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Twenty Years Dead

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Six feet is not deep enough in this Mystery Thriller… After twenty years in the ground, the dead briefly rise. At his father’s grave, this is Dave’s last opportunity to discover why a man would abandon his wife and young son. Against the protests of his mother and his girlfriend, Dave is determined to learn what happened all those years ago. Sometimes you have to risk every Six feet is not deep enough in this Mystery Thriller… After twenty years in the ground, the dead briefly rise. At his father’s grave, this is Dave’s last opportunity to discover why a man would abandon his wife and young son. Against the protests of his mother and his girlfriend, Dave is determined to learn what happened all those years ago. Sometimes you have to risk everything, but the dead don’t give up their secrets so easily. Twenty Years Dead is a novella of quiet horror for fans of Paul Tremblay and Thomas Olde Heuvelt, which explores families and their secrets. Come listen when the Dead speak…


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Six feet is not deep enough in this Mystery Thriller… After twenty years in the ground, the dead briefly rise. At his father’s grave, this is Dave’s last opportunity to discover why a man would abandon his wife and young son. Against the protests of his mother and his girlfriend, Dave is determined to learn what happened all those years ago. Sometimes you have to risk every Six feet is not deep enough in this Mystery Thriller… After twenty years in the ground, the dead briefly rise. At his father’s grave, this is Dave’s last opportunity to discover why a man would abandon his wife and young son. Against the protests of his mother and his girlfriend, Dave is determined to learn what happened all those years ago. Sometimes you have to risk everything, but the dead don’t give up their secrets so easily. Twenty Years Dead is a novella of quiet horror for fans of Paul Tremblay and Thomas Olde Heuvelt, which explores families and their secrets. Come listen when the Dead speak…

37 review for Twenty Years Dead

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mort

    3.5 Stars Full review available at The Mort Report: https://www.uncomfortablydark.com/bla... 3.5 Stars Full review available at The Mort Report: https://www.uncomfortablydark.com/bla...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul Preston

    “My dad’s going to claw his way out of his grave after twenty years buried in the ground. What could possibly go wrong?”-David Imagine a world where exactly twenty years after a person has died, they temporarily come back to life. Twenty Years Dead is set in a graveyard and has the best atmosphere and characters. I could see the dim lights around the cemetery where people were waiting for the dead to breakout. Truly ghoulish with a plot that is hauntingly unearthed. Hints are dropped about restra “My dad’s going to claw his way out of his grave after twenty years buried in the ground. What could possibly go wrong?”-David Imagine a world where exactly twenty years after a person has died, they temporarily come back to life. Twenty Years Dead is set in a graveyard and has the best atmosphere and characters. I could see the dim lights around the cemetery where people were waiting for the dead to breakout. Truly ghoulish with a plot that is hauntingly unearthed. Hints are dropped about restraints, weapons to protect yourself, and the importance of being prepared. David wants to see his dad who died when David was very young. But the rising is not pleasant. The dead can be angry, confused and hostile. The way this story is revealed was incredible. Totally engaging and it kept me thinking about what I would do in David’s situation. It was unique, and it had me on the edge of my seat with curiosity.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Derwin

    Twenty Years Dead Richard Farren Barber Crystal Lake Publishing 27th May 2022 Welcome to Gilroes Cemetery David Chadwick and his girlfriend Helen have driven two hundred miles cross country so he could be there for The Rising - not connected to the Brian Keene books - of his dad. Helen doesn't want to be there, David doesn't want her there, but she insists, even as she points out he could've paid someone to sit and care for his dead father. But he was penny pinching, and also had little respect for t Twenty Years Dead Richard Farren Barber Crystal Lake Publishing 27th May 2022 Welcome to Gilroes Cemetery David Chadwick and his girlfriend Helen have driven two hundred miles cross country so he could be there for The Rising - not connected to the Brian Keene books - of his dad. Helen doesn't want to be there, David doesn't want her there, but she insists, even as she points out he could've paid someone to sit and care for his dead father. But he was penny pinching, and also had little respect for the 'Directors'. Besides, for years he wanted answers about his dad; answers his mom refused to give. Family Directors are hired for an exorbitant fee to ensure that those who rise on the twentieth anniversary of their death are 'taken care of'. As David waits and prepares to do his DIY version of dealing with a rising, the couple argue again. Despite the tension between them, part of David is grateful he doesn't have to face this alone. David doesn't know his dad, never has. And he doesn't know why his mom is so angry at his dad either. There are literal and metaphorical buried secrets in the cemetery and some secrets really should stay buried. As they wait, a couple of family directors approach him, one touting for work like he's bartering at a market. The other, Billy, offering  valuable advice. David of course sees them as leeches, or rather, vultures picking away at the remains of a carcass. There's almost a similie here between them and professionals such as nursing home staff, funeral directors and social services; a kind of necessary evil demanding payment for services rendered as a person is dying. Yet as we get to know something of Billy, we the reader and David, realise it is nothing like David expects. The scenes where Billy attempts to ease the rising are genuinely heartbreaking and eerily sympathetic. This book is full of grief, and pain and questions. And near the end, revelations which by now are not so shocking, because we have followed the trail of breadcrumbs through the story. There are some who take advantage of those who are grueving, but then there are those who aim to ease suffering, for which their career is a vocation. The descriptions of the risen bodies, the facts of death; all of these are gruesome but realistic. This is a truly magnificent, evocative piece of writing; both grim and darkly humorous. It is a novella I will remember for a very long time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

    I started this book with no real idea of what it would be about… the book cover was terrifying even in my kindle, a very sturdy looking wood chair with straps in the mist of graves, yeah that is only the tip in the iceberg, then I dived in, and it was terrifying, we learn that David and his girlfriend Helen are going to a cemetery, for a very special day… yeah I don’t really want to give spoilers, but we dive into the reason why David wanted to to this and we learn a lot about what is about to h I started this book with no real idea of what it would be about… the book cover was terrifying even in my kindle, a very sturdy looking wood chair with straps in the mist of graves, yeah that is only the tip in the iceberg, then I dived in, and it was terrifying, we learn that David and his girlfriend Helen are going to a cemetery, for a very special day… yeah I don’t really want to give spoilers, but we dive into the reason why David wanted to to this and we learn a lot about what is about to happen, and why David really shouldn’t be doing this… yeah it gets really scary, haunting and revelations are made without confirming those to us, I actually could have read this book in one sitting, but I started reading at night and when I got to chapter 7 I started to feel a bit scared because it felt like things were going to get real and had to leave to finish it in the morning hahah ^^ yeah I am that weak. I highly recommend this book, its different, haunting, makes us wonder about life and things we wish we could ask to people that are no longer with us… I thank Crystal Lake Publishing for the opportunity of reading an ARC for this book and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    I first reviewed Richard Farren Barber back in 2017 and having explored his impressive back catalogue became a huge fan and am always keen to check out his new fiction. Considering he has been published by a host of top indie presses including Black Shuck Books, Crossroad Press, Demain Publishing, and Hersham Horror Books it is surprising that he is not better known. Before we get onto the superb Twenty Years Dead (on Crystal Lake Publishing this time) here are some further top tips should you wi I first reviewed Richard Farren Barber back in 2017 and having explored his impressive back catalogue became a huge fan and am always keen to check out his new fiction. Considering he has been published by a host of top indie presses including Black Shuck Books, Crossroad Press, Demain Publishing, and Hersham Horror Books it is surprising that he is not better known. Before we get onto the superb Twenty Years Dead (on Crystal Lake Publishing this time) here are some further top tips should you wish to explore Richard’s work further. If there was such a thing as a novella ‘specialist’ then this author qualifies hands down and Closer Still (2018), a tale of a teenage girl haunted by her best friend is hard to beat, beautifully capturing the angst with the terror. I rated this piece so highly we placed it 35th in our top 50 YA novels of the last decade in a huge 2020 Ginger Nuts feature. Back in 2017 his post-apocalyptic thriller Perfect Darkness, Perfect Silence was in my top ten reads of the year and in 2019 Richard’s debut novel The Living and the Lost was another top ten choice. Richard has a very restrained style and rarely uses blood, thunder or sensationalism in his horror and this trademark was beautifully captured in his atmospheric novelette, The Coffin Walk. Sadly, his debut novel The Living and the Lost is currently out of print and I hope it finds a new publisher shortly as it is much too good to be unavailable, interestingly it shares a similar theme to Twenty Years Dead as they both concern the industry of ‘death’. In The Living and the Lost there is a council department which dealt with the spiritual ‘cleaning’ of houses after an individual dies. In Twenty Years Dead there is an occupation called ‘Family Director’, individuals who are paid to put the dead at peace when they briefly reanimate after twenty years, the highly original and core plotline of this new book. Like Richard’s previous novel The Screaming Dead (co-written with Peter Mark May), the action takes place entirely in a graveyard and on this occasion is set over a few hours. This was such a gripping read I could quite easily have devoured the whole novella over one sitting as it had me totally on the hook for how events were going to play out in the big finish, which the whole night was building up to. Like with The Living and the Lost the author gives very little away on how the supernatural works within the context of the story and in the first few pages the reader is dropped in the midst of a bizarre situation which has a simply brilliant hook to it. David and Helen are on their way to an isolated graveyard where in the next few hours his father Graham Chadwick will reanimate. It is not explained how this phenomenon has come around and the author cleverly sidesteps any cliches you might expect regarding zombies, flesh-eating or standard horror tropes. If you know the exact time of your loved one’s death then the exact time of ‘their rising’ can be pinpointed twenty years later to the precise minute. The problem is David does not exactly when his father died, so they have to hang around the grave and wait. And wait. He is also (at best) an amateur. At this point the plot gets very clever, David was very young when his father died and hopes his rising will give him the opportunity to briefly get to know him better, as they can potentially share their secrets with the living. Also, David believes that the ‘professionals’ the Family Directors are rip-off merchants and even though it is not advisable thinks he can handle the rising himself, even though he is not exactly sure what is going to happen. He is rather cynical (and very funny) believing watching You Tube videos have taught him enough! Along the way there is some very entertaining patter with a couple of Family Directors who are in the graveyard on other business, all of which was totally absorbing and helped built up the momentum for what would happen at the rising of his father. Richard Farren Barber is a highly skilled operator at building tension and developing smart and very readable stories with very neat hooks and Twenty Years Dead is a fine example. David should just have fronted the cash and paid the expert! (but where would be the fun in that?) and instead we have an inept beginner dealing with a situation in which he is way out of his depth, carrying heavy emotional baggage along with it. After reading this most readers will probably agree that spending the cash on a Family Director is money well spent and that the DIY approach is best kept to furniture rather than restless spirits! Richard Farren Barber’s Twenty Years Dead comes with the very highest of recommendation, turning a great idea into a very readable, funny and chilling page-turner. If you have never tried his work before you will not get a better opportunity to sample his highly original take on life (albeit it briefly!) after death.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Christiana

    I can't say enough good things about Twenty Years Dead by Richard Farren Barber. I loved the story. For me, the premise was so unique, I hadn't read anything like it before. For some unknown reason, after being dead twenty years, all humans rise on the anniversary of their death. When they awake, there are directions printed on the inside lid of the coffin on how to get out and up above the ground. The author has come up with an idea that we can't fathom happening in real life, but he writes it a I can't say enough good things about Twenty Years Dead by Richard Farren Barber. I loved the story. For me, the premise was so unique, I hadn't read anything like it before. For some unknown reason, after being dead twenty years, all humans rise on the anniversary of their death. When they awake, there are directions printed on the inside lid of the coffin on how to get out and up above the ground. The author has come up with an idea that we can't fathom happening in real life, but he writes it as believable, because he hits human nature square on the head and shows us the good and bad, the range emotions of some and lack of emotions of others, and how some will always capitalize on other's grief and vulnerability. Dave and and his girlfriend, Helen, arrive at the cemetery to await Dave's father's rising. They see other families congregated around their loved ones gravestones. Like those families, Dave has decided to handle his dad himself rather than hire a Family Director, who will for a large fee, wait at the grave and take care of the deceased family member so the living family doesn't have to. For that reason, they lug with them, a sturdy wooden chair and other tools that YouTube and websites have told them they would need. Without giving too much away, during the course of the night, Dave and Helen meet two Family Directors, Nathaniel and Billy, opposites in their business practice, start hearing screams of the risen and their loved ones, and see and become part of things they weren't prepared for. After that, Dave questions his decision to do this on his own, but he was five when his dad died. His mother refuses to tell him anything and pretty much erased her husband from her life and Dave's. He's determined to find out what really happened and only his dad can give him the answers. But there isn't much time for closure as the dead rise briefly, and may not be cooperative, and then are gone for good. It's not a long read, but a well-written page turner all the way through. It's a creepy, atmospheric, and disturbing, light horror tale - the risen have been dead for 20 years and look it. I couldn't wait to get to the end, but was sorry when it was over. A great read. 5 stars I received a complimentary ARC of Twenty Years Dead in exchange for a honest review. Thank you Crystal Lake Publishing.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Watson

    A high concept story that doesn’t explain the concept – and is all the better for (not) doing so. Nicely drawn characters and some impressively disturbing scenes with some well handled relationship observations too. A (very) dark version of Field of Dreams – if you imagine the field is a cemetery, and the dreams are nightmares. Another fine piece of work from a writer who is really hitting his stride.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Full review coming through the British Fantasy Society

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    After twenty years in the ground, the dead briefly rise. At his father’s grave, this is Dave’s last opportunity to discover why a man would abandon his wife and young son. Against the protests of his mother and his girlfriend, Dave is determined to learn what happened all those years ago. Sometimes you have to risk everything, but the dead don’t give up their secrets so easily. Taking place over one night and in one location, this is a cleverly constructed little novella that really packs a punch After twenty years in the ground, the dead briefly rise. At his father’s grave, this is Dave’s last opportunity to discover why a man would abandon his wife and young son. Against the protests of his mother and his girlfriend, Dave is determined to learn what happened all those years ago. Sometimes you have to risk everything, but the dead don’t give up their secrets so easily. Taking place over one night and in one location, this is a cleverly constructed little novella that really packs a punch (perhaps helped by the fact I lost my own dad, also called Graham, three months ago). Barber has set-up a smart happening - the Rising - and given it a real weight so after a few pages it feels like something that’s been going on forever (we get no backstory to it, which is a genius move). I’m not the biggest fan of zombie fiction - how do they breathe to speak? - but we get two big set-pieces in here that are shocking, scary and often quite moving. The characterisation is top notch, I felt like I could feel, smell and see that cemetery and the dead are terrifying but also somehow banal. An excellent horror novel that touches as much on family dynamics and father-son relationships as it does the gruesome matter, I would highly recommend this.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Viktorija

    Exactly twenty years after their passing, the dead rise from their graves. There is a brief time window during which they can interact with the living and say their last goodbyes before they begin their (this time) eternal slumber. Each rising is different – a miracle and a mystery that can easily slip into unspeakable terror. Which will it be for young teacher-in-training David Chadwick? David makes his way to the grave of his father, determined to find answers to questions he couldn’t ask whil Exactly twenty years after their passing, the dead rise from their graves. There is a brief time window during which they can interact with the living and say their last goodbyes before they begin their (this time) eternal slumber. Each rising is different – a miracle and a mystery that can easily slip into unspeakable terror. Which will it be for young teacher-in-training David Chadwick? David makes his way to the grave of his father, determined to find answers to questions he couldn’t ask while his father was alive. This is the premise of Richard Farren Barber’s novella Twenty Years Dead. From the opening scene, the pace is set for a gradual, organic reveal of this world where the dead don’t stay dead. Instead of overwhelming you with information, the careful and intelligent worldbuilding slowly sucks you in until you have to remind yourself it’s fiction. Details are disclosed when necessary, through conversations and the characters’ observations of their surroundings. This strategy makes you surrender control to the author for a while, trusting that all will be divulged in due time. The writing is so immersive that you can smell the disturbed soil, see the lights of those keeping vigil, and hear the screams of those rising from the earth… Most of all, following David’s actions and decisions inevitably leads you to the question: what would you do in his place? What would you want for yourself and for your loved ones? The rising is a cold, hard fact of life (or, rather, death) in the world of the novella; it is presented as a reality that the living cope with in various ways. Precisely this is where the potential for horror and conflict emerges, and it is used masterfully. No opportunity is missed to explore the relationships between the living characters, either, most notably David and his girlfriend Helen. The Family Directors they meet at the graveyard are also truly fascinating and memorable characters, and their profession is a really interesting one to think about. All of this makes the latest piece of dark fiction from Crystal Lake Publishing – Tales from the Darkest Depths a triumph. Not only has Richard Farren Barber introduced a unique, captivating idea, but he has also executed it with skill and precision. It is an evocative, chilling, absolutely absorbing meditation on family, mortality, and choices. I received an ARC of this book for free by the publisher and am leaving a review voluntarily.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Taija Morgan

    David waits to witness his father's "rising" twenty years after his father died when David was young. A zombie-esque horror story, which is always fun. A short read with plenty of depth, character, and emotion. Interesting and well-executed premise. Enjoyed the rich descriptions and would read more from this author. Crystal Lake does a lot of great dark fiction, so I'd recommend anything they've done to lovers of the genre. My thanks to Crystal Lake Publishing for the ARC, given for free in exch David waits to witness his father's "rising" twenty years after his father died when David was young. A zombie-esque horror story, which is always fun. A short read with plenty of depth, character, and emotion. Interesting and well-executed premise. Enjoyed the rich descriptions and would read more from this author. Crystal Lake does a lot of great dark fiction, so I'd recommend anything they've done to lovers of the genre. My thanks to Crystal Lake Publishing for the ARC, given for free in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Lake Publishing

  13. 5 out of 5

    Miguel Bizarre

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Bendavid

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gail

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  17. 4 out of 5

    D.J. Pitsiladis

  18. 4 out of 5

    Richard Barber

  19. 4 out of 5

    The World According To J!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chandni

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Stewart

  23. 5 out of 5

    Trameka

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Black

  25. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Wilson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nick Roberts

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rosina

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Rieken

  29. 5 out of 5

    Minka

  30. 4 out of 5

    Monica

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jacquesworth

  32. 5 out of 5

    Madhumita [ Bizzare_Bibliomaniac]

  33. 5 out of 5

    Kishi

  34. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

  35. 5 out of 5

    Jessie (Zombie_likes_cake)

  36. 4 out of 5

    Rodd Baker

  37. 5 out of 5

    Lala

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