Scouse Gothic by Ian McKinney @scousegothic @rararesouces

Posted July 28, 2019 by midnightreview in Reviews / 0 Comments


Scouse Gothic (Book 1) ‘The Pool of Life and Death’

Melville wakes with a pounding headache – there had been too many hangovers recently, but this felt different. What had he been drinking last night? Then he remembered – it was blood.

Enter the bizarre world of Scouse Gothic where a reluctant vampire mourns a lost love and his past lives, where a retired ‘hitman’ plans one more killing and dreams of food, and a mother sets out to avenge her son’s murder, meanwhile, a grieving husband is visited by an angry angel.

Set in present day Liverpool, vampires and mortals co-exist, unaware of each other’s secrets and that their past and present are inextricably linked.

But as their lives converge, who will be expected to atone for past sins?

My Review

It was refreshing to find a more ‘normal’ type of vampire, certainly no diamond sparkles here! Melville is back in Liverpool, possibly to put past hurts to rest. I have never visited Liverpool but I certainly felt like I knew the place by the time I finished reading. There is a handy map in the front of all the main places, which was useful in seeing how everything linked together.

The book starts with Melville, his past and why he has come back. From that point forward we meet a host of other characters. Who turns out to be vampires in this story may just take you by surprise. It did me.


As you can see from the blurb (which to be honest I don’t think sells the book as well as it could), there are a whole host of characters. Each chapter is told from a different point of view. At first this threw me slightly, I couldn’t work out where the story was going but as you progress through you start to see how everything is linked.

The writing does occasionally ramble and I feel it could have been more concise in parts, however, this is a minor grumble and didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

A shout out here to Peter and Franks chapter. I really enjoyed this one, it had me giggling in places. I hope to see more of Frank in the next two books, I wasn’t expecting his ‘style’ of character to pop up in a book like this.

There are quite a number of different characters here and you only get to know them through one chapter. Ian has made what could have been quite a disjointed story into one that flows and becomes quiet cohesive.

Final Thoughts

I forgot this was a vampire book, for me this was all about the people. How our lives are interlocked. How we are linked together through a series of chance encounters. As the book progressed I became far more invested in how things were coming together than the vampire aspect. That became very much a side issue.

I enjoyed this read and it would be a great one to take on holiday. It is very much cross genre and I can see this appealing to a wide audience.

Check out the giveaway at the end of this review.

Many thanks to Rachel for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Ian for a copy of his book. As always this is an honest review.

Author Bio:

Ian was born and bred in Liverpool but left for university in the 1980’s when the city appeared to be in a terminal decline. After qualifying he worked in London and Essex before finally settling in Shropshire with his wife and daughter.

However, a set of circumstances meant that he returned to live in the city once more. What he found was a modern vibrant city. The derelict buildings from his youth had been restored and repurposed. A dock was now a tourist attraction, a church was now a night club, a gaol now a hotel.

It was then that he had the idea for Melville a vampire who had known the city in its prime and had now returned to it. Initially the story of Melville was written as a short story, but the more Ian explored the city the more he realised there were many more tales to tell than just Melville’s. That was when the idea for Scouse Gothic was born.

The first book ‘A Pool of Life ..and Death’ , was very well received and has now been followed by a further two books. Ian continues to spend his time between Liverpool and Shropshire and is currently working on two further projects.

Social Media Links – Twitter: Ian McKinney @scousegothic

                                      Facebook: Ian McKinney @scousegothic


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