I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA tours organised by TheWriteReads. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.
BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official BBNYA website follow BBNYA on Twitter.
The sign-ups will soon be open for the 2022 BBNYA competition, be it for authors to enter their books, or for bloggers wanting to be part of the new panel, so keep your eyes peeled!
“A quiet English town that thrives on local produce, old fashioned values, and survival against the rule of an Eldritch Abomination. Here, you will enjoy endless walks, soothing sounds, forceful avatars, and the kind of joys that only an English township can bring!
“(Please note: this dossier has been compiled by the BPD based on materials found relating to P1983 - or Wilthaven as you know it. Treat every sentence, word, image, and syllable with the utmost paranoia. Be safe.)
“Wilthaven is a horror comedy by Oli Jacobs, who previously mined scares & chuckles from the likes of The Children of Little Thwopping, Filmic Cuts, and Bad Sandwich. As always, he hopes you enjoy.
Wilthaven, by Oli Jacobs, is a collection of Bureau of Paranormal Discoveries (BPD) reports and found materials relating to the small English town of Wilthaven, also known as P1983 (for reference, our dimension is P0).
Terrorised by an Eldritch Abomination named Hq’tar, it’s inadvisable to go out after dark in Wilthaven. It’s common for people to disappear, then return as ‘avatars’ recruiting on the demon’s behalf. Despite this, and the absurd geography and weather, the residents try to make the best of things with community events, a local radio station, and a welcoming attitude to newcomers and visitors.
Wilthaven is highly creative. The montage format means the author turns his hand to various styles of writing - official reports from BPD agents, autobiography, police reports, newspaper cuttings, transcripts of TV and radio broadcasts, marketing materials, meeting minutes, and more - and does so convincingly and successfully. The many parts hang together well as a cohesive whole and I enjoyed all the different voices and discovering new things about Wilthaven throughout the book.
Something else I appreciated about Wilthaven was its thrilling creepiness. Obviously the main premise - Hq’tar and the effects he has on the town - is the prime example, but I also got a shiver down my spine from the ways communications and people slipped between the dimensions, particularly P1983 items that found their way into P0 newspapers and news programmes without the knowledge of editors and producers, crossed phone lines, and unscheduled trains that defied physics and geography.
What’s more, Wilthaven is very funny. I laughed throughout, but especially at the Wilthaven Walks guide and the extensive list of possible side effects of reading a trans-dimensional book, The Children of Little Thwopping (actually another book of Jacobs’, which I’m planning to read despite the risk of non-existence, spontaneous arachnid propulsion and runny nose!).
Wilthaven is creative, entertaining, and delightfully unsettling.