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4.0 out of 5 starsA must read!
Reviewed in the United States on January 24, 2019
What a unique, scary story. The atmosphere in this book is so real, I felt as though I could smell the sea, and the tension at times was almost claustrophobic. It reminded me of watching those great old European horror movies at the all night drive- in theater back when I was a boy. Isolated and alone , with very little communication or interaction with the outside world. has left these island folk full of superstition and legends...or is it all truly real? Sometimes the folk tales are all too real. Terrifying and wonderful! I loved this one!
5.0 out of 5 starsAn absolute MUST READ for fans of gothic New England horror.
Reviewed in the United States on April 9, 2019
John C. Foster has written an incredible mystery / gothic horror novel, that is an extraordinary mix of atmospheric suspense, chilling terror and modern day noir. His prose is razor sharp and the way he slowly teases out the intricate, bone-chilling details surrounding a murder in a small village off the coast of New England will have you tearing through the pages in dreadful anticipation.
It's creepy and unnerving, with a rain-soaked atmosphere so well built with description that it makes you feel cold and damp while reading. All in all, I think the Isle is John's finest work yet and I'm chomping at the bit to see what he comes up with next.
5.0 out of 5 starsExcellent Writing, Strong Plotting, Dread Inducing.
Reviewed in the United States on January 12, 2019
Holy cow, this book is nothing like I thought it was going to be based on the cover (mindless fun - giant lobster eats people). Instead, it was a wonderfully atmospheric and thrilling horror story with prose that could easily be classified as literary.
Fans of, The Wicker Man, should love this one. The Isle is dark, bleak, weird, and chock -full of dread. I enjoyed this one quite a bit.
From the children to the corpses, I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in Foster's dark world again with little regard for modern time. I often get distracted and don't finish books but that was definitely not the case with The Isle. While I also loved Dead Men and Mister White, The Isle is John Foster's best work yet. The captivating pages manage to balance perfectly on the narrow line of entrapping imagery without over-writing. Prepare to find yourself on the cold, dark, terrifying Isle yourself.
This book wasn't what I expected at all. It was far better. The depictions of the Island and the townsfolk were so entrancing and real that I have expected the likes of Boris Karloff and Peter Cushing to be wandering around out there, dripping with foul rain and trying to hamper the desires of the heroes. A fantastic story from beginning to end. Highly recommended.
John Foster didn’t write The Isle, he crafted it, building dread from page one until the final sentences. Rich character portraits, and the settings become characters as well. Although this takes place in the Atlantic, it really could take place on any island across the country. It’s a slow burn, so give it time. It’s worth the payoff.
4.0 out of 5 starsFoster is an artist who is able to paint pictures with his words and does it again and again
Reviewed in the United States on April 2, 2019
The Isle is a dark and demented look at the way life, or what passes for it, has evolved on a remote island off the New England coast.
No doubt, John C. Foster knows how to string words together...
"Dawn was a red rim of anger on the horizon as the storm gathered its strength and the wind tried to rip the door from his grip. Waves detonated against the rocks with loud explosions of white foam, the ocean matching the swirling fury of the storm clouds overhead."
Foster is an artist who is able to paint pictures with his words and does it again and again...
"The Isle is technically only a territory. Not part of Maine. It’s eighty-two miles off the coast. Isolated. Only about three hundred people living there. The only regular transport back and forth is a boat that delivers lobster and fish and picks up supplies."
The official synopsis for The Isle describes the story better than I ever could...
"A deadly menace threatens a remote island community and every man, woman and child is in peril. Sent to the isle to collect the remains of a dead fugitive, US Marshal Virgil Bone is trapped by torrential storms."
As the body count rises the community unravels, and Bone is thrust into the role of investigator. Aided by a local woman and the town pariah, he uncovers the island’s macabre past and its horrifying connection to the killings.
Some curses are best believed. Sometimes the past is best left buried. And some will kill to keep it so."
I enjoyed the way Foster would withhold secrets, reveling them at just the right moment. The story of the curse on The Isle was formidable. In some ways, this is a literary work. In others, it's an homage to New England gothic horror. However, you look at it, The Isle is a helluva lot of fun.
Published by Grey Matter Press, The Isle is available in both paperback and e-book formats.
From the author's bio -John C. Foster was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and has been afraid of the dark for as long as he can remember. The Isle grew out of his love for New England, where he spent his childhood. He is the author of three previous novels, Dead Men, Night Roads and Mister White, and one collection of short stories, Baby Powder and Other Terrifying Substances. His stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies including Dark Moon Digest, Strange Aeons, Dark Visions Volume 2 and Lost Films, among others. He lives in Brooklyn with the actress Linda Jones and their dog Coraline.
5.0 out of 5 starsGripping and immersive. Perfect gothic horror.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 1, 2020
The idea of an isolated island community existing in our modern world, inhabited by people ruled by traditional religious beliefs is a little hard to take at first. A small population who all seem to know each other, and who all turn their back on modern technology in favour of the "old ways".But, thanks to the power of Foster's storytelling, The Isle comes to life in the mind of the reader. From the rolling ocean waves to the eerie burned out buildings of the waterfront village, from the cottages with their thatched roofs to the mysterious lighthouse and it's equally mysterious inhabitant, every setting and every character adds to the all-encompassing sense of dread. Seeing the world through the eyes of US Marshal Virgil Bone - himself a troubled character - allows us to become immersed in the role of an outsider on the island. This is further enhanced by a wonderful narration by Linda Jones, who gives each character their own voices.
The mystery surrounding Bone's mission to the island, and the murky history of the inhabitants, is played out wonderfully. Foster never gives the reader too much information at once, instead eking it out in such a way that keeps us hooked right to the horrifying climax. It is a perfect gothic horror story for those readers (or audiobook listeners) who not only want to read and listen, but want to be engulfed by the darkness. Certain aspects reminded me of the movie The Wicker Man, which I did enjoy. But I found the experience of reading and listening to The Isle even more enjoyable.