West Quarry Farm reviews
on amazon and goodreads
J. Saman's review
Mar 16, 2017
This book had me ensnared from the very first page and wouldn't let me go until the last. I don't usually read books in this genre, but I was so glad I read this one. I was scared. Seriously, terrified in some parts of this book. I found myself literally yelling at the characters not to do certain things.
James Sillwoods artfully wrote an exciting thriller that was so perfectly creepy that I couldn't help but love it.
We follow Rebecca and Mel, two fascinating main characters who have relatable issues and pasts and were simply more than just the stupid female in the horror situation. Or maybe I've just seen too many bad movies. The book is set in Brighton, and I loved getting a glimpse into that world. The violence was detailed, but not to the point where I felt turned off by it.
Overall, if you're fan of well written thrillers this is absolutely the book for you.
Sara Claridge's review
Feb 14, 2017
I’m not sure if it’s the mundaneness of Rebecca’s life that brings a chilling eeriness to some scenes or the thought of what Phil might be capable of, but West Quarry Farm definitely makes for uncomfortable reading (in a good way!). Twice I jumped while reading the book, even when I was expecting something to happen the second time.
The story and building tension kept the pages turning and brought a wry smile to my lips with the ending. The author has the knack of luring you into one scene, only for it to change and for all not to be quite as it seems. Definitely a recommended read for fans of Minette Walters.
Barry Blokes's review
Feb 22, 2017
This is a good thriller. We start with the fantastic description of a scene that highlights some of the skills this author brings to the table, and immediately sends a chill up your spine. The characters are crafted well, the plot and the idea are intense, and the author does a great job taking you through his tale of a serial killer, his dimwitted accomplice, a damaged mother, and a chance meeting that will keep you turning the pages. Some parts of the tale seemed a little redundant and frustrating, but this helped add to the characterization and the like/dislike of characters and choices made in the plot so it may have been intentional. I liked that the author did not hold back in some of the scenes, the descriptive dialogue and vivid imagery added to the intensity and kept the story moving nicely. I am not going to include any spoilers, but there were a couple pieces that I felt were missing, or could have been expanded upon, to add to the overall experience. I would have liked to see more of the backstory with Mel and her daughter, and the interaction between Rebecca and Phil was intense, but I just felt it could have had a bit more. I did like that the author used common problems and frustrations (that many readers can identify with) as a base to help build empathy for the victims, and the necessary distrust and dislike of the charming sociopath. Overall, this was an intriguing tale, full of suspense and definitely worth a read.
N. Sapkota's review
Feb 15, 2017
A monstrous man walks among the innocent people of Brighton, UK. He blends with them and entices his victims and keeps score. A seemingly normal but emotionally troubled adventure-seeking housewife almost falls in his trap.
This Novel begins with a great story-line and grabs your attention from the get-go. You almost start to wonder if it can deliver what you expect after reading the first few chapters. However, I am glad to tell you that this novel definitely delivers. It is intriguing and exciting to the end. The author has been successful in bringing all the characters to life. After reading a few chapters, you can definitely “see” those characters in your mind. As the story unfolds, you even start to give them distinct faces.
The gruesome murder and violence may be turn-off for some people but it was well woven to the story. You feel for the victims and turn the page looking for justice.
The book is well worth your time if you like murder thriller books. It is definitely a page turner.
Warren Pete's review
Feb 05, 2017
James Sillwood’s horrifying tale, West Quarry Farms, establishes itself as a suspenseful, dark, gritty story from the get go. At its core, West Quarry Farms follows two women. Mel is a mother who will stop at nothing to avenge harm done to a loved one. Rebecca struggles with the pitfalls of being a housewife who has business aspirations. Both these women become involved with a an equally dangerous and seductive killer – one as the predator and one as the prey.
I particularly enjoyed the insight into Rebecca’s perceived horror of boredom and neglect while actual horror crept in on her. Sillwood has an eye for suburban struggles, and this observation paired with his sense of suspense resulted in an exciting book that perhaps led to a bit of a foreseen conclusion. For my personal reading preference, I felt the story to be a bit too streamlined. I would have appreciated more connective tissue between key story points and character motives.
West Quarry Farms succeeds largely in painting familiar settings and characters that are both real and flawed to add to the horror because this is something that could happen in a worst-case scenario. For me, I’m not too bothered by the paranormal or fantastical suspense pieces, it’s the stories that hit close to home, like West Quarry Farms, that can do real damage.
I was given a copy of this novel in exchange for a voluntary, fair, and honest review.
Annabelle Costa's review
Jan 28, 2017
This book started out with a gruesome beginning that immediately drew me in. I loved the character of Rebecca, the neglected housewife. OK, she didn't always make the best decisions, but I think that was part of what kept me reading! I also loved Mel's character.
Usually I don't like books with detailed descriptions of violence, but I felt this was skillfully done. I liked that we got Phil's point of view, which I thought really added to the creepy atmosphere. All in all, it was hard to stop reading this one!
Susan Day's review
Jan 18, 2017
West Quarry Farm is a very exciting read!
I really identified with the main character, Mel. I am almost the same age, and have the same issues. I felt myself being pulled into this drama as if the events were happening to me.
This is a skillfully woven tale that sets the bar high. Let’s face it when a story begins at an old farms where pigs are slaughtered, shivers are bound to creep up your back! And, as soon as you begin reading the first chapter they never quite leave.
I enjoyed the everyday way the author explained the more gruesome acts of violence carried out in the book because they made them seem more real. I could imagine the killer thinking in that detached, unsympathetic way. The lack of sensationalism made this book much more powerful and believable.
Certainly worth a read, that’s for sure.
R.D. Stones's review
Jan 09, 2017
I found this book to be sort of bland and hard for me to pay attention to, but I think that’s because it’s not really the type of thing I go for and other people would probably enjoy it more than me. It lacked a certain intensity and emotional impact that I look for, but I am someone who has a very high tolerance for drama.
The writing is very clean, clear, concise and plain. The characters are well put together. The dialogue is good and realistic. I was most impressed by Sillwood’s ability to write women very convincingly, and at the same time I found that I would have liked a little more focus on male characters as well. That’s the main reason why I think someone else would enjoy this book more than me. The crime was believable and seemed like something that could really happen. The few action scenes seemed hastily thrown together and unrealistic to me, but I’m extremely picky about the details of action scenes. Even James Bond’s action scenes in books disappoint me a lot of times. I liked the villain. Not that I liked him as a person, but as a villain he was good. I’d like to praise certain aspects of the villain more but I don’t want to spoil it for someone who hasn’t read it yet. To me the best parts were the interactions between the villain and the protagonist. Everything in the plot added up and I didn’t see any loose ends or inconsistencies. It was a complete world.
I give it three stars because to me five is an absolute masterpiece, four is a slightly lesser masterpiece, and three is a good book that’s not really for me, but somebody else would definitely like it a lot more.
J.B. Trepagnier's review
Jan 07, 2017
This is a great thriller novel. It follow two women, Rebecca and Mel, and a killer.
I kind of wanted to see a little more Mel as she stalked the killer, but it was interesting to read about Rebecca as she gets ensnared by this predator. You kind of want to sit there screaming DON'T DO THAT like you do in horror movies when they go in the basement.
The author did a great job of setting the scene in Brighton, where the novel takes place. I only would have liked to have seen more of Mel and gotten more back store with what happened to her daughter, Jasmine.
Jay Saph's review
Dec 20, 2016
I found this book quite entertaining, well written and moved through it quite quickly. It's mainly about a woman named Rebecca who lives in the Brighton area, UK with her young daughter and husband, Jason. The author does a great job of capturing the goings on of Rebecca's life showing the reader her boredom, and frustration. Rebecca is probably in a similar situation to many mothers, trying to earn a bit of extra cash, keep her husband happy and interested. She rushes about to manage the daily activities of her child. But things are a little out of the ordinary when Rebecca receives strange emails and crosses path with Phil, the photographer. I of course won't spoil the plot but West Quarry Farm was sufficiently interesting to keep me turning pages (and have a chuckle a few times). I did think the story wobbled every so slightly when another character's view point was introduced at Chapter 12. It felt a little bit late to me. Also the ending wasn't really surprising and could have been more. Sillwood has good powers of observation and can easily introduce an erotic, titillating flair to his writing. However, I think some energy began to wane from about 80% onwards. Nevertheless - worth a read.
K.C. Willivee's review
Dec 10, 2016
If you want warm fuzzies when you read, pass this by-but if you're looking for cold chills, snap it up! From the very first chilling pages, this is a work designed to disturb, and it does so admirably. Clive or Phil or Tig, or whatever other alias he might choose, is a fully evil human being, reveling in torture, sexual assault, and murder as well as the comparatively more mundane crimes of fraud and drug dealing. The heroines, strangers brought together because of coming into Phil’s orbit, are both deeply flawed individuals who struggle with their poor decisions and unhealthy appetites. But it is these flaws that make them such ideal underdogs, at first glance no match for their sadistically seductive adversary. I couldn't make myself like any of the characters, but that didn't diminish this book's readability. The evil exploits are nicely balanced by descriptions of more prosaic problems like a marriage’s decay and childrearing’s burdens. There are some loose ends that aren’t tied up, and a subplot about a stalker that lacks the intensity and conviction of the main storyline. Still, this was a fast-paced and entertaining read.
Intriguing suspense thriller
By Jessica Jesinghaus on November 30, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
The opening chapter of West Quarry Farm was eerie and captivating, a perfect launchpad for what would prove to be an interesting tale. At its heart, it's a story about two women: one seeking escape from her boring housewife life, and the other seeking justice against the man who assaulted her daughter. Between these two women is a killer, a chameleon who manages to beguile all those around him.
I liked the intersecting story lines, seeing things from inside all three character's heads. And it was a tight plot without too many extraneous story points. That said, I could've used just a little more explanation on a few items: What, precisely, did our villain do to Mel's daughter and how did she escape his murderous clutches? Who is the assistant who so willingly (almost cheerfully) performs cleanup and body disposal in the first chapter? How did he become our villain's right-hand man and what does he get out of the arrangement? Even without knowing these, the story holds your attention. In the scheme of things, they don't really matter, but if you like things extra tidy then these omissions might stick in your craw.
As an objective reader, you get to watch Rebecca, the bored and neglected housewife, as she is drawn in by the killer. If you're anything like me, you'll be yelling at her and telling her to stop being such a sod, to flip on her smart-girl switch, while secretly hoping she doesn't just so you can see where the story goes. (So, yeah... I'm a little devious at the expense of the occasional fictional character. Not gonna apologize.)
I'm settling on a solid 4 stars. It's an entertaining read with a believable, despicable bad guy. Suspense and thriller fans should enjoy it, no doubt!
**I received a copy of this book from the author which I then chose to voluntarily review**