Spiffing is one of Tim Mendees’ first novellas. We’re both in some of the same publications and author circles and he’s some kind of wizard at omnipresence. We’ve been writing for a similar amount of time and whilst I think I’ve got a decent back catalogue of published stories, Tim is prolific.
Spiffing is a slow burn of a book. And really does throw out the rulebook – the story starts with a line about the weather, which is something that as writers, we’re told not to do, for example. It has a very ‘Poirot-esque’ feel about it, although is a little but raunchier than Agatha Christie ever wrote.
I do love cosmic horror and it generally fascinates rather than scares me. However, I did find myself, later in the story having a moment where my pulse was definitely quickening as I got caught up in a scene. This was unexpected due to the writing style and I did enjoy it. I also very much loved the big twist as I didn’t see this coming even though, looking back, everything I needed to know was there.
Talking of writing… Tim has a very relaxed turn of phrase and along with the style he chose to write in, keeps the book nicely paced. With my editing head on, I did notice a couple of typos and a couple of places where the prose could be tightened. There were also a few small info-dumps but in the style of the book, this didn’t matter.
There are two things I didn’t like and they are my usual gripes. The first is that with such a large cast (again, in the Poirot style), and them splitting up and regrouping, I did find myself confused with who was who at times.
The second is that because of the style in which it’s written, my first thoughts were that it was set much further back in time than transpired. It was only later in the story when a ‘box of electronics’ was referred to that the proverbial penny dropped for me. I prefer stories to be much strongly rooted in both place and time. And I only felt a sense of place from the beginnings of this story.
All that said, it was a fun read, with a scene that gave me visceral feels, a solid twist and The Old Ones. Recommended.
Book DetailsPublication Title: Spiffing: A Cosmic Horror Novella
Author: Tim Mendees
Publisher: Red Cape Publishing
Publication Date: 9th June 2021
Bertie Lexington-Brown is famous for throwing the most spiffing of parties at his sprawling estate of Chycoose Manor, and the evening of his fortieth birthday is no exception. Only this particular night will turn into something rather unexpected as Bertie inadvertently unleashes forces beyond his control. What should have been an evening of drunkenness and debauchery soon sees his guests fighting for their lives.