Cover Image: The Holy Terrors

The Holy Terrors

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This was a truly freaky book and one I had to read with the lights on to be honest. I thought it was well written and had great plot that was meant to keep me on my toes.

Was this review helpful?

I've been reading my way through Green's backlist with great enjoyment and was delighted to receive this arc. Unfirtunately I found this to be a rather pale imitation of his other excellent mystery books. I think perhaps it concentrated on the social commentary and how far we'll go to remain 'relevant' and the actual huanted house mystery (which was what I was there for) was thinner as a consequence. Not bad but not what I was hoping for either.

Was this review helpful?

Simon R. Green is one of my favorite authors. I will have to be totally honest here and say I am not totally impartial/neutral when I write reviews of his books. If Simon wrote a lengthy novel about assembling bookshelves while doing hot yoga, I would read the book and give it 5 stars. I've been addicted to his books since the Nightside series.

The minute I saw he had a new series about a ghost hunting television show that encounters a very real, dangerous situation, knew I had to read the book! And, as usual, Simon did not disappoint. I loved this book!

Can you imagine the crew of Ghosthunters if they entered a spooky location and REAL spooky shit started happening? What if they suspected one of their crew/cast was a really bad person? What if the whole situation was actually really dangerous....and not just fake BS? They would totally freak out....and I would watch every second of that shit. Definitely.

I love the mix of humor and scary. The premise is fun and entertaining. And, it immediately had me hooked. A bunch of celebrities gathering for another fake reality show.....but they end up in an actual dark, twisted situation. The end wasn't my favorite -- but it worked. Totally satisfied and ready for more!

Loved it! Can't wait for the next book!

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Severn House. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

Was this review helpful?

Simon R. Green goes it again with his usual wit and humor. Simon takes some of our favorite horror tropes and gives them a distinctive twist. If you have enjoyed Simon's previous, Nightside series, consider reading this, as it is different in tone but comfortable and familiar. As always, Simon R Green does not disappoint.

Was this review helpful?

I thoroughly enjoy Green’s mix of creepy, atmospheric tension with sudden bouts of action threaded through with his sardonic somewhat dark humour. I wouldn’t class Green as a horror writer so much as dark paranormal. And this time around, the paranormal aspect is kept very much in abeyance.

In fact, this locked-room murder mystery is probably about the most restrained tale I’ve read by Green. We learn a great deal about each of the characters – why they say they have signed up for Spooky Time, which clearly was never the classiest show and since its ratings slide, has resorted to every grubby bit of shenanigans to try and keep hold of its dwindling audience. Green’s jabs at that type of reality TV and the celebrities who prop it up are sharp and amusing. Though if I suspect opinions will differ regarding the very leisurely pace.

However, I was fascinated to see where this one would go. I knew there would be dead bodies and – based on Green’s previous writing – probably gloriously gory. Well, there are bodies, but again there was that restraint. Indeed, it’s difficult to know what has killed these victims. There isn’t much to go on at all – except that the shadows in the hall continue to grow ever darker and there’s no way of getting out of there. It was difficult to put this one down, as I was very keen to discover exactly what was going on and I was very invested in three of the characters.

The denouement worked very well – while I didn’t see it coming, the antagonist made complete sense, as did their motivation. If I have a niggle – and it isn’t a dealbreaker – it’s that the ending felt a tad rushed after the very slow, tense buildup, so I knocked a point off. That said, I had a great time reading this memorable start to the series and I’m looking forward to seeing where Green takes his plucky protagonists next. While I obtained an arc of The Holy Terrors from the publisher via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.

Was this review helpful?

I am completely there for paranormal, ghost-hunting stories in creepy haunted places. I was excited to read this one for those reasons. But, it took 50 % of the book to even get to something vaguely creepy. 99% of the book was dialogue between very unlikable characters with very unrealistic reactions to each other dying off.

Back to the dialogue. The one character was a washed-up actress trying to stay relevant. Every time she spoke, she said Darling. Every. Time. And when speaking to the religious character that was a Bishop, she kept calling him Bish. Over and over.

Their relationships they formed with each other, being that they were all strangers, made no sense, and bordered on ridiculous. And, speaking of ridiculous, the ending was just that. Completely unrealistic and ridiculous.

I rarely give a book 2 stars, and I don't want to be a nasty reviewer. But, when I have so many books to review and I take the time to truly give each book a fair shot, it can get frustrating when it feels like there wasn't much effort put into a book. It felt like the author had a quota to make and threw this one together.

Again,sorry for so much negativity, but I'm just being completely honest with you.

As always, I'm extremely grateful to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to have an advanced ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

While I am a big fan of Simon R. Green's work, I think I misunderstood what this book was going to be about when I requested an ARC of it. Rather than getting a paranormal romp about a ghost hunting team, we get a locked room murder mystery. It felt somewhat bait and switch as a horror reader and I struggled to stay interested.
Recommend for mystery fans who want some of Green's tongue in cheek, snarky writing.

Was this review helpful?

Have you ever watched a TV ghost-hunting show? It’s rapidly losing ratings so it is trying to bring interest back by having a select group of celebrities.. Six people are gathered to spend the night in Stonehaven
a “the most haunted building in England. There are two hosts June and Leslie who is also a medium. Alister is a bishop, actress Diana, comedian Toby and Indira, a celebrity chef are the celebrities attending this episode. The four celebrities do not know each other (at least personally). The groups is taken on a tour. When June tells the that they are locked in the building all night with no way to escape. , they become upset. The group tries to settle but there are strange things happening. The crew don’t respond to respond to what they are seeing and experiencing. Alistair is attempting to keep the group calm logically but it doesn’t last. Why?

The author has written a scary, and chilling atmosphere for a paranormal reality show for tv. His plot is well written. It is a paranormal reality tv show “locked-room” mystery. I enjoyed the show called paranormal experiences that happened. The conversations within the group were well written. Overall, I enjoyed this first book of a series and look forward to reading the next one.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this book. When I saw it was a locked room murder mystery I was pretty sold on seeing what it was all about. I love stories like this. This one was a fast paced and easy read. The characters were pretty interesting, and I was hooked.

Was this review helpful?

First time reading Simon R Green, and really enjoyed the story. The characters were interesting and well thought out. The plot was definitely enjoyable, with good pacing. Will definitely be reading more from Simon R Green. #TheHolyTerrors #NetGalley

Was this review helpful?

Thank you Netgalley and Severn House for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve read many books by Simon R. Green. I hate to say it, but this might be his worst? D: I feel so bad saying that but it is true… This book was a mess!

Where do I even begin?

My biggest problem with The Holy Terror is that it’s so………….. BORING. D: Lots of not much happening a majority of the time. It’s mostly just the characters being passive aggressive or just straight up aggressive to each other. This leads me to my second biggest complaint… When things finally do begin to happen, it feels so similar to Simon’s other books! It’s “classic” Simon R. Green, but that is part of the problem. The similarities made the plot feel so stale. Green feels like he’s coasting… Freshen up his writing. Give us something totally new, man!

It wasn’t just the plot of The Holy Terror that felt so stale. It is the characters as well. :/ The characters felt so flat!! When the two (new) main characters talked, it just felt like I’ve seen them before, in past series by Green. They even talked like characters from those past books! Felt so been there, done that. Maybe if the characters had been freshend up, new feeling and given more depth, this could have been a better book….?

Another problem with this book, well, it suffers from just straight up odd choices! For example, the plot takes place within a few hours, yet somehow one of the characters felt such a connection to another character, she felt like the child he never had. Wha-? :/ Kinda fast, eh? A different example, nothing ever felt scary /tense/ supernatural because the author chose to have the main PoV from the Bishop, who never bought into the supernatural side of this who dun it….. It totally negated all the other characters- and the location- trying to set the stage and atmosphere to spooky supernatural vibe. Why? It made me feel like if the main character isn’t taking the supernatural stuff seriously, never should I. Like, if he doesn’t ever believe in the psychic, why should I believe the psychic when he gave out trance like warnings. See what I mean? It took away all suspense or tension and made things feel too predictable.

Simon can be a great author, but he seriously needs to re-vamp his writing a little bit. Not everything needs to be so the same. It makes a really cool premise turn boring real fast. Green feels like he is being a safe Sally on autopilot. That sucks. You are better than that, Mr. Green. 

I would not recommend this book.

Was this review helpful?

I received an advance review copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher, and am leaving this review voluntarily.

First off, the premise for The Holy Terrors was good, and on paper, I should have loved it. Instead, I just didn't. The relationships between the characters felt forced and were unbelievable. They knew each other for maybe 8 hours or so and acted as if at least months had passed in that time. This book is 192 pages long and 85% of it was dialogue that felt like it had been reused every 15-20 pages. As a result, this story felt overlong. I feel that the story could have been heavily cut and made into a 50-60 page novella and would have been more impactful. It's going to be 1.5 stars from me.

Was this review helpful?

British author Simon R. Green launches a Holy Terrors mystery series with the first book, The Holy Terrors. Expect a little humor, wordplay, the paranormal, and death with any new book by Green.

It’s an unusual group of six that gather at Stonehaven town hall, “the kind of place it wasn’t wise to turn your back on”. Alistair Kincaid, is the newly appointed bishop to All Souls Hollow, a tough neighborhood in London. Diana Hunt is a star of stage and screen who doesn’t have her pick of shows any longer. They’re joined by a professional comic, and a celebrity chef. Along with June Colby, the host and producer of “Spooky Times!”, and the show’s resident medium, the group is there for the filming of a reality show. They’ll all be locked in the hall overnight, and expected to overreact to anything that happens to them while locked in there.

But June hasn’t provided them with all of the background of the hall. They’re not all prepared for the strange sounds, and terrible conditions in the hall. Time and again, as the show’s “God-botherer”, Alistair finds himself acting as the voice of reason as others are angry or terrified. When the first death occurs, it’s obvious to Alistair that there is a murderer in their group.

Green has fun creating a terrifying atmosphere for a paranormal reality show, with all the expectations and the low caliber of celebrities involved. I guessed who the killer was quite early in the book, but it was fun to watch the bishop put everything together. And, the wordplay between him and the actress, Diana, was entertaining.

Without spoiling much, I can say Alistair Kincaid survives, probably to appear in the next book in the series. He’s another one of Green’s calm, intelligent heroes, one that will be fun to read about in the books that follow The Holy Terrors.

Was this review helpful?

Four strangers locked in a haunted building overnight with two TV “personalities”, their every action and emotion covered by hidden cameras, all in pursuit of a payday that’s not going to be nearly as generous as their agents led them to expect.

Sounds like the perfect setup for a “Reality TV” program. Or a joke. Or, in this particular case, a joke of a reality TV show that is desperate to recapture the market share it lost much longer ago than its presenter is willing to admit. Or allow.

Put another way, a has-been comedian, a wannabe almost-celebrity chef, an outspoken bishop and an actress whose career isn’t what it used to be, walk into a haunted town hall to film an episode of ‘Spooky Time!’ with its resident medium AND its indefatigable host.

There should be a punchline coming for that joke. And there certainly is for at least some of the participants. At least for the ones that survive the night.

Anyone who has any illusions left about the exact amount of ‘reality’ present in a so-called reality TV show needs to check those illusions before the first page – because they’ll all be spoiled although the plot of the book certainly is not.

From the moment the time-locks ominously click shut and the lights start to go out, it’s clear to the participants that something has gone even wronger than they expected after seeing the dilapidated state of the place they’re supposed to be spending the night. But in the gloomy, shadowed and downright spooky atmosphere, it’s all too easy to chalk up their fears to the idea that something supernatural might be stalking their number.

But as the Bishop says to the Actress, that doesn’t add up. It’s clear, at least to him, that they are being led astray by their own guilts and fears. And even though there is an entirely different sort of ‘leading astray’ that the Actress would prefer to do to the Bishop, she’s willing to trust him to see her through this long and particularly dark night.

Escape Rating B-: I ended up with a LOT of mixed feelings about this one, some of which may have to do with having no love or even liking for so-called reality TV. (Although, honestly, if the author has any love for that genre it’s a particularly twisted version of it.)

It’s clear from the outset that all of the so-called ‘supernatural’ events are planned and prepared, that the show is on its last legs and the guests were chosen for their gullibility, their expendability, or both. And because they were relatively cheap – just like the all-night rental of the supposed ‘Most Haunted Hall in England.’

Particularly as, in spite of all the horror implications of the blurb and the Goodreads genre assignment, the title of the series to follow has it right, The Holy Terrors is a mystery and not horror at all.

Which means that the reader’s enjoyment of and/or absorption in this story relies on either getting caught up in the mystery or being charmed by its characters – many of whom are not charming at all.

Although the Bishop and the Actress certainly are, and their increasing charm with each other does help carry readers along. Which is a good thing, because ‘whodunnit’ was obvious long before the big reveal – complete with a bit of good old-fashioned villain monologuing – at the end.

As the first book in a series that looks like it will follow the adventures of the Bishop and the Actress as they have more mysterious and possibly spooky adventures, there’s a fair amount of heavy lifting to be done that doesn’t feel like it’s completely done by the book’s end.

Because I’m not totally sure what the newly christened “Holy Terrors” will actually be doing in their future adventures – beyond that they’ll be doing them together. It’s not clear even at the end of this book and I’ve been guessing throughout.

Not that I won’t ‘tune back in’ to find out when the next book appears. I just hope it’s a bit more clear by then AND that it doesn’t sidle quite so close to the territory the author has already occupied by Ishmael Jones and his partner Penny Belcourt.

One final note to say thanks for the memories, the facepalm and the headslap – not necessarily in that order and definitely not as the Actress said to the Bishop – which is what all of the above are referencing.

This entire story – and quite possibly the series intended to follow – is part of a long-running British tradition of jokes and/or clichés (your mileage may vary on which they are) of double entendres that begin or end with “as the bishop said to the actress” or the other way around. Phrases that take on a sexual overtone, undertone, or alternate meaning by adding that phrase that either way is roughly equivalent to a joke ending, “that’s what she (or he) said”.

It niggled at me through the whole book as something familiar, but I was caught up just enough in the mystery at hand and the bell didn’t ring until AFTER I finished the book. Because that phrase, in popular parlance in British in the 1930s, was one that Simon Templar, The Saint, used frequently and often in the original books by Leslie Charteris – of which I read as many as I could find back in the dark ages after seeing bits of the TV series starring Roger Moore in syndication way back when.

I don’t remember that phrase from the TV series, but in the books, Templar used it frequently, often and as intended. Honestly, I’m not even sure I was quite old enough to get the double entendres at the time I read the books, but the whole thing stuck in my memory and thereby hangs that facepalm and headslap.

Because if this series continues, the whole entire thing has the potential to be a series of investigations where the Bishop and the Actress are going to have a LOT to say to each other. And quite possibly do with and to each other between solving mysteries.

Was this review helpful?

The Holy Terrors is the start of Simon R Green's new series dealing with supernatural mysteries. The novel follows Alistair a bishop, Diana an actress, Toby a comedian, Indira a celebrity chef, Leslie a medium, and lastly June host and producer for the show Spooky Times. The characters are investigating the most haunted town hall in England, locked in for a night of frights.

I have been a fan of Simon R Green's since his Secret Histories series. and the summary for this seemed right up my alley. I have to say the author missed the mark for me. It still has the witty writing I have come to expect from the author but the dialogue takes up most of the book which detracts from giving an eerie atmosphere for the book. I didn't get a feel that they were in any real danger even when people had died. And the quick father/daughter relationship between Indira and Toby was not believable for me. I don't know maybe I am too used to the author's more fantasy heavy novels but this novel was not for me.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for an ARC for The Holy Terrors.

Was this review helpful?

Rating of 3.5.

Established thriller author Simon R. Green produces a fun and compelling read with The Holy Terrors, a cool book with an interesting plot idea behind it.

The Holy Terrors was an intriguing book from Simon R. Green that I had a fun time getting through. Short and very sweet, The Holy Terrors made good use of its compelling plot idea, which saw a bishop, a diva, a comedian, a celebrity chef, a psychic and a TV producer become trapped in a haunted town hall. While that sounds like the set up to an elaborate joke, it produces a great plot background for an entertaining novel that you can quickly power through.

I loved the author’s idea of simultaneously parodying ghost shows and the reality television crowd, while also presenting the reader with a unique locked-room mystery scenario that might or might not be caused by supernatural forces. Thanks to these ideas, I think the overall story was pretty good and proved to be quite exciting. Green sets everything up nicely, and you are quickly drawn into the plot, especially as you know that there is something bad on the horizon. After a few early scare elements, you are led nicely to the centre of the story, where one of the characters dies and the rest are left scrambling to figure out who or what is trying to kill them. This proves to be a great backbone for much of the story, and the initial range of characters are fun.

While I enjoyed how the book was set up, I think that it slightly fell apart in the second half. The story gets a bit silly in places, and it is easy to predict what the subsequent order of death was going to be. I did enjoy how Green tried to keep the reader guessing about whether this was a horror novel or a murder mystery, especially as there are some great psychic inclusions, apparitions, and other mysterious occurrences. However, despite the included misdirection, the answer to this question proved to be a bit obvious. The eventual culprit reveal was predictable, as it was literally the most obvious suspect there, and Green’s method reveal was pretty unsubtle. Still, the final confrontation was nicely written, and I liked the cool conclusion to the plot. in the end, The Holy Terrors proves to be quite an easy book to get through quickly, and I manage to finish it off in two sessions.

While Green proved adept at creating a chilling atmosphere and utilising it well in his story, I did have certain issues when it came to the characters. The author does come up with six interesting main figures for the story, each of which is a celebrity reality star archetype, and there are some fascinating dives into their backstories, especially during an emotional sequence near the climax. However, for the most part I felt these characters were underdeveloped, and Green could have showcased them a little better. Certain relationships between some of the characters were a bit forced, and quite a few interactions felt unusual. I also found some of the dialogue to be a bit stilted and weak in places, and it could have come across as a bit more natural. These elements let down The Holy Terrors’ promising plot to a degree, although I still managed to have fun getting through it.

Overall, The Holy Terrors was an interesting read from Simon Green that you can have an entertaining time with. The author’s intriguing scenario does prove quite compelling, and while certain elements of the book were not as strong as I would have hoped, you can easily power through this book in no time at all. As such, The Holy Terrors is a great book for anyone looking for a quick and efficient novel that tries to blur the line between horror and murder mystery.

For other exciting reviews and content, check out my blog at:

Was this review helpful?

was really enthralled with this book. I thought it was going to be a book about the supernatural and it turned out to be a whole different type of book. There were times I was just as baffled as Allistair as to what was happening. The book had a really great twist. I had fun reading this novel.

Was this review helpful?

The Holy Terrors by Simon R. Green, I enjoyed it. Green is a good author and I am always on the lookout for his books as they come out. A TV show looking for ratings, and down on their luck celebrities wanting to make an impact, combined with a Haunted house what could go wrong.

Was this review helpful?

I've long felt that, if you've read one Simon R. Green book, you've pretty much read them all, but with his longer series, such as the Nightside and the Droods, there are enough secondary characters and enough storylines to make them very worthwhile reading.

Not so with his more recent series, including this new (and hopefully short-lived) one, beginning with The Holy Terrors. He has his typical two main characters, a male antihero and a supporting female who, in this case, is much less kickass than his norm, and a few cannon fodder, I mean, supporting characters who are fairly indistinguishable from one another. It’s a good thing they become so attached to each other, because I didn’t care about any of them, and frankly was hoping they would all meet their untimely ends quickly, so that I could call the book finished.

Now, it wasn’t a terrible book, but it wasn’t up to the standard of Green’s earlier works, and I think that’s the problem I’ve had with a lot of his recent stuff. It just feels formulaic and like he’s phoning it in. Maybe it’s always been that way, and I just didn’t have the discernment to realize that, but it’s disappointing.

Why you should read it: If you haven’t read any of Green’s older works, and you like reality-type haunted house shows, you might like this.

Why you shouldn’t read it: Unlikeable and unmemorable characters, stale and predictable plot. Go pick up the first Nightside or Drood book instead.

I received an advance copy from Severn House via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

2 out of 5 stars.

Was this review helpful?

The premise of this book sounded intriguing but was really kind of a dud. A group of C-list celebrities spends the night in the "most haunted hall in England" and has their every move on camera. However, things start to go wrong almost immediately; the host and her pet medium can't get the director or crew to respond and then someone dies by mysterious circumstances.
This was short and supposedly the start of a series but I don't think I'll be tuning in for the next episode.

*Special thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for this e-arc.*

Was this review helpful?