First published back in April of 2012, British author Matt Shaw’s novella ‘9 Months: Book Two’ formed the second instalment within his ‘Peter Chronicles’ series, with the three ‘9 Months’ books forming a prequel 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:
The thought of Jessica killing her own baby was too much for her parents – Bryan and Fiona.  Even after all these years, the memory of her own stillborn child still haunted Fiona.  She’d always blamed herself for her baby’s death.  Putting the death down to the abortion she’d had a number of years beforehand.  The last thing she wanted was for her daughter to go through the same anguish.

Clearly what Bryan had done was difficult to accept.  Fiona couldn’t see how any of this was going to work.  Bryan’s plan relied on their daughter not knowing who was responsible for holding her captive.  But now Jessica had seen it was Bryan.  Her father.  Now she knew it was all down to them.  And she’d started pleading for release.  Begging to see Darren.

Fiona was close to giving up on the plan.  Close to letting Jessica go.  That was until Jess said all she wanted was to get out of the house and get her unborn baby out of her.  Even now, after all of this, she still wanted rid of it.

None of it was supposed to happen like this.  But it had.  And now they had to deal with it accordingly.  There was no other way.  But at least the baby would be okay. Despite everything they’d been through, at least the baby would be okay…

DLS Review:
This second instalment (chronologically speaking) follows on almost immediately from where the first book left off.  Jess now knows her parents are responsible for her being held captive.  Accordingly, the tale jumps straight into the monstrously tense atmosphere that the first book spent it’s time establishing.

Like the first book, the characters are what drive the story.  In particular, here we’re given Bryan and Fiona’s back story.  We get to see what’s ultimately motivating them to do this to their daughter.  Learning of the struggles they’ve had with making their own family.  The loss and heartache which has driven them to do what they’ve done.  And the fact Jessica is adopted.

The setting for this second instalment is very static.  It’s entirely set in the house Bryan’s been refurbishing.  A property out in the middle of nowhere which has proven to be ideal for their inter-family abduction.

What stands out the most in this instalment is the slipping (and entirely questionable) sanity of Jessica’s parents.  Shaw’s paid particular attention to the way they interact with each other and their prisoner daughter.  The dialogue is stressed and tense.  The mannerisms, showing subtle suggestions of a sliding sanity.

There’s a pretty darn explosive climax to the story.  One which feels like it suddenly appears out of nowhere.  Leaping upon you catching you completely off guard.  Which makes it even more powerful.

This my friends is a solid addition to the ‘Peter Chronicles’ and one which lays down more fundamental building blocks for the story.  Furthermore, it’s also a damn fine read in itself, packed with nail-biting tension and simmering suspense.

The novella runs for a total of 61 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Peter Chronicles’ instalments:



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