And He Came A-Smilin'


Not for me 😔

A delightfully dark and demented plot that is stunted by mediocre writing and cliché dialogue.

Events are in motion to bring about the end of the world, and it's up to Detective Sergeant Rosie Hendricks to stop that from happening. When a SWAT bust goes sideways and her team gets eviscerated in the most bizarre circumstances, Rosie barely escapes with her life. She is forced to team up with FBI agent Scott Denver to piece together clues which include a trail of gruesome ritualistic killings, and her own increasingly frightening and demonic encounters.

I wanted to love this book because the premise sounded twisted and amazing. Unfortunately, I was left pretty disappointed with the less than stellar writing. There are a lot of redundant and irrelevant pieces of information throughout, to the point where it becomes silly. At one point, Rosie has an empty bowl in her lap, she almost drops it, puts in on the table, then moves it to the sink where she decides not to wash it. Later on, after getting out of the shower she has an internal debate as to whether or not she should put on moisturizer (she opts not to). Bright includes some very gnarly and graphic scenes that are decent, but they don't have nearly enough edge after these weird filler moments.

The dialogue doesn't help a whole lot. The informal contractions and colloquial terms get a bit grating after awhile ('cos, ya, whaddaya, dunno); I suppose the expressions are just an attempt at giving the characters a more "real" feel, but they end up having the opposite effect and instead become overkill.

In terms of characters, Rosie is a stereotypical female cop: her dad was a policeman, she's just like one of the guys, she's tough as nails, and she seems to have no life outside of her job. As a result, while I was fairly interested in the direction the plot would take, I wasn't all too concerned with what befell her. Akoman as a demonic entity is fascinating and wickedly foul, and for that reason I would have liked to see the build-up more drawn out (although I know the story continues with the Iscariot Warrior Series). The terrors he subjects Rosie and Scott to are so revolting he is definitely worthy of his place in Hell.

And He Came A'Smilin came down to unmet potential for me. It has a delightfully dark and demented plot that is stunted by mediocre writing and cliché dialogue.

Reviewed by

Horror, thriller/suspense, and mystery are my areas of reviewing expertise, although like most dedicated readers I'll delve into (nearly) anything with a great plot. I love being a reviewer and having the chance to interact with talented writers as well as help their stories gain exposure.

About the author

Author and screenwriter, Roy Bright has four successful novels under his belt and numerous screenplays. The ex-Royal Navy Gunner-turned author, began his writing career in 2012 and has not looked back since. Roy is also proud to be a Patron of the Children's Hospice Arts charity chARTUK. view profile

Published on November 19, 2020

60000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Horror

Reviewed by