First published back in November of 2017, British author Matt Shaw’s ‘His Name Was Peter’ collected together all the ‘Peter chronicles’ stories into one complete volume.  The only instalment missing from the collected edition is the short story ‘Before Vanessa’ (2019) which was released as a standalone limited-edition chapbook a couple of years later on.

Despite the various Peter instalments having been written and published in a non-chronological order (i.e. the first book written from the series was ‘Happy Ever After’ (2008) which slots in as the sixth book sequentially), this collected edition delivers the stories in chronological order, so you can follow the journey of Peter from conception all the way to his adulthood and the creation of a truly terrifying psychopath.

As each instalment was originally published individually, and with this being DLS Reviews, a full dissection has been undertaken for each individual book.  Obviously, if you’ve not read any of the Peter books previously, then reading all these reviews on DLS before embarking on the first book will give away a hell of a lot.  In fact, it’ll literally spoil the vast majority of the twists in store for you – so yeah, don’t do it!

So, the review of this collected edition isn’t exactly your usual review on DLS.  First off, to do a synopsis for the complete collection, would give away a number of the early twists.  I’m not going to do that.  Also, to provide an in-depth dissection of the entire book (rather than through the reviews on the individual stories), would make for one ridiculously long review.  Which would invariably end up as spoiler central and a wall of text no one in their right mind would ever read.

I will, however, give you some idea of what you’re getting into should you decide to part with some of your hard-earned cash for a copy of this mighty beast of a book.  If you enjoy a fucking dark serial killer tale which plunges into the realms of extreme horror, then this really is a book to give some consideration.

First off, it’s a frigging huge tome.  Okay, so the page count is only 760 pages.  But what you need to bear in mind is not only the small size of the text on each page, but also the over-sized pages.  Had this been a standard pulp-sized paperback, with the text sized to match, the page count would easily be double what it is.

With the book you get to be taken on an incredibly character-driven journey.  The book is the culmination of nine separate instalments, each picking up a different point in Peter’s life.  The end result of this is a very real sense of witnessing a complete lifetime and the gradual manifestation of a monster within this period.

The one thing I really wanted to emphasis in this review, which won’t have come out within any of the individual reviews of the different instalments, is how this collected edition is much more than the sum of its parts.  Individually the stories are excellent.  Yeah, some better and more accomplished than others.  However, when you put them all together, when they slot in to form this bigger, more defined picture of Peter, that’s when it really comes into its own.

If you’ve spent any time exploring the review pages on DLS, you’ll no doubt be aware of how difficult it is to achieve a full row of ten DLS skulls, all neatly lined up at the end of that review.  Individually the separate books just aren’t quite there.  Some come close, but none manage to really pull everything together to such a degree in one tale, to receive that perfect score.  This collected volume though, with all the stories slotted together in chronological order for the first time, it makes for a read that much more rewarding that the individual sum of its parts.

Below you’ll see a list of the individual instalments that make up the complete collection.  Clicking on each will take you to the review of that particular book.  Should you be inclined to do so, you can then reference back to the reviews after reading each book, to compare our respective thoughts.

As previously mentioned, this collected edition doesn’t include the short story ‘Before Vanessa’ (2019) which was written and published after the collected volume was put together and published.  To be honest, you’re not missing all that much if you’ve not got a copy of the short story.  It certainly doesn’t add much more to the series as a whole.  It simply gives us an insight into another one of the corpses piled up in Peter’s garage.  Not a bad story in itself, just not one which really enhances the series any further.

The collected edition runs for a total of 760 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Peter Chronicles’ instalments:



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