The Stairwell by Dean Bryant
It is always exciting to discover a fine novelist whose work you haven’t read before, and Dean Bryant has certainly written an exciting debut novel. The Stairwell was recently published by darkstroke, an imprint of Crooked Cat Books.
Frightful visions. An unknown manipulator. A force from beyond reason.
Brandon Chapman arrives home to a horrific scene. His wife, Stephanie, is exhibiting behaviour that he can only describe as that of someone possessed – yet he doesn’t even believe in the supernatural. He soon realises that it was nothing other than a frightful, haunting vision.
After discovering a dark secret about Stephanie, Brandon meets a strange figure with knowledge about his own life that no one could possibly know. As his visions become more frequent and terrifying, he begins to question his sanity.
Brandon must either side with this figure or his wife before his daughter comes to harm.
Alice Hamilton, a shy and quiet university student, meets handsome Niel Curtis whilst on a night out with friends. They very quickly fall for one another, but their happiness is short-lived when Niel ends up in a coma after a traffic accident.
Alice fears he may never wake up again and, unaware of the consequences, strikes a deal with a strange voice. When Niel awakes, his behaviour changes drastically, and Alice – like Brandon – becomes subject to nightmarish, violent visions.
Are Brandon and Alice caught in a never-ending nightmare?
The Stairwell does not read like a debut novel. It is as assured as it is horrifying and I defy you not to be hooked by the tense, vivid prologue. I would not normally choose to read horror novels, but this one is so enthralling, so intense that I could not put it down and I read it in one sitting.
The story cleverly weaves the stories of Brandon and Alice in a nightmarishly fascinating way. The fires of our world and the fires of hell burn in sequence to create a satisfying thriller of the first order.
I hope there are more novels to come from this talented author because, be sure, I will gird up my courage and read them all. I highly recommend The Stairwell to all who enjoy the novels of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Edgar Allen Poe and now, of course, Dean Bryant.
Dean has always loved writing, ever since his primary school teacher wrote “another cracker from the pen of Dean Bryant” on his English homework. He loves writing horror and dark thrillers as they allow him to be as imaginative as possible. He also is proud of the fact that he won a nation-wide poetry competition when he was 11 but went on to never write another poem.
He’s a huge fan of the classic horror authors Stephen King and Dean Koontz, with Midnight being his favourite book of all time. He studied Psychology at university which made him the friend everyone goes to for advice.
Dean lives in London with his partner of ten years, who also doubles as a beta-reader and critic. He is a type 1 diabetic, which hasn’t stopped him eating cake, he just has to do a lot of mental math first.