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7 Days in Hell

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Nestled between counties Limerick and Cork in Southern Ireland, something evil lurks in the place of High Death.
When Vicky’s boss offers her a free vacation in a self-catering cottage over Halloween break, she jumps at the chance to spend quality time with her twin sister, Irene, and Irene’s miniature schnauzer, Ronnie.
The village of Basard may boast Ireland’s longest running Halloween celebration, and one of the country’s best preserved standing stone circles, but Vicky finds the place rather dead. What’s more, she can’t sleep for the nightly roars of a distant crowd.
Will the twins survive this Halloween vacation to wake the dead, when their 7 days in paradise turns into 7 Days in Hell?

286 pages, Kindle Edition

Published June 3, 2020

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About the author

Iseult Murphy

24 books106 followers
Iseult Murphy started writing at a young age, entertaining her family with magazines that she wrote and illustrated as a child. In her teens, she won several local and national short story competitions, including three time overall winner of the RDS Young Science Writers competition, and had work placed in international writing competitions such as the BBC Wildlife Poetry competition.
Iseult is drawn to horror, fantasy and science fiction, as she feels that the most difficult aspects of life can be best explored through the lens of speculative fiction.
She currently resides on the east coast of Ireland with four dogs, a couple of humans and a cat. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, art and spending time with her animals.
Iseult’s speculative fiction short stories have appeared in over two dozen venues, most recently in Liquid Imagination and Frost Fire Worlds.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 40 reviews
Profile Image for CYIReadBooks (Claire).
565 reviews83 followers
March 13, 2021
Perhaps my expectations were too high with 7 Days in Hell. The title was catchy but the content fell short of what I expected to be a spine-chilling novel. I'm not new to the horror genre so I probably was a little biased inasmuch as I love the writings of George Romero and Stephen King. That being said, 7 Days in Hell was somewhat of a disappointment.

I can't divulge the plot without giving away the story. But if you read the description, it should give you at least a hint of what to expect.

If you are new to the horror genre, then this book should give you the scare that you want and/or crave. For me, however, it was an okay two star read.

I received a digital copy of the book from Blackthorn Book Tours. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.
Profile Image for Leona.
51 reviews7 followers
April 4, 2021
In the days coming up to Halloween, twins Vicky and Irene Murtagh, as well as Irene's little schnauzer Ronnie, journey to the countryside of Southern Ireland for a getaway holiday. They end up staying in the village of Basard which at first looks like a sleepy little town with no internet connection and not much else to do. But then there's the town's strange pagan history, the sounds of distant crowds at night and the unnerving behaviour of some townsfolk.

I don't want to say too much else about the plot because I don't want to spoil anything. But once this story picks up, it never really stops. There is an ensemble of characters who I found myself wanting to know more about. The Brennans in particular!

I loved the relationship between the two sisters. It was a well written and believable siblingship. Despite being polar opposites and the occasional spat, Vicky and Irene are each other's allies. They're family and they love each other. I also loved the dog, Ronnie, because who doesn't love a miniature schnauzer. 

Another aspect I loved was the Irish colloquialisms, being Irish myself. I've read plenty of stories set in Ireland, that don't read like they're set in Ireland. I really enjoyed the author's use of some Irish sayings. I loved the setting of this book. The way the author described the town of Basard made me think of all the little out of the way Irish towns that I've visited (although my journeys never turned out the way Vicky and Irene's did).

This is the first book of what will be a series and I actually cannot wait to read the next installment. I want to see more of the story's villain who in all honesty was horrifying. That character's backstory is one I would definitely like to see delved into in the next installments. I felt like in this book, you get a glimpse of how evil they are but I would like to see how they got to that point.

I will give a trigger warning for violence particularly toward animals and children.
I received a copy of this book from Blackthorn Book Tours with a request for an honest review.
Profile Image for Hail Hydra! ~Dave Anderson~.
167 reviews52 followers
December 12, 2020
“He allows us to perpetrate the most hideous crimes. Genocide, abortion, corruption of the innocent. The gift of free will allows us to choose between the path of good or evil, there is no middle ground. It’s not God’s allowance of evil that is mystifying, but His mercy and forgiveness. You must never forget that Vicky. Don’t let the evils of the world turn you away from the path of light.”
Profile Image for Grant Price.
Author 3 books39 followers
April 3, 2021
I loved this. I have a Coetzee novel on the go as well, but 7 Days in Hell was the book I always reached for in the evening, because it was fun and assured without being pretentious. Murphy knows exactly what she's doing and where she wants to take the reader. I don't know much about horror in literature, to be honest, at least outside of 19th-century stuff like Poe, Shelley and Stoker. If this is the standard, then I'll keep reading.

What this novel does especially well is lull you into a false sense of security over the first handful of chapters. It's all so quotidian. Yes, there are a few indications that things aren't what they seem in the village of Basard, but the protagonists - Vicky and Irene - are so wholesome, as is the American family they are staying next door to, that I honestly thought this would end up being more of a psychological horror story along the lines of The Turn of the Screw than the gruesome, high-octane death festival into which it evolves. I mean, there's a loveable dog, which is usually an indication that things probably aren't going to spiral too much out of control before the end. BUT I WAS WRONG. From the moment Vicky decides oh-hey-let's-go-investigate-that-chanting-in-the-field, the narrative didn't let up. Death after death after death, all in novel ways that had me thinking of some of the stronger passages in American Psycho. And the fact that Murphy sticks with it through to the end (there's no "it was all a dream / the spell is broken" cop-out here) makes it all the more rewarding - she trusts the reader to deal with the emotional highs and lows on their own.

Bonus points for: being set in deepest Ireland. It was a refreshing change of pace, at least for me. I loved the sprinkling of local dialect in the dialogue. More bonus points for: making Father McBride into a cross-wielding badass. The fact that he doesn't appear (at least as a main character) until the halfway mark makes it all the more impressive that he was the character I was most rooting for.

I will be reading the sequel, 7 Weeks in Hell.
Profile Image for Catherine McCarthy.
Author 23 books215 followers
June 30, 2020
I read this novel in three sessions. Not only was it an easy read, but it was also a page-turner. Living in rural Wales, I’ve stayed at many holiday cottages similar to the one described in the book, and so readily connected with the setting, characters and landscape, since Ireland and Wales are so similar.
I enjoyed the way that the story began with an every-day situation before gradually becoming more and more supernatural. The twins contrasted and yet complimented one another, and I fell in love with little Ronnie, the miniature schnauzer.
The religious aspects of the book were well played, as was the good v’s evil battle.
All in all, atmospheric, well written, and definitely worth a read.
Profile Image for Rebecca Crunden.
Author 16 books471 followers
September 20, 2021
“Run,” screamed the primal, fight or flight part of her. “Run before they eat you.”

I don't read a whole lot of horror. (I still need to finish The Exorcist, which I'm like 1/3 of the way through.) But pitch me a horror novel (really, a novel, poem, song, etc) set in Ireland and I'm so there.

This book follows Vicky and Irene, twin sisters, and their dog Ronnie, as they take a sojourn to a small Irish town and quickly find far more than they bargained for.



I loved how immersive Murphy's writing is. There's such great detail and atmosphere in the scene setting. She really paints a vivid, terrifying tale. Poor Irene, Vicky and Ronnie :(

This is a book horror fans should definitely check out - and it appears there's a sequel, too!

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Profile Image for Daniel James.
Author 4 books61 followers
November 30, 2020
Vicky and Irene Murtaugh wanted nothing more than a quiet holiday in the Irish countryside. And so with their little dog Ronnie, they set off for a peaceful cabin holiday. It all starts well enough with the twins finding a quaint and polite town, but before long, the strange glow in the night sky, and the increasingly suspicious behaviour of the locals hints at something dark and sinister lurking behind the scenes.

This story of good, evil and paganism moves at a hell of a clip, with two very likeable protagonists, and enough suspense to keep you tearing through the pages.
My only minor complaint is that there are some typos which could have been spotted by an editor, but this in no way affected my enjoyment of the novel.

Profile Image for Sea Caummisar.
Author 69 books410 followers
February 9, 2021
This is a creepy vacay story. Twin sisters and a small dog embark on a journey that will forever change their lives.
The beginning chapters set the tone for a creepy setting. A small town where things feel off. Not to mention a couple large guard dogs, oh and some sort of evil ceremony performed in the middle of the night by the town people.
This is a rare read in the sense it's not often that I read a book with violence against children and animals. Those scenes were brief, and very pertinent to the storyline. So I get it, it was written with a purpose, and helped some things make sense.
The ending was fine, but did leave me with a couple questions. I have a feeling I would have to read the rest of the series to get the answers I'm looking for.
837 reviews4 followers
April 3, 2021
A really good horror story, in my opinion, is when the normal and mundane days of life are slowly revealed to hide the true evil that has been there all along. 7 Days In Hell by Iseult Murphy handles the everyday blandness that turns chaotic evil with a pure horrific slow burn tension.

Twin sisters Vicky and Irene, with Ronnie the most adorable dog, take a vacation in a small Irish village living in a quaint cottage. The strange creepy stone circles should have been the first hint something was wrong in this village. The second hint should be the villagers who not only look a little sickly but have a disgusting rotting smell to them.

As the author perfectly heightens her descriptive prose to cause palpitations we begin to understand the unnatural evil in this place and that a war of good versus evil is about to include these two innocent sisters and their loyal dog.

The writer made me care about our heroines and especially their dog. The danger was real and scary. The gory was cringe worthy and the fear had me reading only during daylight hours. I knew what was going on pretty early in the story but I read horror for leisure and a twist at the end had me smiling at the cleverness of this witty author.

If horror is your genre or one you want to get into the 7 Days In Hell is the book to read.

I received a free copy of this book from Blackthorn Tours for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
23 reviews
December 1, 2020
Enjoyed this book

I thought the characters were delightful, Irene and Vicky that is. The gore of the book was well placed for horror.
Profile Image for Emily.
269 reviews6 followers
March 30, 2021
This was my first foray into horror books, and, boy, what a doozy. It was creepy and atmospheric. I could really visualize the settings (unfortunately, at sometimes). It definitely builds and once you know what's going on, you're just like whaaaaaaat? This is book one in a series so it will be interesting to see what happens from here.
Author 3 books36 followers
November 8, 2021
I scare very easily, so I usually stray from horror, but this one really caught my attention, so I decided to give it a try, and I'm glad I did.

7 Days in Hell is definitely scary, and creepy, but it was a very enjoyable read. I'll also add, I did the majority of reading this around Halloween, and it was perfect for that!

As for the characters, Irene and Vicky, they were both great and felt anxious for them--rooting them on throughout their troubles. And about those troubles. It starts off all nice and normal, but oh does it escalate. I found myself tensing up all the way until the end through the horrors they had to go through, especially coming from a normal life.

I found the pacing to be very solid, and it was a snappy read. There were a couple bumps in the road, so to speak, but otherwise it all felt nice and tight leading up to their ultimate fate and conclusion.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in giving a quick horror read a shot. I'm glad I ended up jumping in, and experiencing this delightfully horrific ride.
Profile Image for R.E. Bunch.
Author 2 books4 followers
December 20, 2021
A Horrible Holiday in The Irish Countryside

This story was a great escape into the Irish countryside. It was a fun look into folklore and Irish Catholicism, while really playing up small town isolation and secrecy. The story is told at a good pace. The twins are compelling characters, and are fun to follow around in this waking nightmare. 7 Days really keeps you on the edge of your seat until the end.

I will be looking forward to the rest of series.
Profile Image for Joey Madia.
Author 16 books17 followers
April 5, 2021
Right along with serial killers, Satanic cults are a cultural fascination. Going back to Hammer films like The Devil Rides Out and Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby and other demon films of the 1960s and 1970s, to the various versions of Wicker Man, to the tongue in cheek cult classic (pardon the pun) The Burbs, to last year’s very intense limited series The Third Day starring Jude Law, there is something about goat-heads, goblets full of blood, and campfire cannibalism that draws our attention and keeps it.
Inspired by a real-life vacation with her sister and dog, Iseult Murphy drills deeply into the core of this zeitgeist to deliver a novel structured according to the title—with chapters broken down by each of the seven days (plus a bonus eighth), along with an illustration for each by the author. If you are a fan of Secret Window, you might find the illustration of the screwdriver as ominous as I did.
The main characters are twin sisters, Irene and Vicky—one a button-down teacher, the other an adventurous university student with an eye for the guys; a priest (who, refreshingly, finds bravery in his faith, which is rare; usually priests are in some kind of crisis in the face of evil); a mysterious local family; and, in town, an interesting array of mechanics, tavern owners, police, and citizens.
Like all stories in this genre, it is very much “stranger in a strange land”—the two sisters, on break from their schools, have booked a quaint country cottage outside of Dublin to relax and bond, along with a miniature schnauzer named Ronnie.
Almost immediately, the two sisters know something isn’t right, after an encounter upon arrival with two vicious dogs appropriately named Thorne and Pilot and the teenage daughter of a local with some strange physical and mental afflictions.
There are two other cottages next to the twins’, one of which is occupied by an American family from a small town in Wyoming: parents, daughter, and son.
Talk about strangers in a strange land; although, a few sentences of back story clue us as to the very legitimate and integrated reason for them being there.
As the story enters its second act, we are fully engaged with the twins, whose differences often lead them in opposite directions, an efficient way to introduce us to other characters. Another efficient technique is the twins’ Catholicism—at one point they call on the Archangel Michael, the most powerful of protectors—and their watching of horror movies in the cottage. Their discussions of these topics add texture and scope to the narrative core, as do the moments when Irene talks to herself as though she were in a horror movie, having watched so many she’s an expert on the tropes. And Vicky’s skill with throwing drinks on ex-boyfriends ultimately saves her soul.
The twins make mental analogs with other types of programs as well, including nature documentaries.
Through these devices, Murphy is able to deliver contextual information, like the history of the Celts and druids, without bogging down the narrative. Having the twins be practicing Catholics also give them some of the tools they need as they become the prey.
I mentioned the priest, whose name is Father McBride. He’s my favorite character. I’m partial to strong priests in horror stories because they are truly rare—most of them are in a crisis of belief either at the start of act one or when finally faced with genuine evil. Father M. attends to the villagers in the local parish and his early engagement with Vicky helps us invest in them both.
These visits into town also serve to implant the clues and write the IOUs that all well-crafted thrillers require. We are owed by the author nothing by the end.
To say much more is to give the story’s nuances away. Rest assured—you will be treated to all of the glorious tropes in the Satan-worship genre, and all of the foreshadowing that signals their approach. You will, to quote Irene, “see things that should not be seen and hear things that should not be said.”
Although we get a bit of the origin story of this village of the damned and some of its prominent families and practices, there’s still plenty of mystery that remains for future installments. I mentioned an eighth day. The Big Bad lives to fight another day, heading to the big city to do his worst even better, ala Interview with a Vampire and many other tales of horror. And, although it well preceded the recent Netflix sensation I Care A Lot, there is a similarity between these two that speaks loud and clear to the current cultural zeitgeist regarding evil people in positions of pop culture/self-help supremacy.
The next book, 7 Weeks in Hell, is already available (the edition of 7 Days I read included the first chapter and the cover illustration) and the author says there will be eight books in all.
7 Days in Hell celebrates well this popular subgenre, giving us everything we want—Samhain, Celts, druids, and more. Although the story is at times violent—this is horror after all—even the most detailed descriptions are never needlessly “bizarro” or otherwise over the top, and are always wholly appropriate to the narrative.
Profile Image for Tabitha  Tomala.
645 reviews75 followers
April 4, 2021
This review is also featured on Behind the Pages: 7 Days in Hell

Thank you to Blackthorn Book Tours for providing me with a copy for an honest review!

Vicky and her twin sister Irene are ready to kick back and relax in the country. Although when Vicky finds out there’s no wi-fi or cell service in their cabin, she starts to second guess their vacation. But the longer the two sisters stay, the quicker Vicky will realize no internet is the least of her worries. Something strange is going on. Every night Vicky is woken up by crowds roaring in the distance. And a parade of cars drives by the cabin every day at 3 in the morning. But when the sisters start to investigate the nighttime activities, they’ll wish they never went on vacation.

The writing style for 7 Days in Hell is cleverly done. Each chapter is another day the sisters stay in the village of Basard. And each chapter becomes progressively more horrific as they begin to unearth the darkness within the village. What starts off as simple things that seem amiss, turns into a truly horrific and mind-numbing experience for both girls. And when it comes to portraying horrific gore, Iseult Murphy’s writing crawls beneath the skin and sets your stomach churning.

I will admit though that some of the choices the sisters made didn’t make sense to me. I felt like certain encounters and oddities they came across should have lit red flags immediately. Instead, they sort of shrugged them off. I think the tension that would have been created from questioning more, in the beginning, would have benefitted the story. The sisters would have seemed a bit more realistic to me.

Although the characters might not have picked up on the suspicions I felt, I loved the sense of never quite knowing the whole picture. You’ll read about situations and people being off, and it drives you into having to read more. Should you be doubting what is happening and people’s intentions? Iseult Murphy has a way of making you second guess everything you think you know. If you are a fan of occult horror, give this one a try.
Profile Image for Ruth Anne.
Author 2 books46 followers
December 17, 2020
Murphy never disappoints to deliver engaging stories, fun characters, and a creepy storyline.

Irene and Vicky wanted a holiday to get away from their lives and go to a small town with its quirks. Things start off well but halfway through, I was getting anxious with each page I turned. The characters, setting, and plot were on point. I really enjoyed the little dog, Ronnie. The town was pretty awesome and made me want to visit a town like that on a real holiday (not in this situation, lol).

I love the page-turning adrenaline that I get from reading Murphy's book. I'm looking forward to reading the next book 7 weeks in hell in 2021. :)
Profile Image for Jacob Klop.
Author 8 books67 followers
February 12, 2022
This is a novel about two women who go on a cottage vacation that deteriorates into true horror.

The opening half of the story slowly brings in creepy elements. There's a roaring noise that I found really eerie and the encounters with quirky neighbors do a great job of making the reader uneasy.

The second half ratchets up the action and the plot becomes somewhat cliche. I was a bit disappointed after the creative opening half.

I did enjoy the character building and atmosphere of the first half quite a bit, but for me, although the pace of the second half is much quicker, I actually preferred the opening.

Over-all, I was still entertained.
Profile Image for Dashofdark_tales.
19 reviews1 follower
April 4, 2021
OMG! This book was just what I needed to get me over the reading hangover I have had!

7 Days of Hell by Iseult Murphy!

This fast paced book had me gasping, shocked and most of all, not wanting to read it at night 😂😂 I would of put the book in the freezer 'Joey from friends' style, if it wasn't on my kindle!
This book ticked all of the boxes for a thriller for me and I really enjoyed it!
Profile Image for P.D. Alleva.
Author 10 books710 followers
May 12, 2022
A fantastic horror read. Two sisters are caught in a nightmare while on vacation, discovering a small town where demons and devil worshipers creep by your bedroom window, and plan your demise by feeding you to demons. Not bad at all. Gruesome scenes and I did enjoy the interactions and relationship between the two sisters. Really good and entertaining story. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Valinora Troy.
Author 3 books9 followers
June 21, 2020
When twins Irene and Vicky travel down to a remote part of the Irish countryside for a week’s holiday, they little expect to be soon fighting for their lives against a horde of evil zombie flesh-eaters.
This is a very entertaining and gripping read. The author skilfully uses the contrast between the normality at the start of the book (the twins are ordinary young Irish women, and despite the few weird things that happen, this appears to be a typical self-catering holiday that many of us can relate to) and the absolute horrific events that the twins subsequently encounter, to great effect. It made the horror more believable, and therefore more terrifying, as well as reinforcing an underlying fear that evil is a lot closer to us than we want to believe. It also worked to make me share the shock the twins felt – 'this can’t be true but it is' – with that piercing regret of 'if only I had done something different…'
This is a very entertaining read, an epic battle against evil, and I couldn’t put the book down until I discovered the fate of the sisters. The darkness of the story is thankfully eased by the vein of humour which runs through the entire novel, and of course the hope filtering through at the end. The sisters’ relationship is also nicely done. It’s an exciting, entertaining and emotional read, and I can’t recommend it enough.
April 2, 2021
7 Days in Hell is a short and tense horror about twin sisters holidaying together at a remote cottage in Ireland. It is set during the week leading up to Halloween, and from the outset things began to feel a little creepy and unsettled. The story is a day by day account of their vacation which fast descends into a crescendo of gory chaos.

This book was a short and easy, fast paced read which I finished in three or four sittings. The characters were relatable and the setting was quaint yet atmospheric. It was well written and I particularly enjoyed the dialogue between the characters.

7 Days in Hell was a solid 3 star read for me as even though the story felt a little predictable at times, I was delighted to find the author still had a few surprises up her sleeve. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thank you so much Blackthornbooks for having me on this tour!
Profile Image for Sharon.
4,152 reviews27 followers
July 23, 2020
What a delightful read! It’s my first time reading this author and from the book title this is book one in a series and so I am looking forward to reading more from her. Wonderful descriptive writing, which although I thoroughly appreciated, I can imagine some readers may not be so impressed by it. I found myself stuck to my seat as I eagerly read this book, seeming to inhale it as fast as I could with a deep need to see what was going to happen next.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Chrystal Roe.
993 reviews4 followers
December 5, 2020

This is a very scary story. I could feel the tension and fright of the main characters. What a horrible little village.
2,415 reviews
August 6, 2020
I thought this was a great read. The story grabbed me and pulled me in. The storyline is interesting and hard to put down. I’m looking forward to more from this series and author and would recommend reading.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Sally.
Author 126 books303 followers
September 3, 2022
Although a little uneven in its pacing, and often more creepy than terrifying, 7 Days in Hell caught my interest with the first chapter and kept me reading, curious as to where it was all headed,

Iseult Murphy has a way with words and a flair for detail that creates the perfect atmosphere for the story. The opening pages introduce us to the pungent country, the smell of death, and the animal excrement and decaying rodent bodies squelching beneath our feet, and it's all we can do not to see and smell the village. She draws us in with the creepiest of moments, such as the young girl rubbing her dead cat all over Irene's chest and belly, and then shocks us with a roar, a dark shape lunging, and startling white teeth snapping. The juxtaposition of the two is where the power of the narrative lies.

Vicky and Irene are strong characters to lead the story, twin sisters with their own distinct personalities who are engaging and relatable. They bicker and argue, and don't always agree, but there's an unmistakable bond there that allows us to hope for the best. Although I was fearing the same old dog-saves-the-day trope, Ronnie is actually an interesting addition to the story, with a satisfyingly dark role to play in the climax. The village of Basard and its Halloween celebration are what attracted me to the book in the first place, and that setting is everything I could have hoped for, with odd townsfolk (Fergal especially), unnerving events, peculiar mysteries, and just enough doubt to genuinely wonder just what was real.

That said, the story is a bit wordy at times, with a lot of filler in the first third that I think holds the story back. I was curious, and I liked the book, but it didn't really become a page-turner until the last few chapters. Perversely perhaps, as much as I enjoyed the spectacle of ritual and loved the mindless hunger, I did chafe a bit against the holy salvation of Father McBride - it's just one of those horror tropes that sort of defeats my interest. All in all, though, 7 Days in Hell is a satisfyingly dark and sometimes gory slice of horror, one where nobody is safe and survival is pretty much as happy an ending as we can hope for.

Profile Image for Bethany Martin.
Author 1 book15 followers
April 5, 2021
I've always been a big fan of folk horror. Strange weather, small towns in the middle of nowhere, forgotten gods, and unsettling rituals are all key ingredients for an excellent horror novel as far as I'm concerned. 7 Days in Hell utilised these features well to create a creepy tale.

Vicky, our protagonist, was easy to relate to as a main character. I liked that her relationship with her twin sister Irene was realistic for siblings and not over-the-top or exaggeratedly bad. The main antagonist was chillingly charismatic, and many of the side characters were memorable.

There's a lot of implied gore and body horror in this novel, which I enjoyed, but at the same time I felt it relied too heavily on the gore and missed the mark on building the suspense, which resulted in the story not being quiet as strong as it could've been. I did like the author's representation of ghosts though, which I haven't seen that often in horror novels.

One highlight was the open ending, lending itself not only to a sequel but also finishing on a semi-realistic note. Books that finish with everything tied up neatly feel like a cop out. I personally feel there has to be some mess at the end, particularly in a horror novel, and with that, 7 Days in Hell delivered.

I was offered a copy of this book with a request for an honest review.
Author 25 books4 followers
September 24, 2020
7 Days in Hell is an entertaining tale.

When twins Irene and Vicky take a vacation in the country, they soon find themselves living in a nightmare. The people of Basard are strange, very strange. Not just in appearance--some of the villagers smell like rot! Yikes!

The novel is full of interesting plot twists. Iseult Murphy combines suspense with grisly scenes and humor. A fun, exciting book, and a good introduction to her series!
Profile Image for Anselm Patey.
Author 3 books18 followers
November 26, 2021
I love myself a good B-movie, and if it was made into one, this novel would probably be one of the best B-movies I'd ever seen.

The protagonists - twin sisters, Irene and Vicky - are very much given their own personalities, the former being a little more cerebral and prim and proper, the latter somewhat more relateable to most of us. The author does a great job of giving them their own unique voices, although the transition between scenes and chapters is sometimes a little blurry and there were a few times when I was uncertain whose POV we were coming from. Another POV character is Father McBride, a local priest who plays an increasing role as the story goes on.

Plot-wise, the rubber hits the road early on and those early ominous signs creep in with chilling effect. I recently read Dean Koontz's "Phantoms" and never once felt as much trepidation as I did when Irene and Vicky first heard those noises coming over the hill.

It took me a little while to tune in to the tone of this book, because as I said earlier, it very much comes across as a horror B-movie type story that doesn't always take itself too seriously. Moments of it - particularly towards the end - reminded me of several Simon Pegg & Nick Frost movies (not least of all when the police drive in remarking about how Basard has the lowest crime level in the country...if you know, you know) and in the later scenes Vicky reminds me in some ways of Willie from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. And truly, it works so well.

For example, one of the most golden moments for me is where Vicky runs into her bedroom for safety with a fire-poker for self defense, and wraps herself in a blanket:

She had a daft vision of herself dressed up as a Dalek, the duvet her metallic shell, the poker her extermination weapon, and hysteria threatened to overtake her again.

And the climactic scene is just glorious both in the revelation, the action, but also the tongue-in-cheek ridiculousness of some of the things that are done and said. I can't give examples without giving spoilers, but trust me when I said that if it were a movie I would have been sat forward on my seat, grinning and stuffing my face with popcorn. When Father McBride steps out and declares "I've come to put an end to this nonsense", it was all I could do to restrain myself from applauding. It conjured the image of Father Ted with the billboard reading "Down with this sort of thing".

As a professional writer myself, I couldn't help but be aware of a number of issues with the writing style. There were quite a few typos, punctuation errors, missused words, awkward sentences and one blatant consistency error (albeit a very minor one, regarding the existence or non-existence of an outside light on the cottage). Usually, I would dock a star or two from my rating on account of these, because it's really encumbant on an author to take more care with this if they're going to actually publish a novel.

However, I honestly enjoyed this book so damn much that I really can't bring myself to give it less than five stars. I was entertained throughout, I was engaged enough to finish without ever the temptation to skim, and it's entirely likely I will read the next book in the series. In that sense, who can deny that the author has done her job quite handily?
Profile Image for Lauren Eason.
Author 4 books4 followers
October 9, 2021
This was the most imaginative and unique story I've read in a long time that pertained to any kind of common monster type. At first, I was a little hesitant because I believed there was only so much you could do with zombies, but this author had such a way with twists and turns that I kept turning the page to find out more!

The story is about two sisters (twins) that are vacationing during Halloween in a very rural village in Ireland. While there, they meet the strange locals who keep them up at all ours of the night with their roaring and moans in the farm fields beyond their rental cabins. On Halloween, they decide to investigate the noises and the mysterious happenings and discover the ancient stone circle being used for some sort of unholy ritual that has all of the townspeople under its spell.

The pace of the book flows well and is at an average pace. The story is divided into each day the sisters are on vacation which I thought was a great way to section the book and help organize the material. Each day has different scene breaks so we can see the story from multiple character point of views. This book isn't first person, but third person, which I think gave the story clarity. I'm so glad the author chose to write it this way.

I thought the timings of the different plot reveals throughout the story were great! It made for a splendid Halloween mystery and when it was finally explained about what happened to these townspeople, it filled in the plot nicely. I didn't have too many questions reading this story and the author set it up for the next book in the series.

I love anything that relates to ancient rituals, Druids, the Celts - and this book has a lot of that. The author weaves the myths and legends of old in with this story of what's going on in the present. It gave the book personality, in my opinion, and really set it apart from some of the other zombie stories I've read.

There were a few grammatical mistakes that may have been missed over the proofread, but they weren't glaring and didn't detract from the overall enjoyment I got out of reading this story. I also like the book cover because it kind of reminds me of iZombie which is a great T.V. show. I'll definitely be checking out the next book, 7 Weeks in Hell.
Profile Image for Rose Auburn.
Author 1 book44 followers
April 4, 2021
When twin sisters, Irene and Vicky, are gifted a cottage break in Basard, Southern Ireland by Vicky’s boss, it seems the ideal break to enable the twins to reconnect and Irene’s miniature schnauzer, Ronnie, can also come. However, it’s Halloween week and little do the twins realise that villagers of Basard are hiding a horrifying secret….

7 Days in Hell has all the ingredients of a gruesome rural horror; satanic rituals, troubled priests, zombie villagers and, on the whole, all are put to good use. The beginning is darkly atmospheric and within a few pages plunges the reader straight into gore. It’s a very easy read, the prose has a jaunty rhythm and the story is fairly straightforward. Irene and Vicky are interesting protagonists. Irene is reserved and sensible whereas Vicky appears superficial and lazy. There is clearly conflict between the two and it would have been nice to have had a little more or maybe gained some backstory. Personally, I found Irene the stronger, more intriguing sister. I could not warm to Vicky and, consequently found her unconvincing, especially towards the end of the novel. Father McBride was nicely dependable and the creepy setting really complements the disturbing plot.

I liked the structure of the weekday chapters, it helped create suspense and when we reach the main incident in the novel – it really is gory and barbaric and then continues to be so. Some of the descriptive writing really makes you wince and the narrative certainly has a Wickerman vibe to it. The scene in the garage was exceptionally unnerving and the portrayal of the mechanic, Nally, appallingly sinister. The inclusion of the American family was a good idea as it just occasionally shifted focus from the twins. They also added an element of curiosity as you were not entirely sure who they really were and how they would figure in the plot. Briefly, the action does sometimes become a bit comedic which detracts from the fear factor but notwithstanding, 7 Days in Hell is a grisly and enjoyable horror. Recommended.
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