DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...

Read my novel: Complete Darkness

Listen to the PODCAST I co-host: Hosts in the Shell

Saturday, October 01, 2022

Matt teams up with the Exiles (review)



Daniel Blythe (@danblythewriter) 


Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)


“ She could smell burning flesh. She didn’t know if it was her own.

She was screaming inside. Beth knew the scene from a thousand safety visuals.

In her mind she saw the ship, a vast slab covered in twinkling lights, a flying mega-

city, now in flames. Burning itself to death.… ”

Strap in for launch - we’re off to a distant galaxy where young Bethany Aurelia Kane, Sister in the Chapter of Continual Progress, Citizen of the Galactic Collective, has cheated death. Now, the fun begins as she has to fight for her life.

Crash landing on The Edge (a penal colony - not the guy from U2) in an escape pod launched from a great starship, Beth finds herself stranded on a planet light years from civilisation - but she isn’t alone. 

Here, in a kind of YA nod to Alien 3 are a group of young prisoners who have converted a scientific base into a makeshift home. These delinquents have survived against the odds by planting crops, sourcing fresh water, and establishing electrical power – aided by a contingent of mechanised Drones.

So far, so good - but The Edge isn’t a hospitable place and storms, power failures, illness and death are just a few of the challenges the teenage exiles battle. As Beth accustoms herself to her new life on The Edge, she has to overcome her fears, learn new skills and earn the respect of leader Zach, the arrogant Colm, the resentful Mia and the others. But when a terrible, violent event shatters the colony’s existence, it seems nothing will ever be the same. Who among them is a killer? And just how isolated are they really?…

As the clock ticks towards a final revelation, Beth needs all her new skills and resourcefulness to stop The Edge from plunging into anarchy. And she has her own secret too – one which will prove decisive in the battle for survival…

Modestly describing itself as ‘A stunning YA dystopian novel’ on amazon Exiles is a fun read which should appeal to sci-fi fans of all ages. Blythe brings a host of great ideas to this murdery space mystery and it you’ll soon be lapping up the intrigue that befalls the characters. Beth is a wickedly cool heroine who gets some great lines - my personal fav being the short but sweet message ‘for you and all creatures like you’ she gives when confronting an unexpected enemy.

The tension between the convicts and Beth is well worked. Suspicion and danger that feels like a tribute to Lord of the Flies or Lost - Blythe mines the dark recesses of human fear and anger to bring things to a suitably exciting climax.

Exiles is great, bordering on the ‘stunning’ but certainly an easy book to recommend without hesitation! Let’s hope Blythe returns to this universe at some future point!!

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4.5 - Exiles is a full-on murder-in-space adventure - jump in...)

Get your copy of Exiles - Buy Link 


Daniel Blythe was born in Maidstone and attended Maidstone Grammar School and St John's College, Oxford, then Christ Church University, Canterbury. As well as being a writer he has worked as a tour guide, a languages tutor, a translator, a Lifelong Learning development worker and a tutor of Creative Writing.

He is the author of several novels for children and adults, as well as a writer of non-fiction on subjects as diverse as popular music, politics, collecting gadgets and games, parenting and the history of robotics. He has written several of the official Doctor Who books licensed by the BBC, including Autonomy. Daniel's first book with a teenage narrator was The Cut, which was followed by further novels Losing Faith and This is the Day. In 2012 his first supernatural fantasy novel for young readers, Shadow Runners, was published. Emerald Greene and the Witch Stones (for age 9-12) was published in 2015 and a sequel Emerald Greene: Instruments of Darkness in 2017. He has written shorter 'reluctant reader' books called New Dawn, I Spy (nominated for the Leicester Reading Rampage Award 2018), Fascination, Kill Order, Hope and Truth and Kiss the Sky.

Daniel has worked as a visiting author in over 400 schools, and has taught on the MA in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University. He now mentors, advises and edits writers of all ages through Cornerstones UK and the Faber Academy and is a regular judge on the Novel Slam for the 'Off The Shelf' festival. Daniel lives in the Peak District, with his wife and their two student children.



Follow him at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/danielblythewriter/

Twitter : https://twitter.com/danblythewriter

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/danblythewriter/

This review is part of the most excellent ZOOLOOBOOKTOURSCREW...

>>> Imagine a world where the earth is becoming hell?

Click below to find out in my dark sci-fi novel...


Friday, September 30, 2022

Arcana believe it... Starfolk (review) with Martha Dunlop


The Starfolk Arcana 

Martha Dunlop (@MarthaDunlop)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“The energy materialised next to her as a dazzling light being. He had blond hair that reached his waist, his eyes were a clear violet, and his ears rose into delicate points…”

Prepare for a fantasy romance that will take you on a highly charged magical journey – meet Beth and Johan – star(folk) crossed lovers who’ve spent lifetimes being pulled apart. Now, they’re ready to fight for their love as destiny calls them. But even as these two soulmates draw closer but one woman stands in their way.

Beth has psychic senses and finds people around her are also cards in a new ‘Starfolk’ tarot deck she buys – it seems that destiny is having fun with her.

Jonan has waited an eternity to be with the woman who haunts his dreams. When he finally finds his soulmate it seems that his nemesis named Amelia is determined to stand in his way.

Spinning tales of supernatural threats to her adoring fan base, she builds a personality cult through fear of the paranormal. As her power grows, she does her best to scare Beth away from Jonan and plans to reclaim him for herself.

Drawn together by deeply buried memories from before birth, the soul connection between the characters opens windows into both their histories and their destiny.

I enjoyed The Starfolk Arcana, Dunlop writes with a spookily compelling style, bringing characters to life effectively and using local knowledge of St Albans to bring smiles to those who know the area.

Having read some fantasies that have great ideas but don’t deliver on the art of storytelling this is a refreshing book that brings the complete supernatural package to the party.

I had the pleasure of meeting Martha through the Society of Authors group that I chair. So I asked her some Q’s so you can get to know her a bit better:

Hi Matt, thank you so much for welcoming me onto your blog!

Matt: If you were granted the powers of a master magic wielder who or what would be your nemesis?

Martha: If I was a magic wielder, I would illuminate and heal people, animals and situations, to help people find their way to their best futures. In my Starfolk books, Amelia is a celebrity who controls people by whipping up fear of the paranormal. She would be my nemesis, because that ability to drag people into the depths and surround them with negativity makes everything harder. So she would be my polar opposite.

Matt: What is the most life-affirming thing you’ve ever read or watched in a book/film of any genre?

Martha: Honestly, Outlander. Diana Gabaldon puts her characters through the most awful traumas, but they are so resilient, and they use their challenges to become stronger and more connected.

When I need strength, I watch Outlander.

Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be?

Martha: It would be a tarot parade! We would dress up as the fabulous archetypes from the tarot and people would give and receive readings along the way. The road would be lined with gongs, singing bowls and sound healers and we would dance, sing, and explore all the stages of human experience as illustrated in the deck. And, of course, we would buy more decks! It would be amazing!

Matt: You are blessed with a supernatural power to bless the world, what does that look like for you?

Martha: I would choose healing. Being able to heal people physically and emotionally would be incredible.

Matt: Who or what inspires you most (can be living or dead)?

Martha: Honestly, stories of all kinds. Books, songs, theatre, films, stories that have that extra something, that lift you out of yourself and put you into a new world, seeding something inside you. In that moment it feels like anything is possible. That sense of pure potential is so magical.

'boo! scared ya - it's me Martha'

Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask?

Martha: It’s got to be the character in my book without a name. My protagonists call him the Brute. My antagonist, Amelia, calls him the Sheep. He does a lot of bad things in Amelia’s name, but turns out to be one of her biggest victims. We do find out his name in the end, but it takes a long time. He must be fed up of everything I’ve put him through by now!

Matt: What is the meaning of life?

Martha: Learning. I believe we’re here to learn how to become our best selves, moving through our challenges to find our authentic, magical and non-defensive selves.

Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given?

Martha: My Mum overheard little-girl Martha telling her friend that the best present she could receive was a signed hardback of The BFG. So my Mum wrote to Roald Dahl and guess what I got for Christmas!

Matt: If you could create a sidekick familiar – what would it be able to do for you?

Martha: My familiar is definitely my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and he’d get insanely jealous if he had to share me. We communicate very well, but if I could give him the ability to help me, I’d create a telepathic link with him and allow him to use his significant charm to soften situations up for me and report back!

Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone?

Martha: Martha Dunlop. Creator of worlds.

Matt: Any final words you like to add...

Martha: All my books, are on Kindle Unlimited, and I also have a Starfolk Prequel short Story, Starfolk Illusions, which is free to my newsletter subscribers. If you’d like to sign up to receive it, go to

www.marthadunlop.com, hit subscribe, and enjoy!

Thanks again for having me on your blog!

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4 - Starfolking is the new tarot craze...)

Buy your copy of  The Startfolk Arcana here: AMAZON LINK

Still reading?  In the mood for something chilling? May I recommend this new anthology for which I had the pleasure of writing the foreword for and submitting a short story that is included. Proceeds go to charity too so jump in (click the image below):

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Matt is creeped out by The Innocents

The Innocents (15)

Dir. Eskil Vogt 

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

“We don’t need you, we can stop him, we have to…”


Children can certainly be scary, and I don’t mean in the ‘drain your money and energy; way that parents experience. Here we have some actually menacing kids building on a horror staple – from the old school creepiness in The Village of the Damned, callous antics of the Children of the Corn and the heart-breaking murderousness of the classic Let the Right One In (My Review).


Here we meet young Ida (Rakel Lenora Fløttum), a pre-teen who has just moved into a new apartment complex with her parents (Ellen Dorrit Pedersen and Morten Svartveit) and autistic elder sister Anna (Alva Brynsmo Ramstad). Things start off building up the sense of the mundane existence of newcomers, but things take a turn when Ida makes a new pal, Ben (Sam Ashraf), and realises that he has a form of telekinesis.

Things start small and innocent enough – making bottle tops change direction when dropped etc but the children keep this discovery a secret from the grownups around them. It seems that there are other children in the same tower block with supernatural abilities too and initially it even seems beneficial when it helps Anna start to begin to find a way to speak.

The Innocents builds up slowly, an incident of horrible cruelty to a cat, a violent retaliation for bullying, but before long there is a body count and some horrific happenings.

What unfolds is a fascinating treatise on the cruel secrets’ children harbor and what they might do if given the power to hurt those around them. Don’t come expecting action or a fast pace, Director Vogt takes plenty of time to turn the screw of the situation but the pay-off is excellent and a breath-taking quiet climax that takes place under the very noses of the adults around them.

The Innocents is an exceptional film that deserves to build a reputation as a cult classic, a new kind of nightmare that takes existing tropes and energizes them to deliver something memorable.

Out of a potential 5, you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4 - X-Kids can be cruel too

Awesomeness öööö – some scenes will stay with you

Laughs ö – not much funny business 

Horror ööö
ö – burst of grimness 

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - not so innocent

Imagine a world where the earth is becoming hell?

Click below to find out about my dark sci-fi novel...



Sunday, September 04, 2022

Matt is bitten by The Wolves of War - The Beckoning (review)

The Wolves Of War: The Beckoning


T.L. Campbell (@TCampbellAuthor


Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)


“ …Songs of heroes and legends fed the ears of people throughout the city. Ale and wine ran thick and fast down the throats of all, even the special brewing that the Dwarves brought along with them… ”

OK fantasy nerds, pause watching House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power for a moment… Here’s a great fantasy book that is very much worthy of your time.

Meet young Prince Maxin, almost fourteen and instead of a PS5, his birthday present is to finally become a man… Yes as second in line to the throne behind his elder brother, Belthran, he is obligated to hand-pick his own ten-man army to command. 

Maxin sees this as an opportunity to prove to his family and the kingdom of Ar'Gurd that he has what it takes to be a warrior, like his brother, and a leader, like his father. But is he tho??

His quest for recruits is rudely interrupted by a full-scale pirate attack - cue fights and fleeing through the  Ar'Gurdian kingdom. Maxin has to journey to various cities with names like Paran-Dun, meeting other races including Dwarves, Elves and wet, wizards!? Will his brother stab him in the back or help him, what about his dad the King?

Maxin’s mission to raise those who can help fight sees him travel through a perilous wilderness is choc with fantasy staples like mystical woodlands and cavernous canyons, ravenous beasts to untrustworthy strangers.

The very fate of the kingdom rests on his young shoulders - will he make it and spawn a sequel? Only one way to find out…

Just for reference - this is NOT the same T L Campbell

I met Tommy (which is what the T in T L Campbell stands for) at the Tales on Trent event this year - he’s a good sort and I got to ask him some Q’s - so read on to get to know him a bit better:

Matt: If scientists ever managed to create a giant mecha version of you –

who or what would be your nemesis?

Tommy: Animal hunters.


Matt: What is the most disturbing fictional scene you’ve ever read or

watched in a book / film of any genre?

Tommy: The ending of The Mist(the film). It’s not so much disturbing, as i’m not so easily disturbed, but it’s one scene that I have always watched and though ‘that’s just brutal.’

Matt: You can bring back two people from the dead - who would they be and why?

Tommy: My dad, because I was really close with him, caring for him for 7 years, up until I was 17. It’d be nice to have that opportunity to spend time with him as an adult now. Stephen Hawking, because he for me, he is the smartest man to ever live. If we were ever going to truly find out about the magnitude of the Universe, and the ‘meaning of life’ so to speak, then Hawking would have been the man to do it. Plus I’d love to just sit there and talk science with him. 

Matt: You’re in a strange town with £100,000 that you have to spend in a

single evening – talk me through what you get up to…

Tommy: Probably nothing too exciting(sorry to disappoint) I’m a man of food, so I’d find a buffet and eat my fill. I would then likely go shopping and waste my money on stuff that I definitely don’t need. If there’s any leftover at the end of the night, then I’d find a casino and stick the rest on Red(that’s if I get to keep what I win) if not, then I guess I’ll give the remainder to charity, maybe one supporting Marine life. 

Matt: You’re asked for a line of ‘Wisdom’ that will be taught to every citizen on earth - what is your line??

Tommy: I would certainly steal from J.R.R. Tolkien on this one. ‘All we have to decide, is what to do with the time that is given us.’ It’s my favourite quote, and it’s such a powerful saying that is so true to life, and anything that you might be going through. 

the foretold 'King Campbell'

Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask?

Tommy: Someone trying to steal my ideas for a new book perhaps?

Matt: What is the meaning of life?

Tommy: To live each day, and make the world flourish, and be sustainable for centuries to come. Enjoy the life you’ve been given, and respect the planet you live on. 

Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given?

Tommy: Life. It sounds cliche, but without it, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience everything this world has to offer. 

Matt: If you could have a sidekick from a fantasy world – what would it be and do for you?

Tommy: Jason Voorhees. Everyone needs protection right? Although, I’m not sure how he’d feel about being labelled a sidekick.

Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone?

Tommy: All legends must come to an end. But their stories live on.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4 - Fantasy has a new hero author…)

Buy your copy of Rosie Shadow here: https://geni.us/sBXRJ

Still reading?  In the mood for something chilling? May I recommend this new anthology for which I had the pleasure of writing the foreword for and submitting a short story that is included. Proceeds go to charity too so jump in (click the image below):

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Matt is brutalligatored and loves it...


This house is too big, this house is too small

BRUTALLIGATORS (@brutalligators)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

What have we here?? 

Self-described as a four-piece pile of limbs and awkwardness – possibly the coolest Hertfordshire-based band named Brutalligators ever!?

They comprise of vocalist Luke Murphy, guitarist Paul Wade, bassist Simon Lee and drummer Rhys Kirkman and have released their wicked debut album: This house is too big, this house is too small. 

I’ve really enjoyed the band’s singles including Coffee & Codeine (which they marketed with their own coffee, but not codeine alas). The album rocks with nods to ragers reminiscent of Funeral for a Friend, but also punky influences like Carter USM in their savagely witty wordplay, if far more guitar-based… There’s some Emo in there too and enough sheer energy to make This House is too big a great driving soundtrack!

very cool merch available too

With rants against the Tories, honesty about anxiety and depression, some soulful heartbreak ponderings and a lot of ‘modern life is rubbish’ observation, Luke once said  “Most of the lyrics I write are a mixture of reality, washes of feeling or sentiment and complete fiction, all mixed up together.” 

I saw Weezer at the Hella Mega Tour last month and if there was a UK equivalent then I'd vote Brutalligators to take that mantle!!

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - Get brutalligatored ASAP, you won't regret it...)

Get your copy of This house is too big, this house is too small

awkward limbs a go go

I got to ask the band some Q’s and this is what they said:

Matt: If a mad scientist turned you into a giant mecha, who or what would be  your nemesis?

Brutalligators: Priti Patel 


Matt: What is the most disturbing thing you’ve ever read or watched in a book/film of any genre?

Brutalligators: I'd say the eye scene in Audition is probably up there. 

Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be?

Brutalligators: I guess since we are technically an emo band it would have to be a Black Parade 

Matt:You are granted a supernatural power, what does that look like for you?

Brutalligators: The ability to reverse time by a minute. Would be good for not saying jokes that don't land and avoiding snapping strings on stage. 


Matt: Who or what inspires you most (can be living or dead)?

Brutalligators: Dennis Bergkamps goal against Nerwcastle in 2002 continues to be a great source of inspiration  

Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask?

Brutalligators: James Corden 


Matt: What is the meaning of life?

Brutalligators: Try to have fun and do the things you like as much as possible. I can't see much meaning beyond that. Oh and work less and get a cat. 

Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given?

Brutalligators: My sister once paid for me to get therapy at a time when I really needed it and couldn' afford it. Serious answer I know but it might just have been life saving. So yeah, therapy is awesome. Other than that probably a Mega Drive when I was about 10.  

Matt: If you could create a robot bandmate – what would it be able to do for you?

Brutalligators: Carry gear 


Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone?

Brutalligators: I like to think we will all get buried together, therefore it would say 'See ya later, Brutalligator'  

Matt: Any final words you like to add...

Brutalligators: everything Brutalligators is here: https://linktr.ee/brutalligators

Book us to play your town xx

Imagine a world where the earth is becoming hell?

Click below to find out about my dark sci-fi novel...


Monday, August 29, 2022

Matt meets Rosie Shadow and is given the creeps (review)

Rosie Shadow

Louise Worthington

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“The aubade is as sweet as Daddy’s lullaby to a baby. When darkness falls, the sound of a lonely owl spills through its branches, settling in the shadows at the base of the trunk where it shouldn’t travel any further.”

We all know some children who are literally little horrors but damn, Rosie Shadow is right up there and if you want to be creeped out – this little six years old is a terrifying monster that will get in your head and mess it up… 

It could be something to do with having a demon for a dad, but destruction follows Rosie everywhere (and let’s not mention the animal mutilation or self-burial that she lists as one of her hobbies). Her Majesty’s Prison Shortbury, might be a fascinating Medieval tourist attraction but most people don’t get the secret tour which takes in the creepy underworld thriving in Ward ‘D’… I mean, it is not like there are demons down there feeding from the dead is it, oh wait, *checks notes*, sorry it DOES look like that’s what’s happening…

Rosie Shadow is a weird book that crams in a host of horror tropes. Some work really well – the scary Rosie being the star of this show, but others feel a bit shoehorned in just to try and up the horror factor.

There are car crashes, cannibalism, a Pagan yew tree, demons and more to explore, it’s a veritable horror all-you-can-eat buffet. You’ll be drawn into the obviously unwell mind of author Louise Worthington trying to guess who it is that decorates the branches of the yew tree where Clare's boyfriend crashed his car, what the voices in prison walls in time are trying to say and whether it’s possible to escape the orbit of destruction that Rosie Shadow seems to have… 

Yep, this is a dark and twisty Gothic horror, perfect for fans of writers like Gemma Amor, Laurel Hightower and Ania Ahlborn. If you like to be horrified by gore, disturbed as vile characters do nasty things and repulsed but little Rosie herself – step right this way horror lovers!!

This review is part of the excellent www.zooloosbooktours.co.uk 

'Rosie Shadow as an adult, erm, I mean Louise'

Author Bio

Louise writes about the complexity and the darker side of the human heart in the genres of horror
and psychological thrillers. She is the author of six novels. Many of her novels explore
motherhood, mental health disorders, revenge and family. Her tales are imbued with strong
emotional themes and atmospheric settings. She has a degree in literature and a postgraduate
diploma in psychology. Louise lives on a farm in Shropshire, in the UK.
Her latest novel is Doctor Glass, and her poetry and shorts are brought together in the collection
Stained Glass Lives. Rosie Shadow is book one in the Black Tongue Series. Louise is currently
writing a psychological horror...

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4 - Here be not just a little monster...)

Buy your copy of Rosie Shadow here: https://geni.us/sBXRJ

Still reading?  In the mood for something chilling? May I recommend this new anthology for which I had the pleasure of writing the foreword for and submitting a short story that is included. Proceeds go to charity too so jump in (click the image below):

Tweet this...