When I first saw the title to The Making of Gabriel Davenport and the cover image of what appears to be an injured bird, I couldn’t help but wonder what it all meant. What does “making of” mean? What’s the deal with the bird? Is it just injured or is it dead? Maybe something completely different altogether? I was curious. I wanted to know. Yet, it’s taken me until this past week (literally, over a year) to finally got around to reading it.
Written by Beverly Lee, another frequent participant of the Monthly Writing Challenge on Twitter (I’m telling you, you need to check this challenge out if you’re struggling to make headway with your writing), the story is set in England, sometime in the modern era. Considering that the characters at times refer to smartphones and even Twitter, I think it’s safe to say that it’s relatively recent. It follows the life of Gabriel Davenport from the time he moved to Meadowford Bridge with his parents, Beth and Stu Davenport. Their move is an attempt to escape the hustle and bustle of the modern era, to relax on the countryside. Little do they know that their search for calm and peace is about to be shattered by an ancient evil, patiently lurking in an unexpected place, waiting to be unleashed. As you can imagine, their lives are forever changed.
As Gabriel grows up and matures, he starts looking for answers. Why did his life turn out the way it did? What really happened all those years ago and why? His search for answers leads him in unexpected directions and the discoveries he makes are ones that he will come to question and regret. The evil he must face can forever change the rest of his life…or take it.
The Making of Gabriel Davenport is listed as a horror/dark fantasy story. I knew this coming in and partially, this made me a bit hesitant. Not that I haven’t had my share of horror stories in the past, I just haven’t really in more recent years (except for a very accidental viewing of The Ring) and when I have, they have usually been sci-fi themed, not fantasy. Yet, from the moment I started reading this book, I was hooked. Just one more chapter, just one more page, that was my mindset as I continued to read. Fortunately, since I had bought the Kindle version of this book and had it on my phone, I was able to squeeze in a bit here and there. This, I feel, is a testament to how well this book is written. It drew me in and didn’t let go until I was done. Really, Beverly does a marvelous job at a pacing the story. At no time do I find myself wondering why something is happening because I’m lost. Instead, I’m thirsting for more to get the answers I know must be coming in the next chapters.
Although the book has a variety of characters, both good and bad, you get to know them all. Some more than others, obviously, but we learn what Gabriel struggles with, what he’s afraid of, what he needs. The same with the friends around him and his immediate family.
The story also dives into some dark concepts related to the supernatural. These elements are woven into the story seamlessly and don’t feel foreign at all. In many ways, the story is a fight between good and evil, between darkness and light, and you don’t come out disappointed by the results. Although, if you’re anything like me, you’ll likely come out a bit surprised by the time you’re done.
I’ve often heard that characters are important to a story and although I think that’s true, in a story like this, the atmosphere is like another person. It sets the stage for the horrors that are about to happen, for the good and the bad. Beverly paints a dark picture throughout the story that feels vivid, real. It got my blood pumping, my heart beating faster. Although each person is different, I had no difficulty imagining what was going on and where.
To be honest, if there’s ever a movie made of this book, I’m not sure I’d want to watch it. It’s a pretty freaky book and there are some pretty unsettling things going on that I’m not sure I’d really want to see. For me, reading it is easier (this is also the reason I probably won’t watch the recently released IT either.). However, having said that, it’s an immensely satisfying read, to the point that when I read the last sentence of the book, I had to smile to myself. I finally knew what “the making” meant (and no, it won’t make sense if you just jump to the last page). It was nothing I imagined but everything I hoped it would be.
My advice: if you like a scary story, pick this one up. You might not want to read it late at night, especially if it’s stormy and rainy outside. Oh, and don’t open any boxes.
Now, I’m on to the sequel, A Shining in the Shadows.
Click the image to be taken directly over to Amazon.
I’d also suggest you follow Beverly on Twitter. She’s a constant presence in our Writing Challenge group and seeing how she progresses makes me want to write more myself.