First published back in March of 2012, British author Matt Shaw’s novella ‘9 Months: Book One’ formed the very first instalment within his ‘Peter Chronicles’ series, with the three ‘9 Months’ books forming a ‘prequel trilogy’ to the ‘Once Upon A Time’ (2013) story, which itself was a prequel to the ‘Happy Ever After’ trilogy.

The ebook novella was later re-released within the ‘His Name Was Peter’ (2017) complete collection, which compiled all the ‘Peter chronicles’ stories – apart from the short story ‘Before Vanessa’ (2019) – into one complete volume.

DLS Synopsis:
Jessica woke in just her underwear, lying across a urine-soaked mattress.  She had no idea how or why she was there.  She was handcuffed to the bed.  Her wrists sore from the tightness of the cuffs.  Looking around, she could see a set of stairs leading upwards in the corner of the room.  Apart from that there were no other visible windows or doors.  Just the gloom of the room she’d surmised to be a cellar.

Above her she could hear movement and the occasional mutter of voices.  Who had done this to her?  What had they done to her?  And most importantly, why?

In the gloom of the cellar, Jessica’s thoughts went back to happier times.  She remembered when Darren had taken her out for her first ever date.  The posh restaurant they gone to.  The way he’d been a gentleman to her all night.  The silly little jokes he’d make.  How nervous she’d been that night.

Her trail of thought was broken by the emergence of a hooded figure.  From the way the figure held themselves, it was clearly a man.  Although he never uttered a word.  If he wanted her to do something, he’d written it down.

What the hell was he planning?  What was going to happen to her?  The only indication of what the man wanted was when he put his hand to her belly.  At that moment Jessica realised he knew.  That it was all about the baby growing inside her.  All this, was because she was pregnant…

DLS Review:
And so it begins.  The first story (chronologically speaking) in the ‘Peter Chronicles’.  Although, it wasn’t the first instalment to the series that Shaw wrote, he has however ensured the tale works for those who are new to the series and for those who’ve already read the ‘Happy Ever After’ books, which were written and released prior to this ‘9 Months’ trilogy.

This first novella is written almost entirely from the perfective of seventeen-year-old Jessica.  There’s a short chapter written from the perspective of her boyfriend, Darren, but besides this, it’s all from behind Jessica’s eyes.

The entire story is told via two parallel running narratives.  The first follows Jessica as she goes on her first date, gradually getting to know Darren better over the ensuing months, and with her eventually winding up pregnant.  The second narrative is set a short while later, where Jessica has woken up, handcuffed to a urine-soaked bed within a gloomy cellar somewhere.  The short chapters constantly alternate between these two narratives, playing off each other, and building the suspense for the final ‘reveal’.

To be honest, the twist ending for this first instalment is fairly predictable at best.  A lot of focus is put upon the big reveal at the end.  The hopefully jaw-dropping twist.  But if like me you guess where its leading from relatively early on, then sadly all this build up, all the mounting tension and suspense, is lessoned quite substantially.

However, for an opening story, one which lays down the very first foundations for the series (i.e. the conception of Peter), it more than does its job.  The story’s tight and gripping, with some great characterisation helping keep the reader engaged and fully invested into what’s to come.

The novella runs for a total of 74 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Peter Chronicles’ instalments:





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