First published in April of 2020, British author J.R. Park’s chapbook ‘Death Dream In Isolation’ was written as a personal response to coping with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown that was gripping the UK, and much of the world at the time.

The chapbook was limited to just fifty numbered and signed copies available directly from the Sinister Horror Company website.

DLS Synopsis:
When the virus hit, the government reacted with an instant lockdown upon the entire population.  They dubbed it ‘social distancing’.  Staying locked away indoors, no contact with others, everyone keeping their distance to stunt the spread of the virus.

It wasn’t long into the lockdown before Annie became ill.  Knowing all too well the consequences of living in close proximity to someone infected with the virus, he locked his wife away in their bedroom.  He now slept on the sofa.

He didn’t like having to separate his family within their own home like this.  But he had to think of Tara.  His first thoughts were always of protecting their precious daughter.  At six years old he knew it must be tough for her to understand.  It was tough on them all.  He just had to stay calm, stay in control, and above all, keep protecting his family.

In self-isolation, that’s all he had left.  His family.  His beautiful family, who he’d do anything to protect…

DLS Review:
If ever there was a story that you felt instantly transported within, instantly connecting with, instantly a part of, then this is it.  It’s currently April 2020.  Six weeks into the lockdown enforced upon us by the government in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.  The very situation portrayed in Park’s emotionally geared story.

Park loves his monsters.  Monsters which can take many forms.  Monsters with savage claws and gnashing teeth.  Monsters with sadistic urges and a pendant of enacting them.  Monsters from different realms, different places, different worlds.  Monsters you can see and those you can’t.  It’s a concept, an inspiration and a drive which we’ve seen Park toy with within his tales time and again.  In this latest offering, this personal response to our current lockdown, we see the same manifestation of whole new monster again.  The monster here is something different to a flesh and blood being.  Something you can’t see, can’t feel, can’t fight back against.

The isolation from society, from the rest of the world, feels incredibly real in the tale.  Whether that’s because we’re all feeling it at the moment in our own lives, or whether it’s because those raw emotions from the current circumstances were at the very surface of the author’s mind as he wrote the tale, it’s hard to say.  Nevertheless, it’s all there.  A very real sense of being cut off from the world.  Of being cut off from reality in some ways.

Paranoia and ragged nerves bubbling over into anger play heavy roles in the story.  It’s as you’d imagine.  As perhaps you yourself have experienced during the pandemic and lockdown.  These emotions, cast onto paper, scream at you with such an underlying sense of absolute poignant clarity.  Like a freshly polished mirror thrust into your face.  Loneliness, fear, absolute fucking desperation to look after the ones you love, it’s all there.  It seeps out from the page, smothering you in a cloying sense of “right here, right now…this is me, this is all of us”.

Where we go from there, where Park leads us onto, is something you will have to find out for yourself.  I’m not about to ruin the story with some irritating spoiler.  But what I will say, is Park doesn’t leave the horror, the monster lurking behind the tale, as the single invisible threat.  Park, as he so often does, works in layers.  Intricately thought through layers, interwoven, playing off each other to form something that much more terrifying.

The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly a horrific event that has affected everyone’s lives in so many ways.  However, in these challenging times, there have been many positive and inspiring things which have arisen from it.  This offering, this personal reflection and deeply emotional response, is one such triumph over an oppressive invisible monster.

There’s just fifty of these chapbooks.  I have one of them.  Forty-nine left.  Trust me, you’ll be missing out on something truly special if you don’t grab one.  Get a copy and read it whilst we’re all coping in our own ways within these unsettling and unnerving times.  Then maybe, in a few years’ time, when we’re past it all, read it again, and see where the story takes you, with a hindsight you don’t yet know.

The chapbook runs for a total of 12 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Click on the below Sinister Horror Company image to purchase a copy of the chapbook...

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