The making of Gabriel Davenport - by Beverley Lee
Updated: Jan 7, 2022
Beverley Lee comes across as a lovely person, happy, thankful, polite, and courteous, whenever I see her on any of the social media threads. She’s one of those people that is a constant sideline cheerer, a supporter of writers she knows and roots for – there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t see her retweet several people’s tweets, putting herself out for the good of the community. Honestly, it’s like having a proud sister on your team, the person that is going to stick by you through thick or thin and do so vocally. She is a legend.
And then there’s the other side to Beverley.
There was (it’s been a while now since I heard anything about him) a standing joke about George R.R. Martin, where he is writing his latest book and has a writer's block, and then a glint comes into his eye, and he attacks the page, writing “And then they all DIED!” as he repeatedly stabs the notebook with a pen.
And that is pretty much how Beverley writes. You have this wonderful, atmospheric, slow build in her books. This detail-rich prose, lulling you to floating happiness, bathed in her character detail, her magnificently painted and exquisitely realized situations. The pressure building page by page, the lid of the melting pot shaking and rocking in barely contained pressure. And this almost Hitchcockian approach to horror, subtle, inferred horror, fade to black type of tension building.
And then she kills characters. DIE! DIE!
As sure as night follows day, Beverley is going to destroy your life if you are in one of her books. Not only are you going to die, but you are going to die inventively.
So let’s look at TMOGD, my third Lee novel (though I have read more of her shorts).
I knew, before going in, that it was a vampire novel. How? Because Beverley markets the series as a vampire series. So, it came as something of a surprise that that element of the book was actually rather downplayed. I thought Gabriel was going to be bitten, become a vampire, and learn how to do vampire stuff. Bite, fly maybe. A bit of vampire sex is normal, right? I mean, that’s pretty much what vampire novels do, or?
Wrong. Not at all. TMOGD has vampires in it, but honestly, they don’t actually do that much with regards threat. I think it is fairer to say that TMOGD is all about tension. This is the tension monster of all tension monsters. A Tenshmon.
Beverley has constructed each chapter to be short. She’s controlling your breathing and pacing the novel on that basis, and adds a tension hook to almost every chapter end. By the end of the novel, you are as exhausted by the tension as much as all of the characters in the book. It’s an effective tool, and played well, honestly, you want to rush through the book to get back to breathing normally.
The plot is well thought out, though I had problems at the end with some of the details being obscured – I felt the bite from Clove needed to be seen. It is hinted at, but again, Beverley made it fade to black to obscure the details.
I also have to say that I was incredibly frustrated with the whole gang in the manor. Like, almost throw the book across the room frustrated (to clarify, a good frustrated – I couldn’t believe they could be so dumb). The whole miserable bunch of them. It was pretty much like watching a horror movie where you scream at the screen that the characters are being idiots! They tell each other (SEVERAL TIMES) that they have to stick together. That the demon wants to separate them. That as a group they will last longer. After which, every single character then tries to leave the group, individually, and always with the go-ahead from the other members of the gang. Sometimes for reasons that defy belief – one of the characters decides he needs to pull on the ol’ flagpole and says he’s just grabbing his charging cable from upstairs, where the demon was last heard. Sure. Go ahead. As a person that lives in Austria, I am uniquely qualified to be able to comment on situations where the characters are effectively saying “I’ll be back.”. It always ends in tears.
Or bad accents at the very least.
One character decides to go fetch pizzas from the kitchen. The priest even makes a point of telling the group he wants to go alone upstairs, and nobody should try to follow him. I might have even said “You are so going to die” out loud at work as I read that one.
So – As I said, this book is frustrating, but that shows that you care, and that’s down to the writing. Beverley has filled the book with people that are really well fleshed out, and each has a distinct voice. The POV’s are solid, the writing is impeccable, the pace is breakneck.
The making of Gabriel Davenport is a train wreck waiting to happen. You know that it is going to pick up speed, get faster and faster and that at the end of the line, just at the place where the bridge has been destroyed, there isn’t going to be a Spiderman to save you. There’s going to be a George R.R. Martin standing in the train’s path, looking forlornly up at the speeding bullet death train aimed straight at him, and his one-liner before he dies is going to be “So that’s how you do it”.
4 out of 5 ⭐ ‘s
You can buy TMOGD by clicking on the Amazon store appropriate to you.
You can visit Beverley's Website, HERE
You can find Beverley on Twitter, HERE
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You can find Beverley on TikTok, HERE