Crown of Thorns by Trevor Kennedy
Reviewed by Morgan K. Tanner
When two teenage lads go out drinking and smoking in the woods, things don’t usually end well, particularly when they star in a horror story. This short tale took the fears of two schoolboys and inflicted that fear upon me, who isn’t a schoolboy.
Set in Northern Ireland in the 1980s when life was tough to say the least, the estate these kids live on is grimly portrayed. The estate has had its fair share of troubles of its own, too. A number of children have recently gone missing, one older girl went full-on psycho in a crazy violent rage before killing herself, and there is talk of satanic cults very much alive and well.
One night the kids decide to chill out in the woods with a big bottle of cider and some fags. What could go wrong?
Well things start down the dark path when they discover an old and seemingly abandoned cottage in a place where they’d never seen it before. Creepy enough so far?
When entering the cottage, the place reeks of decay but displays evidence that someone was recently there. Add to that the horrific face painted on the wall in a kind of mural, and the weird ‘thing’ that hatches from an egg… I’m already saying too much.
After sprinting like kids possessed away from the cottage, the lads decide to say nothing of their experience to any of the grown-ups. After one of them suffers a frighteningly harrowing and realistic nightmare, he wakes to find his mate has only gone and spilled the beans. All of a sudden the local Father is involved, warning the pair that they have inadvertently discovered the hideout of some modern-day satan-worshipping witch bastards.
Of course, the adults decide something needs to be done and the kids are forced into going with them to confront whatever lurks in the woods. But will things ever be the same for the pair?
This story managed to capture the horrors of evil beings tormenting a troubled estate perfectly. The kids interactions are exactly as you’d expect and their reactions to the terrors they witness are realistic. The author pulls no punches in describing the derelict cottage as well as the visceral terrors from dream-land.
This is highly recommended and may make you think twice about rushing to the ice cream van next time it trundles down your street.
About Morgan K. Tanner
Morgan K Tanner is a writer, drummer, and golfist currently residing in the English countryside. The idyllic surroundings make it an ideal place to write, drum, and hide the bodies. The busy sound of the typewriter is perfect to drown out the hum of the antiquated torture equipment.
When he’s not writing or inflicting pain and suffering on his numerous victims, he indulges himself in all things horror and metal.