Putting the D in the P – Last Night on Death in Paradise (Series 7 Episode 1)

Putting the D in the P – Last Night on Death in Paradise (Series 7 Episode 1)

Death in Paradise is a television show that doesn’t know what ‘dark’ is. Everything is fun, everything is light and everything is, very literally, bright as f**k. The real world is a lot darker than it was this time last year – terrorism is rife, lines are being drawn around people, a Youtube guy literally showed a hanging dead body on camera for his pre-teen audience and he thought it was fine, and for some reason Dale Winton in a blonde wig is President of the United States. Maybe just what we need is some Death in Paradise right now

Last season on Death in Paradise, something actually happened. That’s a bit dismissive (of course things always happen, but equilibrium is often restored every episode) but this was something actually actually happening. We swapped bumbling British detective Kris Marshall for slightly differently bumbling British man Ardol O’Hanlon. He’s super different. He has different hair. He has a different face. He has a different accent. Need I say more? This change is actually enough to make Death in Paradise feel fresh again.

Ardol O’Hanlon is now the fish-out-of-water detective running the office in fictional Carribean island Saint-Marie. He is joined by fellow officers (and locals) Florence, Dwayne and JP. Together, they face a weekly murder investigation with an odd murder, usually about four suspects, an odd clue, and a startling epiphany. They don’t mess with the formula much. And that’s what makes it endearing. It’s like a family pot pie made by your grandmother. She always follows the same recipe, and it always comes out exactly the same. But if you think that pot pie is f**king delicious, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, you’d get mad if she did change the recipe.

So we start Series 7. O’Hanlon’s Jack Mooney has settled into his job at Saint-Marie (having two episodes last series to relax into it) and his quirks have been established. Compared to Kris Marshall’s clumsy klutz, Humphrey Goodman, Mooney actually has more refined detecting skills. He’s careful with his words, he knows the way to manipulate a witness, and he’s overall more confident. He’s still a clumsy klutz, but there you go.

So, without further ado, let’s start this crazy ride a-new with episode one! (These things don’t have names, so I make my own up.) Let’s start Putting the 2018 D in the P!


Series 7 Episode 1 – Over the Edge

We start back on Saint-Marie (and ain’t it good to be back??). At the Marston Hotel, it looks like a wedding is getting organised. The Marston family (yeah, they own the hotel) are all preparing for the wedding rehearsal. Daddy Philip Marston (played by Denis Lawson, who apparently hasn’t been in one of these f**king things yet) is getting married to Diane Smith, which means the three Marston kids (Stephen, Karen and Pearl) are getting a new mummy. They seem fine with it though.

Stephen, Pearl and Diane are up in their rooms getting ready for the rehearsal, while Karen is down on the lawn instructing all the guests on what’s going to happen in the rehearsal. Everything seems cool. Nice and cool. In Diane’s room, Diane has started painting her nails…when she sees a disturbing newspaper article with a picture of her on her laptop. Next thing you know, Philip gets a disturbing text from Diane that seems like a suicide note. Philip rushes upstairs to find Diane’s room locked. Diane shouts something and then there is a kerfuffle and a scream. Philip breaks down the door and runs to the balcony. Pearl and Stephen, startled by the scream, are not far behind. Over the balcony is a sorry sight. Diane is lying on the ground. Looks like she jumped.

I bet she didn’t jump, you guys. Because we’re about to slam-cut into titles! YEAH!

Now we’ve got the murder in the bag, let’s catch up with our favourite murder investigation team! Dwayne, JP and Florence seem to be on some kind of undercover sting in the marketplace, while Jack is talking with Katherine about the perfect recipe for melon curry. He so kooky. Well, Dwayne or JP or Florence f**k up because the criminal starts running off. And he runs right past Jack, who throws a melon at him and then handcuffs him. He wasn’t being kooky at all! He was working and…no wait, he was still being kooky. Anyways, it’s a job well done! And Jack makes sure he gets the melon back to make that sweet sweet melon curry. Yum-sers!

The Commissioner calls the team to the Marston hotel to mop up the spillage. Obviously, the consensus is Diane jumped. There is nothing to suggest otherwise and the Commish (seeing that Philip Marston is a very wealthy person on the island, and is also Denis Lawson) wants the case wrapped up quickly. Unfortunately Jack’s Spider Sense starts tingling, and he thinks that maybe this case is more than meets the eye. He goes to inspect Diane’s body, and sees that she has only painted one nail. An odd thing (you know, that ODD CLUE I was talking about? Yep, we’re pretty much ticking all the boxes with this one.)

And here’s a beat I forgot to mention! That’s right my peeps, it’s time for a DWAYNE AND JP WACKY SUB-PLOT TM! Dwayne is acting skittish at the hotel as he and JP go talk to the guests. He keeps looking around and hiding. That’s because Dwayne had a bad relationship with one of the maids at the hotel. He hides in a bush. It transpires Dwayne was dating a whole family of females at once and they found out. It’s a whole thing. It’s not really important.

At the initial interview of the suspects, Jack and Florence learn of the suicide text that Diane sent to Philip as well as the article Diane saw just before her death. Apparently Diane abandoned a child when she was young and the UK press have got wind of it. Up in Diane’s room, Jack sees that her door was indeed chained shut (a chained room mystery, if you will) and Diane left the lid off her nail varnish bottle. According to Florence, this is a big no-no. The nail varnish gets gloopy when the top is off. The rest of the room is immaculately clean, which makes Jack think that Diane would have remembered to screw the lid shut. So it was murder, I guess…just because of that. Jack talks to the Commish and tells him that he thinks it’s murder. The Commish thinks he’s whack and really doesn’t want a fuss. Needless, Jack carries on.

Back at Jack’s shack, Jack learns about the B plot. His daughter, Siobhan, is going off to university back in Britain…the day after tomorrow. (This had to have been a bummer for Grace Stone (who plays Siobhan). She seemed genuinely excited to be a part of DiP and now she’s out. Maybe it was her decision. I don’t know.) Anyways, looks like Jack’s gonna be lonely in the shack with only Harry the lizard for company! (And seriously, was Harry the lizard CGI in this episode? Has the real Harry the lizard actually perished? How long do lizards live? How much do you think it would cost to CGI a lizard? I’m rambling.)

Back to the case, and we’re just going to rattle off some truth nuggets. Stephen Marston (the son) withdrew a large amount of money from the family account recently and delivered it a random house in the hills. After some snooping by JP, it seems the house belongs to Julie Francois, a maid at the Marston hotel. Stephen kinda harassed her Spacey-style and he bribed her silence. But Diane found out about it!

Open and shut? Of course not. Because Pearl (the daughter) was heard having a screaming fight with Diane, when Diane told her she’d have to buck up and get a job. So there’s two motives. Let’s make it a hat trick! Karen (the daughter comma other) drew up a pre-nup before Philip and Diane’s wedding, but Diane refused to sign it. Yessh, it’s like a motive menagerie. But there’s still no evidence that Diane didn’t just kill herself. Philip Marston visits the station and implores Jack to close the case. The family need to mourn the suicide.

Anyway, f**k all that noise, because it’s Siobhan’s last night on the island. And it’s time for a good ol’ Caribbean beach party, full of booze, sand and limbo. Florence starts to grow concerned that Jack’s going to be super alone (especially when his only company is a CGI lizard) but Jack shakes it off. Jack does the limbo and cracks his back. It’s not really relevant…like at all.

Jack carries on the murder case, like the rugged alpha male he is, even after the Commish tells him to close the case. But as trails run cold, and even the team seem unconvinced, Jack has to come to terms with the fact that maybe he’s wrong. And with him saying goodbye to Siobhan earlier, he decides that maybe it was suicide. He packs up and falls asleep on his shack floor.

When he wakes up, the shack is a mess. He starts tidying up, and reflects that it’s almost like Siobhan was never there in the first place. And then…EPIPHANY! EPIPHANY! EPIPHANY! Jack starts going cray-cray! He knows who murdered…uh…Diane. Yeah!

Jack and Florence gather all the suspects together – Philip, Stephen, Pearl and… Wait, Karen makes a run for it. And Florence chases after her. And catches her…but not before they fall in the sea and Florence gets injured. It’s kinda pointless…except for the fact that Florence gets injured, meaning she’ll be out of action for episode 2, meaning Dwayne is going to be the second detective…which could be fun I guess.

Anyways, all the suspects are present, and Jack reveals who really killed Diane Smith! You guess it? The who’s not very interesting, but the how’s actually pretty cool. Anyway HOLY F**KBALLS, it was the three kids conspiring together!!!! See, they all wanted Diane gone, and they definitely didn’t want her to be their new mummy. So they killed her! Back to the scene and Diane is in her room, looking at the laptop and painting one nail. There’s a knock on the door. It’s Pearl. She tells Diane to go to Stephen’s room. Stephen, in charge of the hotel rooms, picked a room right above Diane’s. So Diane is now in Stephen’s room, and Pearl is in Diane’s. Pearl latches the door, uses Diane phone to send the suicide text to Philip, and acts as Diane when Philip comes up to the door. Meanwhile, Karen is distracting all the guests with her boring-ass speech, leaving Stephen to throw Diane off his balcony with no one watching. Pearl hides in Diane’s bathroom, when Philip busts in and joins him on the balcony.

It’s actually not a bad plan, but what these meddling kids didn’t figure into the plan was the awesome mind of DI Jack Mooney! All the kids are arrested, and Denis Lawson is left with three incarcerated kids, one dead fiancee (and let’s be honest, probably a fired agent) but who gives a f**k about him. It’s time for some sweet sweet melon curry at Jack’s shack. The whole team go round to keep Jack company, and Jack realises that he may have a new family now.

Happy Ever After…you know apart from Denis Lawson.

Overall, I found this one to be rather bland. For an opener, it wasn’t very…opening. I guess the Siobhan Uni plot might carry on (and hopefully we’ll see Siobhan come back at some point) but mostly it was just business as usual. The whole murder mystery was fine, and I found the reveal to be actually rather clever. But it was all just…fine. Hopefully, Series 7 has more exciting episodes on the horizon. Needless, it’s good to have Death in Paradise back! And I’m gonna be here for every last one.

Next week: In a startling turn of events, someone is murdered.


Putting the D in the P: Last Night(ish) on Death in Paradise (Series 6 Episode 7)

Putting the D in the P: Last Night(ish) on Death in Paradise (Series 6 Episode 7)


Hello and welcome to ‘Putting the D in the P’, my weekly look at the latest episode of Death in ParadiseDeath in Paradise is one of my favourite shows on television, and when casting your eyes down to the article below, just remember that my light-hearted ribbing is coming from a place of love.

Death in Paradise is one of the most confident shows on television. Not only does it outwardly revel in how silly it is, it inwardly takes itself rather seriously. It is also a show which knows if you’re going to watch it, and stops pandering to those who don’t give a shit. In a world where many television programmes bid for your attention, Death in Paradise is comfortable just existing.

That can be seen in it’s advertising (or lack thereof). Think back to when you last saw an advert for Death in Paradise. It was probably the start of the current season, right? Adverts are needed then to get the fans coming back, and is the only time it bids to attract new fans, at least at primetime.

I expect that there are a few adverts for Death in Paradise during the daytime schedule…because let’s face it (and this isn’t a bad thing) Death in Paradise is a daytime show on at primetime. Unfortunately I can’t verify that as the doctor said if I watched anymore Homes Under The Hammer my heart would explode. I just get so excited when they value the houses is all. And that estate agent music. Durr du du du du du duu duur.

Wait, what were we talking about?? Anyway, this week showed the inaugural outing of DI Jack Mooney (Ardol O’Hanlon) who is our new awkward Brit in the sun. It was nice to see that things felt decidedly different with Mooney bringing his unique investigative style to Saint Marie. It was both a breath of fresh air…and a little clunky and awkward. There were a fair few awkward silences. It was weird. I mean, if they were going for Mooney awkwardly adjusting they kinda nailed it. But that doesn’t negate the fact it felt awkward to adjust.

Anyway, let’s take the training wheels off this Irish man and start Putting the D in the P! (My titles are better than the ones on Wikipedia. So there.)

Series 6 Episode 7 – The Cold Call


Cups of tea. Love a good cup of tea. And so do the team – well, at least Florence, Dwayne and JP. Unless they’re just teacups, and that’s rum in them. Ah well… anyway, this rude American guy comes in and interrupts their rum break. He’s got some information about a seven year old case – the murder of some lass called Julie Matlock. Apparently the woman they pinned the crime on, Nicole Hunter, didn’t do it. And he has proof because Nicole and him were Humph-ing all night long. Shit.


At the shack, Mooney’s doing some re-decorating which Humph probably wouldn’t appreciate. Like literally throwing out all of Humph’s furniture. Little extreme for a holiday but we all know Humph isn’t coming back any time soon, so I guess it’s fine. Harry the lizard doesn’t seem to mind, but that’s because he’s an extreme racist and British people all look the same to him. Anyway, Florence calls by because she wants some help with the case of Julie Matlock.


So Mooney goes to the station to talk to Rude American man, who’s called Tyler I guess. He explains the night when Julie Matlock got murdered, a night when St Ursula’s Festival was in full swing with dancing and balloons and various other festival thingimys. Nadine was indeed with him the whole night. We can verify that because there’s flashbacks so it’s totes true. Turns out Tyler’s marriage ended, and Tyler came back to look for Nadine knowing it was festival time once again. Unfortunately, Nadine died in prison of pneumonia. Talk about a….COLD…..case. (We are all just bacteria infesting this planet)

Well, looks like we’re gonna have to re-open this case. Fuzzy flashbacks don’t lie, you guys. It’s the first rule of police school. Dwayne remembers the case well. Julie Matlock was editor of The Saint-Marie Times. Nadine Hunter was a photographer for the paper. Nadine and Julie didn’t get along well – Julie suspended Nadine for being off-her-tits drunk most of the time. Julie was shot while on the phone, alone in the newspaper office. She was on the phone to her daughter and in mid-sentence when she got shot. Her body was never found, and Nadine’s car was fished out of the bay the next day. In the glove compartment of the car was a gun and a bloody scarf.


In the police files, there is a recording of the murder. Julie Matlock does indeed get fucked up. So it looks like we have a case. The team go to the newspaper office to have a little look see. Obviously, seeing as it was seven years ago, there’s no real evidence here. On the night of the murder, Julie Matlock had sent everyone else in the office home. Mooney does some weird kind of investigating thing which is half puppet show, half interpretive dance. It tells him nothing, because of course it doesn’t.

Whoever killed Julie needed a key to get in so it’s probably one of the other people from the office. Seems like they used a lift to get the body downstairs and then got out the fire exit. Simple, right? There’s only four (Godammit. Four, again. It’s always bloody four.) people it could possibly be (apart from Nadine) Grace Matlock, Julie’s daughter, journalists Tony Garrett and Kai Johnson, or Brian from My Parents Are Aliens, who here is called Ian Matlock, Julie’s husband I guess. But the snag is that Nadine Hunter was the only one who had no alibi. (Wow. That Tyler guy basically killed her.)


Group interview time! Grace Matlock explains how Julie threw everyone out after Nadine stormed in the office totally tanked. Nadine screamed to Julie that they weren’t finished and then pissed off. Seems Julie wanted some alone time after that. Nadine may have been so messed up because some guy broke her heart. That old chesnut. On the night of the murder, Grace and Kai were at their house, Tony was at a bar seeing as it was festival night, and Brian from My Parents Are Aliens was at his beach house 40 minutes away.

Mooney wants a closer listen to the phonecall, because he thinks there’s something else in the recording. JP gets on it, enlisting his cousin who’s a sick ol’school DJ. The Commish comes to the station to greet Mooney. It’s super awkward. JP brings back a speaker to listen to the call, but it’s not enough. Looks like they might have to get technical on that one.


In Nadine Hunter’s possessions, Mooney finds a lock of hair in a poly bag. It’s about as weird as it sounds. But seeing as there’s absolutely no way at all in any universe to test a lock of hair to see who it belongs to (like maybe get hairs from each suspect and test them against the lock of hair), I guess that doesn’t mean much.

Mooney calls it a day, which means he has exactly the same work ethic as Humph. Hey, sometimes you need some time to have a SUB-PLOT! At Catherine’s bar, we get reminded that Catherine is running for Mayor. Remember, from way back in episode two I think. Anyway, I’m sure that’ll come up again…maybe next week. Mooney and his daughter, Siobhan have a touching family moment sans a wife/mother because she’s fucking dead. Mooney and Siobhan miss her very much. I know how they feel. My ex-wife was buried alive. I tried to save her but I was too late. Mainly because I forgot where I buried her. Hey, turns out a lot of Delemare Forest looks the same. You live and learn I guess.


Anyway, back to the case! Mooney’s made up a timeline of events. It looks detailed and super boring. Mooney seems to talk to himself when he’s thinking which all the others find super weird. Time for some quickfire clues. Florence is going through Julie’s diary and finds a 5 digit number – 19871. Interesting. JP finds a resignation letter from Tony Garrett in Julie Matlock’s inbox. Curious. Dwayne finds Brian from My Parents Are Aliens’s been spending money in a lingerie shop – not somewhere you would shop for your wife. Wow! Looks like Ian was having an affair AND got a big payout from his wife’s death. Which one do we even follow up first? If you want to follow up the 5 digit number press 1 now. If you want to look into Tony Garrett’s resignation press 2. If you want to go shopping for lingerie press 3. Oh wait…


At Ian Matlock’s beach house, Mooney gives the old Good Cop Irish Cop routine. Ian admits to having an affair blaming a mid-life crisis. His mistress was a travel rep, who would pop in from time to time. Julie never found out though. At the newspaper archives, JP and Dwayne are looking into Tony Garrett’s articles. Not much happens really, except a SUB-PLOT where Dwayne is going to reconnect with an old flame.


Mooney and Florence go to talk to Tony Garrett about some articles he wrote. He wrote about a school called Calder Hill where a teacher was diddling one of the kids. I’m not going to go into it much, as SPOILER ALERT it isn’t relevant in the slightest. But Julie kinda forced Tony to resign, so maybe he killed her. Even though I kinda already told you that he didn’t. Anyway, it doesn’t matter because both Tony and Brian from My Parents Are Aliens have rock solid alibis.


Looks like JP’s sick DJ of a cousin has isolated the sound on the phonecall. Mooney decides to go over the case again so none of us forget. He does this while putting sugar in his tea. He puts in like nine spoonfuls which is a concoction I like to call diabetes special drink. JP gets back just before Mooney has to take his insulin and the gang listen to the tape. It’s a weird fucking sound that no one can really pin down.

Seems like maybe we should give up. But a taxi driver gave a statement that Julie was down at the harbour the morning she was murdered. So Mooney decides they should go down and have a look. While there, he and Florence find a safety deposit box place. That five-digit number? The code to a safety deposit box! Mooney cracks it open and finds…some incriminating photos of Kai Johnson, up to his old criminal ways, taken by a private detective.


Mooney and Florence pay a visit to Kai, who isn’t particularly surprised that Julie hired a private detective to tail him. That would be a doozy of a motive, to keep this info from Grace, his sweetheart, his bae, his underwear buddy. But Kai’s having none of it. He says that Julie even tried to pay him off to get him to fuck off. He told Grace about it and she was furious.

Turns out though that Grace already knew about the pictures too. But she didn’t care. You see her and Kai are having a baby and she looks to be about 18 months pregnant. With a baby on the line, who cares about some shady drug dealing. Well, the police… She told Kai to stop whatever it was he was doing and told her mother to go do one.


So what did we learn? Nothing really. Waste of fucking time.


It’s St Ursula’s Festival time! And let me tell you, Saint-Marie is going fucking nuts. We’ve got bright colours, silly costumes, and everyone is absolutely tanked. Mooney and Siobhan kick back with the team while Dwayne goes to meet his old sweetheart. But it turns out he got the names of two of his old girlfriends mixed up, and, of course, he picked the clingy annoying one. Oh Dwayne…

St Ursula’s Day parties into St Ursula’s Night and Mooney even gets some dancing in. Siobhan tries to tell him something but he can’t hear. The music is way too loud. And that’s what triggers the revelation.  Mooney figures it all out, all while doing some sick dance moves. He calls the team together and they finally get that DNA test on the lock of hair.


Time for the big reveal! And everyone gathers at the newspaper office. The Commish even comes, to make sure Mooney handles the reveal with the right amount of ridiculousness. It’s key to the job, you see. But the Commish has nothing to fear. Because HOLY MONTY MCSHITKINS it was Brian from My Parents Are Aliens (or Ian I guess). Ian shot his wife…but not in the office. He shot her at the beach house. You see, Mooney was so obsessed with what he could hear on the tape, he didn’t realise what he couldn’t hear. St. Ursula’s Day party music, which would have been deafening in teh office.

Ian was sick of his wife and saw a way to get rid of Nadine Hunter as well who was his mistress. Yes, not the travel rep who pops in and out but Nadine Hunter, who was obsessed with Ian (it was his lock of hair) Ian invited his wife to the beach house, told her to blow off Grace by telling her she was still at the office, then he shot her. Then he drove Nadine’s car into the sea, with the gun and bloody scarf and buried Julie in the concrete of the beach house. You see, that sound that was on the tape? A cement mixer.


Hot damn! Take him away.

So that was the story of Mooney’s first case. And something’s telling me it won’t be the last because Ardol O’Hanlon is contractually obliged. Overall, it was pretty good. The final revelation actually made a lot of sense. And O’Hanlon seems to play the role of Mooney with the right measure of humour and sincerity. I’m interested to see how his character will develop along with how the team will accept him further.

But we’ve only got one episode left this season. Have I really done seven of these? So let’s go out with a doozy, shall we?….Hopefully

UP NEXT: Voting! Catherine! Murder! Polls! Finales!

See you next week!

If you or someone you know suffers from Homes Under the Hammer addiction call the BBC Action Line on 08000 566 065 for support and advice. Just know that you don’t have to be alone through this trying time. There are thousands, if not millions, of people who are addicted to the high of house valuation.

Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes by Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley Review – Jumpscare!! The Novel

Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes by Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley Review – Jumpscare!! The Novel


So I’ve just finished reading Five Nights At Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes by Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley and there wasn’t a jumpscare to be found. You see, FNAF: The Silver Eyes is based on the popular horror video game series Five Nights at Freddy’s which gained a lot of popularity on YouTube as prominent YouTubers filmed themselves freaking the hell out. Five Nights at Freddy’s (the game) puts you in the shoes of the new nightguard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, a Chuck-E-Cheese type joint, where cartoon-like animal animatronics (a bear, a chick, a bunny and a pirate fox) entertain the children and perform on-stage. However, when the sun sets, the animatronics come alive and move about the deserted restaurant of their own free will. You have to keep them at bay by switching the CCTV to different cameras (they will not move if you look at them), whilst conserving power and trying to survive the night. If an animatronic catches you, a jumpscare will happen where they jump up and kill you.

While I’ve never really played much Five Nights at Freddy’s, I am absolutely fascinated by the lore. The story is often hidden in the games and has to be worked at to be discovered. The story of this restaurant is actually very complex, and as each new game comes out, new videos crop up on YouTube trying to puzzle out what is really going on. I love stuff like that, and while I find the jumpscare gameplay of the games to be rather unappealing, I consider myself a fan. So I was very interested to see a FNAF novel just get released out of nowhere (the style of the games too) and I decided to jump in, hoping it would add to the lore of the games.

FNAF: The Silver Eyes is one of the better video game inspired novels I’ve read, managing to entertain me enough throughout. It’s not fantastic at all, with most of the writing being totally unremarkable and it being very predictable for fans, but it does what it sets out to do. And I found myself admiring it for that.

FNAF: The Silver Eyes follows Charlie, a girl who has just returned to her hometown of Hurricane, Utah for the memorial of one of her friends who disappeared years before. She meets up with her friends (the alive ones) and they start to reminisce. Charlie’s father was an inventor and created, what would become, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. With the restaurant now part of a derelict shopping mall, Charlie and her friends decide to go back to Fazbear’s to look around.

The novel is very simple with not much nuance at all, meaning a lot of the character moments fall flat. Charlie is definitely the best character, having the most fleshed out arc. A lot of the other characters seem rather one note. There’s Marla, Jessica, Jason, Carlton, Lamar and John – it just feels overcrowded, and some of these characters just feel too similar to one another. They cannot each have ample time to develop, so I was left not really engaging with them at all. Also, with all the names, it makes the action parts feel like a list (i.e. Jason did this, Carlton did this, and then Jessica did this). I’m not sure why all these characters were needed.

The central story of these characters mourning their friend is laid on a little too thick, but I appreciated something new being added to the FNAF universe – an emotion other than fear. Sadly The Silver Eyes undercuts its own existence by being non-canon. It’s an alternate universe novel meaning absolutely nothing can be taken from it. It’s a shame because I, like most people who pick up this book (I assume), was looking for more lore.

Actually, the prime audience for this novel might be just the audience who would never in a million years read it – people who have no knowledge of FNAF. Setting aside the video game, The Silver Eyes is a serviceable crime novel with a supernatural twist. The reveals would hit harder for someone who didn’t know the nature of the game, and some of the characters would come with no baggage surrounding them. Having absorbed a lot of FNAF lore, there were no surprises for me to find.

It all trundles along fine, until the large, blown out final act which aims to please by letting readers have a front row seat in a restaurant of horrors. However, the description of the action (as previously mentioned) is often overwritten and tedious, meaning I found it hard to wade through it all. The decided lack of deaths also meant I never felt fear for any of the characters.

FNAF: The Silver Eyes felt like a quick thrill, and will probably prove to be extremely forgettable (I give it a week) but it emulates the fear and panic of the games well enough to appeal to fans. The Silver Eyes didn’t risk much at all, and could have been a lot more, but what is there is serviceable enough.

I was also going to make a joke about a YouTuber doing a Let’s Play of this novel.

But someone actually has…


In Short…

Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes managed to surprise me by being a not-terrible video game tie-in novel. It’s not great, and it’s also rather disappointing by being non canon, but there is enough here to be sufficiently entertained. The final set-pieces are not as fun as they should be, due to boring list-like description and the characters are rather bland, but I enjoyed it for what it was. It’s rather bland ‘popcorn’ reading, but it also never aimed higher than that.




Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin Review – Flowers For Tessie

Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin Review – Flowers For Tessie


So I just finished Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin and before I started it, I was kinda worried. I have a record of not liking these mega-hyped crime novels almost every time (the most recent being Disclaimer, which earned a coveted 2/10). But with Black Eyed Susans, I was pleasantly surprised. And even though it has a hell of a lot of flaws, I found it engaging enough to carry me to the end.

Black Eyed Susans follows Tessa, a woman who was the victim of a disgustingly terrible crime when she was a teenager. She was dumped in a grave with three dead girls surrounded by black-eyed susans. Now, there is a suspect, Terrell Darcy Goodwin, behind bars on death row, a man who Tessa helped to convict, but black-eyed susans start to appear outside of her window and shadows are seen around her house. She starts to believe the real killer is still out there and with the help of lawyer Bill and pathologist Jo, she sets out to prove Terrell’s innocence.

For most of the novel, the narrative is split between Tessa in the present, and Tessie (her childhood name) in the past, as she gets therapy directly after the attack. I liked how the actual event wasn’t explored thoroughly, and Heaberlin seems more interested in the emotional upheaval such an event has on the human psyche, than blood and gore. It’s a nice way to approach the narrative, and is employed well. Tessa is haunted character and Tessie is incredibly screwed up.

Tessie isn’t an incredibly likeable character. She is a snappy teenager, who not only thinks the world is out to get her, but also has the proof. She manipulates people, emotionally attacks her doctor, and is just an all round bitch. The only grounding she has is her best friend Lydia, who seems about as stable as she is. It takes a long time for the past narrative to justify itself (nothing much happens) and it paints our main character in a different, more insipid light. In the early parts of the narrative, we are only presented with things we already know, which can be slightly too repetitive.

While the writing is generally fine, Heaberlin has a tendency not to explain herself much. The early parts of the novel were actually quite hard to get into because of this. Names, references and locations are dropped without any explanation at all, and I found myself with a hell of a lot of stuff to puzzle out. And not particularly in a good way. I was just confused.

This manifests itself later in the novel as a lack of environmental description. Tessa will show up at a random place, saying something like ‘I can’t believe I’m back here again.’ and that’s all you get for about two pages afterwards to let you know where she is. I’ve actually gone back to some of these instances to check I didn’t miss something, and I didn’t. In the present narrative, Tessa travels to a lot of places on a whim, and nine times out of ten, we don’t get any description for where she actually is. We have to piece it together from her clues. And that gets old fast.

Black Eyed Susans moves along at a fairly good pace. The events of the narrative are mostly one-note, and sometimes it feels Tessa is just along for the ride, rather than carving out a story for herself, but I found it compelling enough that I read most of the novel in a day. The one big caveat though is the ending. At the time I felt it was fine, but the more I think about it, the more it doesn’t actually make much sense. Obviously I can’t really go into it in a spoiler-free review, but I’ll just say it’s all about timings. It just all wraps up a little too conveniently. When I could see something gearing up for a rather different and more interesting final act, Heaberlin has already checked out.

Black Eyed Susans also has a very entertaining prologue. It’s basically a ‘Where Are They Now?’. All I had in my head was that it felt like an 80s teen movie where we freeze-frame on all the characters as some text appears to tell us what happened to them afterwards, as some bad pop-rock music plays. Needless to say, I couldn’t take it seriously.

Overall, Black Eyed Susans was worth the read and I did enjoy my time with it. But at the same time, there’s nothing here that’ll blow your mind and there’s definitely a few areas that are rather infuriating. So, yeah, I’m kinda torn on what to give this one. Guess we’ll all find out in about 30 seconds.

(Also, newer versions of this book correctly hyphenate the title (Black Eyed Susans to Black-Eyed Susans). If you are wondering where the hyphen in the early version went, it went into the word teenager. For some reason, Heaberlin always hyphenates teenager (teen-ager) in every delineation of the word. ??)

In Short…

Black Eyed Susans is a competent and compelling thriller, which managed to keep me invested till the end. The story of Tessa, the girl who crawled out of a grave when she was a teenager, is flawed but fun, as she starts to think the man she helped to convict isn’t her monster after all. It’s a different approach to a crime novel, but manages to fall into the exact same traps as its contemporaries. With these caveats however, Black Eyed Susans stands strong as a thriller worth your time.






Her Story Review – Oh the Dreadful Wind and Rain

Her Story Review – Oh the Dreadful Wind and Rain

I ‘played’ through Her Story on PC and encountered no issues at all.

her story 1

So straight up, this review is going to be as light on spoilers as possible…which probably means it’s going to be quite short seeing as EVERYTHING IS A SPOILER. Her Story is a ‘game’ by the creative director of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories Sam Barlow, and anyone who’s read anything on this blog before probably knows I’m a huge fan of the S’Hills (which I’m pretty sure that no one has ever referred to it as before). Needless to say, that was enough for me to jump in whole-heartedly. I was expecting something for sure, but what I didn’t think I’d find is possibly the greatest detective game ever made.

Her Story casts you (as you) as a guy (or guyette) who has been hired by South East Police to sort out their video databases. You’re looking at one case specifically – the case of a missing man named Simon who is then found dead. One woman was interviewed seven times by police. The interviews have been chopped up in segments for use in the court caseAnd it is up to you to sort the clips out – and maybe along the way find out what really happened.

her story 2

Her Story is not a game. It’s interactive media, so I guess by definition, it is. But there is no real goal to it, there is no real ending. You are driven by your own thirst for knowledge. You are the detective. That’s why this thing will not be for everyone. Some people just won’t have that desire to know or care about what happened. Which is absolutely fine.

However, for the inquisitive mind, Her Story is phenomenal. It is brilliantly crafted, every segment you view leading you into bigger, more revealing testimonies. As I sat down to ‘play’ it, I started off lost. I was searching random words, and didn’t find any pattern in what the woman was saying. And then, about two hours in, something just clicked. I began to understand.

‘Her Story makes you work for the big moments and when they come, they’re as bold and as brilliant as they are earned.’

I would urge everyone who is even slightly interested to give it two hours. The truth of Her Story is hard to find, the breadcrumb trail obscured by information that seems not relevant and random. Hey, being a crime writer, I’m going to say that’s a lot like a real investigation. Once you start finding the truth, Her Story reveals its hand. Her Story makes you work for the big moments and when they come, they as bold and as brilliant as they are earned.

Her Story had me audibly exclaiming, it had me wide-eyed with hand over mouth, it had me lost for words. And at the end of it all, I felt not only satisfied but a little bit chuffed that I had been able to piece it together. Since completing it, I’ve looked on the net and found out that I was totally right (or at least what I think is what other people think too).

That’s really all I can say without going in to more. Maybe I’ll do a spoiler discussion thing another time. But even if not, Her Story will be discussed at length for GOTY stuff.

Her Story gets 5/5.