well win a prize for cheesiness--but I enjoyed Unholy Whispers, therefore it is good. It is immature and pretentious at times, but bloody good at the same time. Confused?

This book reminded me a lot of Shaun Hutson, and not in a bad way. It's a balls out tale of ghostly horror that a young Mr Hutson (before he decided to become a 'thriller' writer) would have been very proud of. It boasts one of the best intros I have read in long time. I was instantly hooked and left breathless once the prologue was over and we hit chapter one. It is so full of passion and one can see that the author is loving every word and sentence that oozes from his fingertips. The intro is over twenty pages that detail how our 'being-from-another-dimension/world-wanting-vengeance' Leah is born, following some weird consummation involving a weird bloke with tattoos that come alive and a whore. But she is destined not to live long. She is brought up in a brothel; her mother dies in childbirth and she is a child without emotion. Sailors come to the town where they live and in a drunken rage kill everyone at the brothel including Leah, who 'refuses to go quietly into the abyss of the netherworld,' as per the blurb, and waits... waits until the modern day when the SS Duff comes ashore. She returns and wreaks havoc and vengeance on those seafaring merchant navy personnel who decide to spend the night in the rundown brothel that has been untouched since the massacre. People have tried to refurbish it and make it into something else, but all have failed and fled... It is tagged as 'haunted.'

Another must for any good book is characters you like and I pretty much liked all the characters in Unholy Whispers. The main character is Dan, a loner who goes to sea after the death of his daughter. He is the boss of his crew and looks after them, but sadly he is not prepared for Leah's wrath. Rebecca was once Amish, but is now pretty much off the rails; she is in a relationship with Brian, who is at sea following a career as a prison officer and witnessing a colleague murdered by inmates. These are all well chiselled and full characters in my opinion.

As well as reminding me of Shaun Hutson, Unholy Whispers reminded me of the Japanese films Ring and Grudge, both involving young girls who want to come back from the grave to kill. But one should not compare too much. On the whole if you are looking for a long and sophisticated novel involving some kind of quest, or something to challenge your mind, then stay away. But if you want a quick fix of ghostly horror then this is the one for you. I will be reading more by this author.

Unholy Whispers by Joe DiFrancesco. Pb, 100pp, $5.99 excluding P&P. Also available as an e-book from Double Dragon Publishing. Go here for purchase options.

Website: - www.double-dragon-ebooks.com

Return to Whispers review archive