Reviews

AMAZON REVIEWS AND OTHERS

NORTHMAN

Author’s Note: This is  a selection of 4/5 star reviews. I’m proud to have received them. Thanks to all who left a review – even those who didn’t like it!

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“After reading The 500 I knew I wanted to read more from this author and I wasn’t disappointed. NORTHMAN is a great supernatural thriller, intelligent writing and the historical elements were superb. Its thrilling, romantic, funny and scary. If you want to read a good supernatural thriller then this is for you. loved it.” Rebecca
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“A tense supernatural thriller steeped in history with some interesting perspectives on life, existence and the meaning of it all. This is a whole lot more than your average 21st Century supernatural novel; it has far more meat to its bones, no pun intended. Some very unexpected events and twists will leave you wondering just what is really happening and how in the hell it will all end up. Or perhaps whereabouts in hell. You’ll get attached to the characters and follow them into the madness hoping they’ll survive. A very good read and worth picking up by the fireside on these cold winter evenings. If you dare with so little daylight to chase away the Northman when he comes for you.” Juliet
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“Wow! Stunning! I never say ‘Wow’ or ‘Stunning’. Northman is terrifying, darkly moving but occasionally fall-about funny. An epic thriller bordering on the literary – but without the tedium – that’s as good as Stephen King at his best and better than most literary authors I’ve read. LISA T. starstarstarstarstar

“The historical parts of this book are some of the best written I’ve ever seen by anybody and I’ve waded through a LOT of historical novels. In one scene, the description of a fading Hollywood soap star and how one of  the protagonists deal with her is both hilarious and deeply felt, but there were numerous scenes that played the scales on my emotions without ever feeling false or as if the writer were trying for effect. The horrific parts were truly horrific and I will remember them forever, but the lyrical almost poetic writing left as big an impression. Yes, I know I’m gushing, but I couldn’t find fault and I have a PhD in finding fault.  The plot is ingenious and deals with all the massive questions, offering a left field perspective on the ‘meaning of life’ and the fight between good and evil.” starstarstarstarstar

“This should be a movie with Johnny Depp as Michael and me as Kate (in my dreams!) If I could give it six stars I would. Magnificent!” starstarstarstarstar

“I followed J.D. Hughes’s blog after reading one of his short stories called Bomber, a great little story. I knew he was a good writer, but no idea he was this good. I bought this one for my wife for Christmas because the horror supernatural stuff is to her taste, but I started reading it and couldn’t put it down. I like John Le Carre spy stories usually. Northman isn’t like most of my wife’s books. There are some really nasty bits and a some sexual content in it, but all the twists make it more like Grisham or Patterson but with that supernatural edge. I honestly had no idea how it was going to end and it came as a real surprise.”

Highly recommended. MARK
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“A brilliant book with superbly developed characters, dialogue and scene settings. Hughes is clearly a very talented writer with a fantastic imagination and literary eye for what the reader wants. A scarily good thriller that deserves a place on your Kindle. I could easily see this being turned into a film and what a great film it would make.”MICHAEL DIACK
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“Brilliant but not for the faint-hearted: Phew! this book has so many threads, twists, turns and themes. The prose reminds me of Ernest Hemingway, John Masters and other writers of the first half of the 20th century, while the explorations of life’s meanings brought to mind Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. But this isn’t a book that relies on ideas from other sources – it’s unique in presentation and written by what I can only describe as a master story teller. To add to that, the prose passages are often beautiful and moving. You don’t need me to tell you the plot as you’ve read the blurb and look inside (haven’t you?!): instead I’ll urge everyone to read this gem of a book. It kept me riveted for days.

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FLICK MERAULD

What do you write after you’ve written this?, 16 Jan 2013 Terry Tyler

“GOSH! I hope Mr Hughes is proud of this, because he should be!
I’ve never read a horror/supernatural/thriller book before, at least, not for years and years – it’s not a genre that interests me at all, but I am hugely interested in all things Viking, and I thought the title and cover were terrific! Also, I had already read a short story by Hughes, so I knew he could write.

The beginning of the book is excellent, but it was the last 30% that I liked the best, and the ending is stunning, something I hadn’t predicted at all – isn’t it great when that happens? A weak ending can, for me, take a book down from 4/5 stars to 3/4, but this ending took it up a notch! I loved the Dark Ages historical element to the whole of the last section.

Other things I really liked – the sudden introduction of minor characters, giving cameo appearances in order to illustrate something. That’s a literary device I use myself as I find it very effective, and I certainly did here. Also: the descriptions of the sociological state of England, the sometimes very funny dialogue (“Strange chap. Should have been a philosopher, you know. Or a serial killer”). My favourite part of all was a long scene with archaeological assistant Martin, and pilot Peterson, at about 70%, but I can’t say what it is here, because it would spoil the plot. Can I just say that I adore anything to do with time travel? Brilliantly done, I read it several times.

I imagine other reviews have or will say that this should be made into a film. I don’t think it should be made into a film so much as a BBC serial – about 10 episodes, I think!

I can’t say anything too much about how the story ends, because it would give away the whole point of it, but I’ll say that if you love the idea of going back to change the past, little realising the impact this will have on the future, then Northman is for you!

It’s not an ‘easy read’, but it’s worth it. And I’ll say it again – what on earth is JD going to write after this? I wait in wonder!”

B.A. Spicer rated it 4 of 5 stars starstarstarstar

Where to start? Northman is one of the most ambitious books I’ve ever come across. It reminds me of Stephen King’s writing, dealing with real, gritty, sometimes hilarious characters pitched against the unrelenting supernatural forces of evil. (Don’t want to give anything away). There is historical interest too, which added yet another dimension.

The characters are convincing, although I admit that I did skim a little when the conversation got a little too developed and held up the flow of the sto…more””””Where to start? Northman is one of the most ambitious books I’ve ever come across. It reminds me of Stephen King’s writing, dealing with real, gritty, sometimes hilarious characters pitched against the unrelenting supernatural forces of evil. (Don’t want to give anything away). There is historical interest too, which added yet another dimension.

The characters are convincing, although I admit that I did skim a little when the conversation got a little too developed and held up the flow of the story.

The plot was, at all times, a driving force. I always looked forward to switching on my kindle and finding out what would happen next as the author intertwined the totally unpredictable fates of his characters. As many people have mentioned, the latter part of the book moves to a different level. The story builds to a sustained and intricate denouement that comes in waves of exciting action and beautifully observed description.

Northman is outside my preferred genre, but I read it because I was impressed by the amazing reviews. If you like this genre, the book will definitely blow you away. 

Paula Cappa rated it 5 of 5 stars starstarstarstarstar

“I just finished Northman. This is a riveting debut novel. I’m not one for a lot of violence and even though this has some rather raw scenes, they are written well. The multiple story lines are rich and fast moving. Lots of twists and turns–-great fun. The characters breathed on the page and that for me is critical. Northman is a powerful tale and carries the suspense right to the end. Very exciting. All the best, JD. Five stars. Supernatural thrillers are my favorite.”

Scott Whitmore rated it 4 of 5 stars starstarstarstar

With multiple storylines, exciting and often brutal action scenes, romance, frights, real laughs and some surprising twists en route to a “wait, what?” conclusion, Northman author J.D. Hughes (@JDHughes4) has created a modern horror novel of depth and emotion.

The story begins in 843 AD with a bloody Viking raid on the coast of England and then shifts to a German bombing raid during World War II before arriving at the present day. Shortly after the tomb of a cursed Viking warrior will be discover…more””””With multiple storylines, exciting and often brutal action scenes, romance, frights, real laughs and some surprising twists en route to a “wait, what?” conclusion, Northman author J.D. Hughes (@JDHughes4) has created a modern horror novel of depth and emotion.

The story begins in 843 AD with a bloody Viking raid on the coast of England and then shifts to a German bombing raid during World War II before arriving at the present day. Shortly after the tomb of a cursed Viking warrior will be discovered, and like a line of dominos set on end, one event begins to topple into the next. To say more would be to spoil the telling for new readers.

The characters are well-defined and realistic, each bearing emotional scars that are vitally important to the overall plot which is at the bottom a look at the battle of good versus evil. Religion, politics, popular entertainment, raising children, growing old, loneliness, guilt, jealousy and gender roles are topics which this thought-provoking novel pulls out of the shadows of thought and examines within the context of the overall narrative.

Don’t worry: this is no dry college text. Hughes deals with these various streams of thought in the most natural way possible — through his characters as they interact and go about their business while an unimaginable evil develops around them. I give the author credit for not simply writing — for lack of a better term — a by-the-numbers horror story (creature created, buried, discovered, fought, defeated) and instead delving deeply into these complex topics, which are very often at the root of what scares us most.

Although the story slows down a bit in the middle — please note I did *not* say ‘drags’ — it picks back up soon enough and the reader will be frantically flipping pages to find out how the story ends. And the ending isn’t the ending, per se, as you’ll find out when you get there. (hint: fairly big twist).

Mr. Hughes has written several short stories/novellas, but Northman is his first full-length novel. I dearly hope it won’t be his last. To learn more about the author and his work, visit his blog: www.jdhugheswriter.wordpress.com.

5 star SciFiMagpie “Michelle Browne”See all my reviews

This is going on my top 10 of 2013 for sure.
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I have to mention the gorgeous prose. The author tackles difficult subject matter and makes it work. It was unpredictable and dark and daring and wonderful. The characters are sprawling and well realized and the historical bits are excellent. The whole thing is marvellous and I loved it!

To be balanced, I have to mention a few stray grammar and punctuation blips–nothing serious–and that thw ending is a bit baffling and expository.

Still. This is a gorgeous and incredible book. I can hardly wait to reread it.

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ISSUE 49

Review by: Earlene Brittingham  on April 06, 2012:  starstarstarstarstar   I thought it was a great story!  There was just something so matter of fact about the narrative, that the shock sneaked up on me!  The “voice” I was hearing up til then was complacent and slightly pleasant. I went back, re-read the last 2 pages, and substituted another “voice” for effect; didn’t work to make me as uncomfortable as that very sane, cheerful narration!  Tobias was a hoot, but Trisha was awesome.

Review by: Danny Culpepper  on March 25, 2012 : starstarstarstarstar  I enjoyed this very much. It was wicked and sick and horrific. It was also funny in a restrained-British way. I got a little confused at the end, but then I think I was meant to be confused. I enjoyed the character build-up of Tobias.

Review by: RW Bausch  on Jan. 02, 2012 :  (no rating) Weird story! I’ve no idea about the significance of Billy Bunter either, but he’s probably like my childhood comic book heroes. It’s a bit horrific at the end, but is very well written and worth reading. A cut above some of the short stories I’ve hsd on Smashwords.

Review by: Jez  on Dec. 31, 2011: starstarstarstarstar Never heard of Billy Bunter before, but issue 49 is a good read. You have to feel sorry for Tobias but not a lot! He reminds me of my boss 🙂 Good stuff.

Review by: Mark Gandolfi on Dec. 30, 2011 :  starstarstarstarstar This is a great short with restrained writing, always a plus for me. Horror is always best served in small doses and coupled with pathos, makes for powerful storytelling. JD Hughes does that very well.

Review by: Lisa Tobin  on Dec. 29, 2011 :  starstarstarstarstar  What to say about Issue 49? I could heap superlatives on it, say how much it reminded me of H.P. Lovecraft – one of my favorite authors – or even compare it to Stephen King, but it is one of those quirky, horrifying but very funny stories that stays in the mind long after the Kindle or Kobo has been put down. It is also sad and leaves the reader with mixed feelings about the hero. Like this writer’s other short stories I have read it leaves the reader wanting more. I will be watching out for other titles. Recommended.

Other Reviews: AskDavid

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