Do you live in Dublin? Do you like horror stories? Or do you simply love a tale well-told?
Then I encourage you to go into Eason's on O'Connell Street and buy a copy of The Devil's Hoof: A Gothic Tale by Jonathan Barry. It's available in the new titles section on the ground floor, and in the horror section downstairs.
Full disclosure; Jonathan Barry is a friend of mine. He's also the founder of the horror club of which I am proud to be a member. But I can guarantee you that the book is a gripping and satisfying read!
The novel draws on the real-life history of the Hell Fire Club, an infamous gentleman's club of the eighteenth century, located in the Dublin mountains. A huge amount of research went into getting the period detail just right, and it shows.
This is a real old-fashioned gothic tale, with all the properties fans of the genre love; mists, wolves, suspicious locals, mysterious deaths, rumours of devil-worship, a comely landlord's daughter, and so on. However, don't get the idea that this book is as cosy and safe as a warm bath...a few scenes in The Devil's Hoof gave me a genuine shock, and I'm a seasoned horror reader.
On the whole, however, it's the kind of slow-burning spooky story, building to a satisfying climax, that is all too rare in an era when the horror genre is full of hip, sexy vampires and ass-kicking Valley Girls.
Jonathan Barry is also an artist of considerable experience, and the cover illustration is his own.
So go buy The Devil's Hoof. You won't regret it!