Shrouded by fog for nearly two years, the picturesque village of Paradise harbours more than its share of secrets. Having won a cottage in a competition she can’t remember entering, Chase Black moves to Paradise, only to discover that its beauty is skin deep – murder and madness fester in its shadows. When her travelling companion, Jane mysteriously disappears, she starts asking questions. Why are the villagers behaving so oddly? Who are the strange figures she sees lurking in the fog? As Chase becomes afraid that something terrible has happened, events escalate dangerously out of control. A virtual prisoner; too late she discovers the real reason she’s there ...
When I saw Evilution available on MiniBookExpo I claimed it as fast as I could, based on the description it appeared to be just my kind of read - mysterious, spooky fun. I was not disappointed at all. From the very first chapter the reader can just feel that something isn't quite right, and this feeling only heightens with further reading, creating a mystery that must be solved - regardless of the consequences.
The main story revolves around Chase, whose life just isn't going the way she planned. Her career is a mess, the man she loves has just up and disappeared and all her motivation in life has left her. The only thing she can really count on is her best friend Jane. So when she recieves a letter saying she has won a house (from a contest she has no memory of entering) her and Jane pack up and travel to Paradise to take a look at her prize. But they both end up getting a lot more than they bargained for.
Once in Paradise, quite a few minor characters are introduced to the story. Although they play much smaller roles, the author has given them all very strong personalities that only serve to enhance the story. Along with creating realistic characters, Shaun Jeffrey also has a great handle on description and environment. Being that the town is shrouded by fog, this comes into play often throughout the novel. However, the author finds original ways to present it without becoming repetitive. Another nice touch in keeping the story moving at a good pace is the inclusion of journal entries to break up the narrative at a crucial point. Altogether Shaun Jeffrey's writing style is creative with strong and equal measures of dialogue, narration and description.
Evilution was a wonderful novel to read that reminded me of classic horror stories which rely fleshed out characters who find themselves enmeshed in a spooky atmosphere with no escape in sight. Rather than being straight out blood and guts, Shaun Jeffrey uses scary situations to send chills up your spine. Although I have to add that there are some passages, such as a crazy person pummelling you with baked goods, that are so creepy and disturbing that I couldn't help but giggle.
Being that this story does contain so many mysteries, I have found it hard to present a concise, but spoiler-free review. Hopefully this has done the job. But one last word of advice - read this book if only for the brilliant ending, by far the best conclusion to a recent horror novel I've read.
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