Tag Archives: john f.d. taff

Review of “The Bell Witch” by John F.D. Taff

The Bell WitchThe Bell Witch by John F.D. Taff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

John F.D. Taff once again weaves a delicate, complex tapestry of words that unfolds into a glorious work of art, in a style that is uniquely and unmistakably his own brand of storytelling.
The original legend of The Bell Witch is a true American horror story, and rather than tell you about it here, I advise the reader to source other books if they wish to research the historical documented case, something which John Taff himself did before fictionalising the event in this remarkable book.
The story that John Taff regales us with here is not actually a ghost story, as the entity, the Witch herself, states that she has never lived or died, and therefore can not be considered to be a ghost.
Although the Witch exhibits behavioural patterns akin to those of a poltergeist, it soon becomes clear that there is a much deeper purpose behind her violence towards Jack Bell and his daughter, Betsy, though other members of the Bell family suffer to a much lesser extent at the hands of the sometimes vengeful, sometimes playful entity.
Rather than the book just being about the Bell family and the effects that the Witch has on the Bells, the Witch is brought into the heart of the book as a major character that interacts with members of the local community, holding conversations with them and singing in church, and such. The dialogue throughout is masterfully written, and totally believable.
I offer no spoilers here at all. The Bell Witch is a story with a very dark theme indeed; it is a mystery that is unfolded to great satisfaction as the story progresses, it is sprinkled with well-timed elements of humour, and the consequences of the Witch’s insertion into the life of the Bell family changes the lives of all who come into contact with her.
Once again, John F.D. Taff shows us that he is a true master of his craft, and I cannot recommend this book enough.

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It’s all go around here!

Busy as a...errr, Barbary macaque.

Busy as a…errr, Barbary macaque. Photo my me, during my visit to Trentham Monkey Forest on July 29th 2013.

It’s been fantastic in the two and a half weeks since Darke Times and Other Stories hit the virtual shelves. I’m beginning to get reviews, and what’s most awesome is that they are ALL five star reviews! My thanks to all who have not only had the good judgement to buy my book, but to have taken the time to write wonderful, glowing reviews. It is so good to know that my work is being read, enjoyed and truly appreciated.

On the back of this, Ive had the good fortune to guest blog for the wonderful John F.D. Taff, a man who writes the most amazing horror stories, and if you’ve not read anything by him, you must remedy that immediately!

Next on the list for me is a guest blog on Royal Manaball, the blog of the author M.C. O’Neill, writer of the YA saga, The Ancients and the Angels. That will be appearing later this evening, mainly because he’s in Illinois and I’m in the UK. It’s a great, informative read, and you’ll definitely learn a few things about me that you didn’t already know.

After that, in a few weeks’ time, I’ll be revisiting the blog of Editor and author Colleen M. Albert at C.M. Albert Writes for a follow-up interview to the Q and A I had with her in March, so look out for that, won’t you?

And then there’s more writing to do, of course! My head is filled with lots of disturbing stuff at the moment, so you can expect some really dark fare from me in the future. Stay tuned, folks!

 

5-star reviews and a guest blogger invitation!

In the 8 days that my book, Darke Times and Other Stories has been available, I have had the good fortune to sell books (though I have no idea just how many), receive glowing 5-star reviews, and on the back of one of the reviews the reviewer invited me to be a guest blogger on his blog!

M.C. O’Neill, author of The Ancients and the Angels series of YA novels, Celestials and Archons awarded my book 5 stars on Amazon.com and had this to say:

I love anthologies and collections because they introduce me to new authors. “Darke Times” is no exception. When you delve into this collection’s pages, you really get what you pay for: a wonderful variety show of the bizarre. David Eccles can handle any genre thrown at him with hilarious skill. Some of the stories range from horror, fantasy, sci-fi, erotica – you get it all but his dry (and sometimes wet) wit will guarantee laughter.

I enjoy how his short stories are punctuated with flash-fiction treasures that operate almost like a commercial, but one that you would actually want to watch. “Teeth” sticks out in my mind. You’ll see what I mean when you read it.

Although I’m a yank, Eccles’ language is decisively British, and think Terry Pratchett more so than Neil Gaiman, but a Pratchett that goes to places he would normally not dare. LOVE IT!

It looks great on the Kindle with sharp formatting and beautiful cover design and you get everything the package advertises plus more.

I can’t wait to see what kind of full-length novels are going to come out of this guy’s brain in the future. I’m guessing horror or even Bizarro – and these stories are ALL bizarre – but whatever they may be, I am now a fan.

John F.D. Taff, the horror author and a man responsible for over 65 short stories and 7 novels was the very first person to review my book, and if I know John, he was probably the first to buy it too! He too awarded my book 5 stars on Amazon.com and said:

David Eccles’ first published book of short stories, Darke Times and Other Stories, is a wide-ranging look at this new author’s range of work. From flash fiction pieces like “The Teeth Police”–a short, funny and horrifying little jab of a story–to “Jack & Jill (and Steve!)”–a funny little riff on Jack the Ripper and time travel–to the titular “Darke Times”–a tale of a Rastafarian pixie who really, really wants to get to the football match–Eccles imbues his stories with a rakish wit and a firm hand. Even when they’re quite clearly horror, there’s an edge of comedy to them which makes the tales stand out. Grab it now and give it a try, because Eccles’s name is one you’ll be hearing.

To have two fantastic authors, each respected in their own genres heap praise on me like that was just the most amazing feeling, and still the 5-star reviews keep on coming! But wait! It gets better!

As I mentioned earlier, one of my reviewers invited me to do a guest blog on their website. That reviewer was none other than John F.D. Taff. John wanted to know more about  me, and about how and why I write and, of course, he gave me the opportunity to mention Darke Times and Other Stories. What a wonderful way to show his appreciation of my book and my writing talents! How could I refuse such a generous gesture! It’s guys like John and James Roy Daley and James Ward Kirk who have seen something in me and in the way that I write and have given me the chance to show what I can do, and I am eternally grateful to them and anyone who is gracious enough to show their support.

Show John your support and visit johnfdtaff.com

To see the blog that I wrote for John on July 18th, click here.