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The Exeter Incident

The Exeter Incident by David Watkins from D&T Publishing #BookReview #Indiepublishing #Horror

The Exeter Incident by David Watkins

D&T Publishing, pb, £12.61

Reviewed by Sarah Deeming

The front cover for The Exeter Incident by David Watkins. There is a person in a tunnel. In the upper left hand corner is the tunnel exit and bright light coming from it. The person in the tunnel has a long tail curling around their legs.

Something evil lurks under Exeter. It has been years since these dark creatures have walked the surface, but now Father feels the time is right to resurface and take over the world.

Detectives Danni Brent and John Carter are put on the case of some gruesome murders that seem completely unrelated except for key aspects of the murders that are too obscure to be a coincidence. The further into their investigation they go, the more they begin to believe the impossible – that the murders are committed by something inhuman.

As human and evil collide, the bodies pile up on both sides as the creatures realise humans are not as indefensible and weak as previously thought, and the humans’ confidence in everything they thought they knew is rocked to the core. Desperation heightens the stakes as Father cuts off Exeter with a shield that destroys anyone who touches it. Will any human make it out alive?

Most often, books come in for review with lots of hype and fanfare. Big publishing companies and big-named authors tell you how amazing the book is and with a strong online promotion. Then sometimes, the author reaches out with a polite request for you to review their book if you don’t mind. That’s how The Exeter Incident landed in my TBR pile. Quiet, unassuming and without the fanfare this book richly deserves.

Where to start. The story is told in two parts, the human point of view, which moves through a group of key characters and demon-like creatures, so we get both sides of the story. This works for the reader because we know what’s coming and how underprepared the humans are for handling it. It raises the tension throughout the book and makes it really difficult to put down. The Exeter Incident is also cleanly written, something horror always benefits from.

The story is also broken down into very short chunks. Do not be intimidated by the number of chapters (over 100) because the story is told in real time, meaning it is fast-paced and breathless. Once the action starts, it doesn’t stop. It is relentless in tragedy and horror. No character is safe, and Watkins gives us a full range of believable deaths. What do I mean by that? Well, certainly, people die because of the creatures and their powers that we can’t comprehend, but there are other deaths as well. Bleeding out or unfit people having heart attacks, it’s all covered, and for me, someone who appreciates this sort of thing, it brought an extra element of realism.

I particularly enjoyed the scenes through Exeter itself after Father has thrown up a large shield around the city that disintegrates anyone who touches it. The human survivors are sneaking through a city brought to life by the author’s intimate knowledge of the landscape. I was there with them as Watkin’s has intimate knowledge of the area and brings that into play here.

The Exeter Incident is a perfect example of independent publishing at its best and well worth investing your money in. Highly recommended.

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