For Stuart Keane's latest release - Cine, we return to Lake Whisper, a place that has seen its fair share of horror.
The town has a new cinema - A state of the art business, with its choice of eleven screens it is by far the most established cinema within the county (at least).
The book is written in a day by day format, starting with the Cinema opening on Thursday – Day Zero and following through to its finale on the following Friday.
The hustle and bustle of the lobby, a mix up over the payment of their tickets sees a couple of cinema goers exchanging words with a rude girl in the queue after sniping at them from beneath her beanie hat and hoodie. A cinema worker observes the altercation from a distance whilst standing on his pedestal surveying his domain - Enter Keeley and Jordan. We cut to a scene where the same woman is forced to make a decision that could result in life or death. From a distance, an observer watches.
The next section sees the introduction of the main characters, Huey and Leonard, Gemma a girl with a traumatic childhood, her friend Louise and her older sister Michelle. Michelle and Leonard are unofficially an item, he has tickets for the brand new cinema and has offered to take the group. We also get introduced to Alex - a local business man and Huey's employer. His main source of business - protection and racketeering, he is decided on shaking down Robert Benton, the cinema owner, something that doesn’t quite go to plan.
Saturday morning and the friends meet up at the cinema to watch the film, it starts at 10am. Michelle and Leonard couple up leaving the remaining member of the group to chat between themselves. After the film, Huey offers to treat the group to a McDonalds, The only problem - One of them is missing. None of them can recall seeing them since during the film. The group begin to get concerned when they don't turn up after 30 minutes.
They report the disappearance to the police, DI James Sutton advises that there is nothing that the police can do officially for another six hours but promises to stop by at the cinema later that evening to look around – a decision that he will severely regret making, he finds the missing person, but at his own personal cost.
Invitations go out to the entire town, offering free tickets to a movie showing on Friday. The lure of a freebie leads half of the town to attend the showing as Robert Benton unveils his surprise – screen nine. A vast, six hundred seated auditorium where he is to put on a show that people have never seen the likes of.
This book has cemented Keane as a true kingpin of English horror writers in my mind, he portrays situations that are believable yet truly terrifying. As a reader you get the feeling that you are caught up in a Wes Craven movie. The background of each character is laid out perfectly, not a single detail is left out. It is fast paced, and although the story has many layers it flows seamlessly. There are several brutal scenes in various stages of the book and the tension builds day by day right up until the climax – total depravity, a blood bath that will leave even the most extreme horror fan in a state of shock. Look out for the cameo parts in the latter part of the book, and a couple of references to other stories by the author, superb work.