Kori Persephone Driscoe suffered through her dad’s mental illness. All she wanted was for him to get better, but instead he disappeared. Kori trespasses into the abandoned Northville Psychiatric Hospital, the last place her dad was treated, seeking solace and traces of his memory. What she finds instead is something no longer human living deep in the underground tunnels.

During the last days of the hospital, a roque psychiatrist had been manipulating the mood swings of the mentally ill, transforming patients into savage, manic creatures who seek justice by the light of the full moon. When the creatures hunt for prey, only an escaped patient and her beloved child can help Kori survive—but they better act fast, because the creatures want blood, Kori wants to save her dad, and the whole hospital is about to be blown to pieces and bury Kori alive.

The IndieMuse Review

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”

This famous quotation from philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, was speaking out against conformity, and encouraging people to form their own ideas and opinions. In Mark Matthews new novel, The Hobgoblin of Little Minds, the quote is used often in the context of bipolar disorder and mental illness in a clever blending of the real-life struggles of these conditions, and the classic horror tropes of the werewolf myth.

Kori hasn’t seen her father in over a decade. Following a number of incidents and suicide attempts, he was admitted to the Northville Psychiatric hospital and was never heard from again. Kori often visits the now-abandoned hospital, hoping to find a trace of her lost father and learn what became of him.

What she finds instead are vicious, malformed creatures living deep under the hospital grounds, where secret experiments were performed, turning people into savage, bloodthirsty animals whose primal needs become uncontrollable when the moon is full. Can Kori find and save her father or is he now beyond her help.

Larger than life horror as a metaphor for real-world issues is a fine balancing act. Too subtle and the message gets lost; too on-the-nose and it becomes a distraction to the story. It is rare to find a novel that avoids these pitfalls quite so deftly as Mark Matthews does here.

The book bounces between chapters told from the point of view of a handful of main characters, many of which suffer from bipolar disorder. These voices are understandably disjointed and the narration shifts wildly between frantically paced and somberly downbeat, and we, the reader, are not always necessarily fully aware of what is going on, as we often catch up with a character whilst they are in the midst of mood swings or mania. It makes for a difficult but fascinating read, to be told a story largely from the perspective of somebody suffering from a mental illness.

We are firmly in literary horror territory and the prose is suitably captivating. The author (who is a behavioural health professional) writes with an assured grasp of his subject matter and the whole book feels very authentic and consistent. He also doesn’t shy away from the horror, both physical and emotional. It is a harrowing and downbeat read at times, punctuated by moments of bloody violence, but you can’t look away. The characters are so engaging, and their situation so unlike anything you find in a typical horror story, that you can’t help but find yourself invested in the unpredictable narrative that unfolds.

The Hobgoblin of Little Minds is a challenging yet ultimately immensely rewarding book. As a new take on the werewolf story, it is a fascinating read but as a deep dive into the realities of mental illness, the book is an absolute triumph.


Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.

Curation Results: The Hobgoblin of Little Minds

Curator Notes: "Matthews delivers an unforgettable tale, twisting from psychological horrors to a new direction in the old staple of the werewolf saga." —gHoster

This title has been officially certified by indiemuse reviewers and curators as a recommended read. Read about our certification process here.

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