I love the smell of books. I will happily spend hours in a book shop just slowly turning the pages and indulging in that glorious scent. The smell of adventure, mystery, love, a story yet to unfold before your very eyes. The older the better. Books mature with age, taking on a personality of their own, picking up trinkets along the way. A coffee ring because a coaster wasn’t available. The remains of a squashed bug smeared on the inside cover. Grains of sand from a holiday long ago crushed between the pages. They all tell their own different story. God I love books!
Today is my turn on the blog tour for The Pale Ones By Bartholomew Bennett. A big thank you to the publishers Inkandescent for sending me a copy to review and the wonderful Anne for the invitation to take part in this thrilling blog tour. Grab a cuppa, get comfortable but be warned this book is not for the faint hearted. It will keep you on edge. Oh I love it! Shall we?
About The Author
Bartholomew Richard Emenike Bennett was born in Leicester, the middle son of an American father and English mother. He has studied and worked in the US and New Zealand, and has a First Class Honours degree in Literature from the University of East Anglia. Since graduation he has had various jobs: primarily software developer, but also tutor, nanny, data-entry clerk and call-centre rep, project manager and J-Badger (ask your dad), painter and decorator, and (very slightly) handy-man, working at locations all across the United Kingdom. He has also been known to dabble in online bookselling.
The Pale Ones is his first published work, although he has been writing fiction continuously, long-form and short, since 2002. Currently he is at work on a novel about three children who experience a long, wintry December filled with gifts. Of the unusual variety. And trials. Of the trying variety.
Currently he lives in southeast London, with his wife and two young children. He is a longstanding member of Leather Lane Writers Group, and since childhood, a dedicated reader of all manner of books, but especially tales of the “horror”. And in fact, some of the paper-packed rooms that feature in The Pale Ones bear a remarkable resemblance to locales in his own abode…
The Pale Ones
Pulped fiction just got a whole lot scarier…
Few books are treasured. Most linger in the dusty purgatory of the bookshelf, the attic, the charity shop, their sallow pages filled with superfluous knowledge. And with stories. Darker than ink, paler than paper, something is rustling through their pages.
Harris delights in collecting the unloved. And in helping people. Or so he says. He wonders if you have anything to donate. To his ‘children’. Used books are his game. Neat is sweet; battered is better. Tears, stains, broken spines – ugly doesn’t matter. Not a jot. And if you’ve left a little of yourself between the pages – a receipt or ticket, a mislaid letter, a scrawled note or number – that’s just perfect. He might call back.
Hangover Square meets Naked Lunch through the lens of a classic M. R. James ghost story. To hell and back again (and again) via Whitby, Scarborough and the Yorkshire Moors. Enjoy your Mobius-trip.
I can already sense the goosebumps forming from just thinking about The Pale Ones. I couldn’t help but devour it in one entire sitting. It creeped under my skin and refused to budge until the last page. A story so chilling that you will never look at a wasp nest the same again.
Bennett has a natural talent for describing characters. I was captivated by the detail and depth. I fully envisioned Harris standing in front of me in a charity shop rummaging through a forgotten shelf of old books. Bennett wastes no time in introducing the reader to him the moment you start reading. A real character that leaves you baffled, confused but intrigued. An artful skill that few writers accomplish, transporting characters from the page into your lounge, disturbed flecks of dust lingering in the air as your complete works of Dickens is inspected. I applaud you Bennett. A pleasure to read.
“His clothing conjured a distant suggestion of armour or carapace: wool and leather and silk, all top-end, perhaps even hand-tailored, and all lightly soiled. And his smell: a tight, high blend of cold, dead tobacco, mixed with something like turpentine, and old, desiccated sweat.”
I found that the narrative was informative yet deceptive. Bennett teases the reader by slowly revealing just enough information to pull you in deeper to his dark distorted world. It’s the way he does it that makes this story even more addictive to read. It’s subtle and leaves you feeling itchy. You begin to question your sanity, asking yourself did you read that last part right? Bennett masterfully leaves enough room for the readers imagination to fill in any gaps, a magician with words making you wonder how he pulled that white rabbit out from nowhere.
“The interior smelled like it had been deep-fried; the carpeting was equally delicious – a patterning of shit-brown moths crushed onto khaki ground by asymmetric, crisscrossing grids.”
Bennett sets a decent pace for the reader, allowing them to bundle along in the van alongside Harris. And wow…what a journey it is. Your senses are set alight with noises, smells, textures along with meeting a mixture of strange odd characters that speak in riddles. It’s bewitching to read. Bennett entraps the reader with Harris, keeping them in suspense to his ulterior motive. He plays mind games and it’s hypnotising to read. I was biting my lip throughout as the antici…pation kept building and building. The truth of it all is far more horrific than you imagined.
I give The Pale Ones By Bartholomew Bennett a Five out of Five paw rating
A story that will burrow under your skin, I simply could not get enough. I enjoyed every word, sentence, I craved more. This is definitely a book you can read over and over again and discover something different from it each time. I couldn’t help but hop to my nearest charity shop and plundered their selection of books. You just never know what you will find and more disturbingly take home willingly…
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below!
Hop hop wiggle wiggle