Author: Solomon Strange
Publisher: Self published
Rating: 5/10
Credit: The author, Solomon Strange, for providing us with a review copy. Thank you.

Ebethusa, The (2011) by Solomon Strange

After renowned psychologist and grumpy old sceptic, Professor Ruth Simmons, is mauled to death by maladjusted bipedal dogs with funny long noses, her once student, secret admirer and all round nice guy, Doctor Mike Patterson, attends the funeral and, after nervously eyeballing her hot daughter, decides to investigate the mystery behind dear old Ruth’s unexpected trip to the netherworld. What he finds is a world of mystery, murder and mayhem with a Frenchman named Hugo de Chauncey at the centre of it. Mike joins him there without having to lick anything, except Becky Simmons, and as the mystery deepens he very briefly considers that his own scepticism might be misplaced. All roads lead to an ancient tome called The Ebethusa, supposedly of extra-terrestrial origin, and Hugo de Chauncey turns out to be a powerful adversary who, through its use, seemingly controls violent creatures from another dimension called Hybrids.

The Ebethusa is the debut novel of UK author Solomon Strange. Mr Strange is also a fictional character in his own right, with a brief but mysterious history described on his website. The novel is a blend of sci-fi and supernatural horror elements with dollops of ghosts, quantum physics, extra-terrestrials, ancient cultures and cheap paperback eroticism added to the mix. At the time of review Mr Strange is working on two more novels, both apparently self-published for electronic release, as was the case with The Ebethusa. Unfortunately, The Ebethusa puts its tender virgin feet into many of the traps that so often sever the limbs of unsuspecting debut novels.

At times the story seemed obsessed with meaningless details, such as the way equipment was set-up in a room, or the brands of the things being described. Many characters in the story seem to exist to fill pages rather than add any real substance to the unfolding plot. Blasphemy is overused to the point of monotony, the words “Jesus”, “God” and “Christ” appearing more than super-special-editions of the King James Bible. The novel’s only sex scene is incredibly unromantic and awkward, reminiscent of the puppet sex scene from Team America: World Police. When, at one point, the author casually remarks about how the woman is not firm but proportionate for her age, while also describing the act as oily, I could not help but laugh out loud while simultaneously thinking that she requires the help of a different kind of doctor.

Pacing is uneven throughout and the initially promising story heads to a rushed and almost silly Scooby Doo like ending. The main protagonist remains so irrationally sceptical in spite of what is happening around him, that it was hard to take him seriously as a person. Characters are often referred to as “the psychologist” or “the young woman” instead of by their names, and while this is standard practice and fine if done conservatively, it is overused in this book and becomes distracting.

The novel’s conclusion arrives so suddenly it seemed the author had simply grown tired of his novel and wanted to finish it as quickly as possible. The one minute the protagonists are desperately seeking answers and the next everything is solved and wrapped up in a neat little bow with little explanation of what had taken place, or why they had succeeded where so many others had failed. This is a pity, because The Ebethusa is a novel with a lot of potential. It builds like a thunderstorm, but then fades like a rainbow, leaving you wondering where the lightning went all of a sudden.

For all its faults, however, The Ebethusa is an entertaining read, and Solomon Strange is definitely an author to watch in the future. With two more novels en-route, and work that should only get better with experience, it is only a matter of time before he is picked up for traditional publication. I can recommend The Ebethusa to anybody looking for a light sci-fi horror read.

I give The Ebethusa 5 out of 10… and an oily moistness in this review.

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GraveDave rose from the ashes of a zombie apocalypse and now runs a small horror review website named Life After Undeath when he's not out grunting and eating people.

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2 Responses to Ebethusa, The (2011) by Solomon Strange

  • Solomon Strange says:

    Please don’t take my comments personally. I have just read the hilarious attempt at a book review of my novel, The Ebethusa. The comparison between my work and Scooby Doo is quite simply ludicrous. I really don’t know what this guy was reading. This review, if you can call it that, is childish and sarcastic with nothing in the way of constructive criticism. Perhaps he would be better reviewing children’s comics. I don’t mind criticism but these comments are harsh and unbalanced without a true understanding of the plot or characters, it’s as though he has read segments of the novel and tried to do a comedic review which fails on every level and is completely out of step with all reviews by authors and fans to date.For example, the love scene is meant to be awkward and unromantic because they are both experiencing psychological trauma. The phrase “proportionate for her age” shows that she is a real woman, not an over aerobic waif. Professor Simmons was his mentor not lover – does he know the difference? Bipedal dogs, what the hell are they? The story builds to a frantic double whammy climax and is explained away even in terms he should have understood, obviously he didn’t. Blasphemy? Hello! We live in the real world, we all use it. What is he some kind of prude? Jesus, next thing he’ll be saying is there’s too much blood in horror stories. I can only assume that this has been written by someone with little experience, either that or they are just trying character assasination to titillate viewers on this website. I could go on and on but quite frankly I just don’t have the time to waste. This person really needs to go back to his bookstore and forget about writing reviews, leave that to the professionals. This is not a well balanced critique, just a joke! Also I have not given you permission to use any images or videos they are under copyright and I strongly advise you to remove them with immediate effect. I do not wish to be associated with this website now or in the future. Solomon Strange

    • GraveDave says:

      Dear Solomon Strange,

      Thank you for your reply. It is unfortunate that you seek out public evaluation, and yet are offended when a reviewer does not share your opinion that your debut novel is a masterpiece. Others might well agree with you, and it is their prerogative, but all people need not share the same opinions or express them in the same ways. It is called freedom of speech.

      Before requesting a review from a site, you should carefully read some of the existing reviews to determine the tone and style of the site involved. Agreeing to do a review of your work does not equate to a promise to only write flattering things about it. You are complaining about sarcasm on a site built almost exclusively on it. We (more than one reviewer gave input for your review) do not mind blasphemy, just when it happens so frequently that it gets repetitive and distracting. There are a multitude of swear words in the English language and variety is the spice of life.

      Saying that you are a promising author that should be watched, and is bound to get picked up for publication, is hardly character assassination. Furthermore, you actually did send us the link to your video to use, which is also posted on YouTube for public consumption, but even if you had not, use of your copyrighted video and images in any review is protected under fair use laws, in the USA, the UK and more or less every other democratic country on the planet. This applies to big film studios with lots of lawyers and their blockbuster movies too.

      We would suggest that if you are so averse to perspectives that do not flatter you, aspiring author might not be an ideal career choice. You will have to make peace with the fact that a criticism on your work is not a personal attack, and an ad-hominem attack on the reviewer not a proper response. We doubt Stephen King is currently out trolling review blogs. We would have preferred to discuss your misgivings personally, but as you have chosen this public forum, we will leave our reply here with your angry one so that other prospective authors are under no misapprehension that we will give our honest opinion, in an off-beat fashion, every single time, and will not be bullied into taking them down by knee-jerk reactions. You are, however, free to consider yourself disassociated; just don’t imagine that whatever degree of association you assign yourself somehow restrains us from reviewing any of your other books.

      Best wishes,
      Life After Undeath

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