Some Islands Don't Welcome Visitors.
An isolated Welsh island seemed like the perfect escape for a convict on the run, a jilted woman, and a policeman seeking a quiet life. When the surly locals turn to murderous violence the three visitors are forced to flee together, trying to stay one step ahead of their increasingly insane pursuers.
The bad news keeps coming. There are too many to fight. There is no escape from the island. And the worst storm in years has just begun. They can only run and hide as they face a night of horror and madness. If they don't work together then none of them will live to see the light of day.
This tense survival horror novel is a homage to decades of nasty villains, scary predicaments, and bloody books and films. Karl Drinkwater’s debut novel fits comfortably within the great horror traditions of Richard Laymon and Dean Koontz.
“It is, in my opinion, way beyond good. The author has been likened to Richard Laymon and Dean Koontz by other reviewers and these comparisons are pretty much on the mark. Right from the first few pages it is foot to the floor stuff with pretty much no let up till you reach the end. This is proper horror writing, the stuff that makes you wince when you see what’s coming.”
- Andy Angel, The Terror Tree
Book Length: 308 pages / 69,000 words
ISBNs: Print 978-1-911278-00-9 / E-book 978-1-911278-01-6
Note: this book is also available in Karl Drinkwater's Horror Collection, along with They Move Below and Harvest Festival.
"A novel that is equal parts The Wicker Man and The Crazies. There's an island off the coast of Wales where unwary travellers become targets, where they become hunted. We find ourselves alongside three of those travellers - a policeman, a teacher and a criminal - thrown together as they try to stay alive while crazed killers try to track them down. It's a brutal tale, full of blood and gore and grue. Think of the likes of Stephen Gallagher or James Herbert, and that's the realm we dwell in, where flawed people with imperfect motives try to make the best of a bad situation. It's certainly not for the squeamish. [...] It's a solid thrill ride as people scramble to find a way out, and maybe to find revenge along the way." 5*
-- Altered Instinct (6th April 2017)
"This was a straight out awesome book. I loved having the story take place on an island with no way of escape. Putting characters in a place that is difficult or impossible to escape puts you immediately on edge as a reader. It reminded me of The Thing where the characters are trapped in the middle of the Arctic in a small building trying to fight off an alien. It's one of my favorite movies for that very reason. Turner does the same thing. The characters are awesome and the plot moves lightning quick. I love the mixing of Welsh and English and found myself trying to pronounce the words as I read (unsuccessfully, I think). In all, it was a good book I had a hard time putting down. Definitely a must read for horror fans."
-- Bill Todd, Amazon (15th November 2016) (Slightly different review here).
"I started this book at eleven thirty at night, literally right after I finished watching Wrong Turn 4. At first I was wondering why I was even reading this so late and told myself just go to bed. Well now its 1:27 in the morning and I finished it about thirty minutes ago. I like horror , and I like not knowing whats going to happen even more. I can't really say what I want without adding any spoilers but I will say nothing went how I thought it was going to. This is my first book purely in horror that I've read in awhile and I'm glad I did. The writing is good and story never drags. I will now be reading whatever else this author has to offer."
-- Natalie Bennett, Goodreads (6th October 2016)
"Turner by Karl Drinkwater is a horror story like no other. [...] The story is an attention-grabber right from the word go, and the more I read it, the harder it became to put it down. The first time I read about the village it struck me that it was like something out of a psychological horror story and, straightaway, I found myself waiting with bated breath to see what was going to happen. [...] The characters were really well developed, but were developed through the book rather than at the beginning. I like this way of writing because it adds far more to the story, giving certain events more meaning. Excellent book, and I'm looking forward to more from Mr Drinkwater."
Readers' Favorite. (4th March 2016)
"I truly loved this book. It reminded me of the feeling I got reading The Exorcist and The Omen for the first time years ago. It was straight up scary [...]. I think the atmosphere of the island gave me the largest sense of dread. Needless to say, Visit Wales would have a hard sell with me after reading this book. I hesitate to say more because the story is most effective with no knowledge of the plot ahead of time. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author."
Full review. (20th September 2015)
"Karl Drinkwater's debut novel of atmospheric, on the edge of your seat horror survival. [...] For me I found Turner to be a cross between the film "Friday 13th" and the TV series "American Horror Story: Asylum"; both of which I really enjoyed before I read this book, so definitely not for the squeamish! Fast paced action with every page just as griping as the previous."
Full review. (31st August 2014)
"Turner by Karl Drinkwater. This book currently has 4.16 stars out of 5 on Goodreads with 37 ratings, and it absolutely deserves it. This has a bit of everything, from suspense, to gore, to medical, supernatural, and psychological horrors. Many parts of the book will make you think of such greats as Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and even Poe. It pays homage to the many horror stories which have come before it, while presenting itself as an original work, expertly told. Another book I would highly recommend to anyone with an interest in horror. Five stars."
Shaun Horton. (3rd December 2013)
"I have no doubt that many horror fans will love TURNER. [...] If I had to compare TURNER to a horror movie, I would say that HOSTEL would be most like it. It has some of the suspense and character development, but it really shines with the unexpected, brutal deaths. The Welsh setting is so lifelike and fleshed out that I could almost taste the salty air. The beacon of light on top of the lighthouse seems so enticing and hopeful that not only are the characters surprised when things don’t improved when they seek refuge, but so am I! [...] Once all the chess pieces were in position, the story was intense, dramatic, and shocking. One death in particular left my jaw hanging. [...] Well-done horror is all about setting up an atmosphere of anxiety and hopelessness; TURNER smothers the reader in both in the opening chapters. It’s not ‘if’ someone is going to die, it’s ‘if’ someone will survive. [...] But man, the characters in TURNER just could not catch a break!"
Lizzy's Dark Fiction. (12th November 2013)
"It's a short, quick read. [...] It gets to the point, it delivers what you're after. [...] Check out Turner."
Horror Etc podcast, discussed 2:36-5:26 (18th September 2013)
"I would like to say that for a first novel this is good, but really that would be a massive disservice to the author. It is, in my opinion, way beyond good. The author has been likened to Richard Laymon and Dean Koontz by other reviewers and these comparisons are pretty much on the mark. I cut my horror teeth on authors like Koontz and Laymon and would also put him up there with them. The atmosphere on the island is dark, heavy, foreboding. Right from the first few pages it is foot to the floor stuff with pretty much no let up till you reach the end. This is proper horror writing, the stuff that makes you wince when you see what’s coming. I predict a bright future for Karl Drinkwater and will be adding him to my list of authors whose books I pick up knowing I am in for a good read. Highly recommended – 5* (out of 5)"
Andy Angel, Terror Tree. (15th September 2013)
Twitter mention. (21st August 2013)
"From the first page, Drinkwater’s debut novel glides the reader in with a creeping sense of dread of village inwardness and suspicion seen in ‘The Wicker Man’ and ‘An American Werewolf in London’ and pretty much every Hammer Horror film. [...] The highlight of the novel is the Lord of island, a crazed dictator whose infernal madness is explained in a way that makes everything that has happened entirely possible. If given isolation, time and the means, something the likes of this could happen in reality. Lord John is the Colonel Kurtz in all of this, he’s down the river and in charge of mindless soldiers, using psychological warfare to carve his whims upon the world. The character of Chris is also a joy. Foul mouthed and quick thinking, I had the feeling throughout that this seemed like a jumping off point and that he might easily appear in solving other strange tales as a kind of pirate/gangster Fox Mulder facing off against further weirdness in the world. From the first page this sets off in high gear and doesn’t drop down until the last few pages. [...] If you enjoy a short breakneck read with a flawed hero you be at home on this island bound book, it just isn’t the type of book to take and holiday with you. Is it?"
Snakebite Horror Reviews. (20th August 2013)
"I was really surprised and delighted by this wee book [...] I read it in one night. [...] The book reminded me of many, many horror movies that I have loved growing up, not in a copying sense, more how you are drawn in to the creepiness and thinking oh no, do go in there or don't do that. It doesn't take long to start and the anticipation that something is about to go wrong and is eerie starts from the opening chapter. [...] I did enjoy this book, especially one part near the end of the story, I may have actually whooped out loud! [...] If you're looking for a new author to try, like stories that revolve around remote towns gone wrong, blood lust and murder then I think this might be perfect for you."
So Many Books, So Little Time. (20th August 2013)
"A fantastic, atmospheric and truly scary debut from Karl Drinkwater that really raises the bar for other authors in this genre. Comparable with Richard Laymon, Dean Koontz and Paul Kane at their best. [...] This author has the potential to be a leading light in the future of the genre."
Full review. (19th August 2013)
"The immediate observation I made when reading this novel, was the incredibly graphic nature of the narrative. Never have I read so much clear and vivid depictions of everything. From action, character appearances and breath-taking landscapes. These expressive accounts of every aspect, construct a naturalistic vibe, you can almost smell the salty sea, see the cliff’s grand height and imagine the luminous lighthouse in your mind’s eye. It’s as if the writer sat in amongst the turmoil as it prevailed, noticing every tiny pixel and conveying it factually and imaginatively. [...] The actual story was flawlessly written [...] many sharp hooks reel you into this warped fictional universe. [...] Setting particular segments in the woods with ongoing storylines is magnificent. [...] with the woods being the perfect station for tension by foes being able to cloak themselves in the darkness or behind a tree. [...] Characterisation for the protagonists was superb, each having various motives for visiting the island, each creating a thirst for knowledge of their own demented histories. [...] Even towards the end we are still being fed with the pasts of some of the characters, receiving more information, bringing into existence people that are real and driven by traumatic experiences, or family mysteries, not fictional one dimensional characters. [...] Props have to go to the author for the welsh language insertions, [...] it does create an unexplainable feeling to the book, one that you cannot quite put your finger on. There are moments of pure terror hidden in this novel waiting in bated breath to paralyse you with fear. They will penetrate unknown angsts and leave a gash in your subliminal memory. [...] A tale that mercilessly tortures and whittles down your sanity then locks you in a dark room to suffer your aberrations until they destroy you. Don’t miss this one."
Wesley Thomas, Horror Novel Reviews. (12th August 2013)
"Turner is a page turner! [...] This is a classic horror thriller. The ingredients are all here- a couple of outsiders, some strange and threatening locals and a remote Welsh island cut off from the mainland, add in some mysticism and mythology and a character with delusions of grandeur and you have an exciting read. [...] Without giving too much away, one particular scene with a lot of creative swearing was very funny and I just hope I can remember some of those expressions if I ever feel the need to taunt a psychotic character."
Full review. (11th August 2013)
"This was one of the best reads I've had this year, and the lack of attention it seems to get just leaves me in awe."
Shaun Horton. (23rd July 2013)
"creates that brilliantly terrifying fear that comes from being hunted and from not knowing why. The tension is palpable. [...] I would class this book somewhere in between horror and thriller. There is a lot of violence and gore, but it's also integral to the story - which is very much a thriller trait. [...] Make no mistake, horror is horror. And this book does horror. It will creep down your spine and tense your muscles. [...] When we're alone and in the dark, it's the monsters we feared as children that haunt the shadows. [...] This book is a fast-paced, nerve fraying, seat grabber of a story. [...] once it gets going, there is absolutely no stopping it."
Full review. (13th June 2013)
"Scary excellent for reading on a stormy night. I loved how unpredictable the characters and situations were able to deliver surprise and thrills. Gripping page "turner" and a satisfying read. Just the right amount of squeamish blood without going overboard to the point of grossness. Definitely worth reading if you are a Stephen King fan."
Full review. (18th May 2013)
"Because of this book, there is a very good chance I will not wander in desolate places ever again. Being raised in an urban environment, this harrowing story about people in the wrong place at the wrong time makes me even more leery of really small towns. [...] I made it a point not to read the book when it was too dark. If you like to be scared, this is the book for you."
Full review. (13th May 2013)
"The book kept you on the edge until the very last word. [...] I am not usually a fan of "zombie" type books but using an unconventional hero like Turner made for a great read. Lots of blood and gore and a reminder of Island of Dr. Moreau (only in Europe). Since the Island was so sinister I kept waiting for the dog to turn into a Cujo too."
Full review. (2nd May 2013)
"This is a frightening, bloody and compelling book complete with a horde of crazed zombies, a totally insane aristocrat and a hero you really root for (I became VERY attracted to Chris Turner by the end of the book!!). Page turning gore and a rollicking good read."
Full review. (20th April 2013)
"I love a bit of horror & have read many books in this genre over the years but never EVER have I come across anyone who could write like my horror hero the late great Richard Laymon . . . Until now that is! Karl Drinkwater is most definitely the man who can & he's got it 100% spot on! If like me, you love to scare yourself silly before bedtime then this is the book to do just that. Take one remote island, a bunch of creepy inhabitants, an even creepier Lord, a chainsaw wielding madman, a couple of unsuspecting visitors - sprinkle it all with a bit of Drinkwater magic & Turner is what you get! I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to give the old ticker a good workout. You won't be disappointed!"
Full review. (18th April 2013)
"What makes this story so scary is not knowing which characters will die or if they even will, and of course their desperate attempts to stay alive by running away, hiding, and fighting off the killers. I felt like I was in the story, trying to escape from the evil surrounding the island, wondering what I would do if I found myself in this situation, and how successful would I be fighting for my life. That's what made this novel so scary for me - living the fear and terror right along with the characters. I kept thinking to myself why would anyone want to go there? Especially by yourself? Although who would think about crazy things happening to you like this? My questions kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next. The story is amazingly terrifying, and I found myself in for a big surprise once I began to realize what was going on. There's more to this story than what you think there is as you begin reading - I ended up shocked and pleased with the way the author incorporated more than just crazy, isolated island inhabitants. There are other evils lurking, and just wait until you find out what those evils turn out to be!"
Full review. (18th April 2013)
"Author Karl Drinkwater has cost me much, including many hours of sleeplessness, blood-shot eyes, trepidation of the formerly normal noises in my own house, and a deep-seated phobia of people in red coats. I've never had any of these problems before, but since reading Turner, I've got them in spades! I have never "felt" a story as vividly as this one. From the first pages, Karl has woven a tale full of rich detail - the kind that makes you feel the exhilaration of flying down a steep road on a good bike, the eagerness to explore a new place, the apprehension at meeting odd strangers, the cold and wet of a blinding storm, and then the fear. No, wait - that's wrong. It's not fear, it's FEAR! There were times it was so intense, I had to put the book down and catch my breath. That didn't last long though; I had to know what would happen next! I highly and sincerely recommend Turner. Get your ticket for fastest-paced ride you've ever been on, and hang on tight!"
Full review. (14th April 2013)
"A terrific read. Suspenseful. Fast-paced, but won't break your neck. A true page-turner. As a horror writer myself, I take pride in a certain level of familiarity with the types of stories that are out there. This book had me guessing (mostly wrong) the whole way through. The narrative flows with it's own voice while also giving you a sense of familiarity, certain passages reminding of the styles of Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft."
Full review. (9th April 2013)
"The action never ceases and the story crescendos with each new twist or turn in plot, keeping the reader on their toes in anticipation. I enjoyed the ending and there was never a moment in the story that I got bored with it. Note: This story is not for the faint of heart. There are a couple scenes were it gets a little gruesome but if you have a strong enough stomach like me then it is not an issue."
Full review. (22nd March 2013)
"A solid 4.5 stars. But...Not for the squeamish! [...] the reason behind why the island's citizens are the way they are is intriguing. I won't say much more than that because I don't want to spoil anything. I will say I found myself googling pagan rites that I hadn't previously been aware. From an anthropological/historical viewpoint (which I will freely admit to LOVE reading books like this), I find books that are based on legends and belief systems from pre-history absolutely fascinating. I wish more books like this were available. After all, nearly every culture has its own version of the boogeyman, why not use them as your villain? It strikes something deep and primal."
Full review. (1st December 2012)
"Wow, a great book that sometimes really takes your breath away. You keep reading what's going to happen to the four non-islander 'guests'. From the beginning you know/feel that something is 'wrong' with the island and the villagers. Four complete strangers have to run for their life. Who will survive this terrible night? Who can be trusted and who doesn't? Everybody needs somebody! Do read this book if you like a thrilling story."
Full review. (2nd October 2012)
"I really enjoyed the book. It had that real, natives gone mad that I like so much. It's a classic set up. I never really felt safe reading it even though I read it sitting in a comfy starbucks chair with local police around me drinking coffee. I had to start ordering Tall Lattes because the book always made me forget to chug down my caffeine. You could say Turner works better than coffee to stimulate the mind and body. Buy it so you can kick the habit too and be as afraid of small towns as I am now."
Full review. (29th July 2012)
"An enjoyable dark horror set in Wales. Echoes of The Wicker Man and Texas Chainsaw Massacre combine to create a gory and fast paced read in which an isolated Welsh community conceals grim horrors."
Full review. (17th July 2012)
"Horror (Check ), Chilling (Check ), well written (Check), Hilarious? Absolutely. This is a must read for any one who enjoy good horror writing, but also loves characters whose main reason for being alive is to make the reader pop a few laughs. I rate this one A+."
Full review. (12th April 2012)
"This is a chilling horror novel about the sinister goings-on on a remote Welsh island. It was gripping. I had to keep turning the page to find out what would happen to each character, and there was a nice amount of splatter. Even Nature seems to conspire with the islanders to prevent the visitors from escaping. Scary stuff. As each scene unfolded, I could easily imagine watching it on a big screen. It would make a great film. This will do, for visiting remote islands, what Jaws did for swimming in the sea."
Bec Zugor. (1st March 2012)