Review - The Cavern by Al Hodge

It takes a lot of unnerve me. As a lifelong fan of horror I’ve become ‘hardened’ to most of its tropes and darkest ideas. So when I stumbled upon The Cavern I almost kept scrolling. Almost. There was something about the cover that sent a chill down my spine, so I decided to take a punt. I brewed a pot of coffee and sat down for what I thought would be a solid read.

Boy was I wrong.

This book is terrifying. The Cavern tells the story of an expedition into a newly uncovered caving system near the outback town of Pintalba. As the group descends down into the bowels of the earth things go wrong, and the expedition finds themselves suddenly fighting to survive as a savage subterranean predator targets them one by one.

I have to admit, once I started to read this book I struggled to put it down. Hodge nails the claustrophobic atmosphere of caving and the tension that is critical to any good monster story. There were moments where chills genuinely rolled over my skin as the monster stalked and struck at the expedition. The characters of the group are all well fleshed out and layered, and the monster itself is something that has crawled out of the deepest and darkest abyss the universe can offer. They say the devil is in the detail, and Hodge’s background as a ER Nurse serves him well when describing the graphic demise of some of the victims. This book is not for the faint of heart! By the end of the story I was a nervous wreck, and I honestly thought about leaving the light on that night.

The Cavern is one of the best stories I’ve read in recent times. It’s a two hundred page piece of nightmare fuel that will leave you petrified of the depths beneath our feet.

5 out of 5 stars.

You can buy The Cavern from here.


Life is a strange ole thing at times. Sometimes you’re up, and the world seems like your oyster. Sometimes you’re down, and the world is a dark and sad place. I haven’t been as active as I would have liked in recent times, and the world has felt like a dark and sad place. There is a good reason for that.

My mum recently passed away after a ten month battle with metastatic colorectal cancer. She originally had been diagnosed with bowel cancer, but after surgery and chemotherapy the cancer returned only a few months later in an aggressive and incurable form. To say that journey was tough for my mum would be an understatement. She moved in with us eight months ago, and we became her primary carers and companions as she fought hard to buy herself more time to live. We shared a lot of laughs, but we also shared a lot of tears as the cancer steadily ate away at her body. I am grateful for the time I got to spend with mum, but I also wish she was still here. My mum was a shining light in my life, and I miss her terribly. I don’t think that pain will ever go away.

This, unfortunately, has had a massive impact on my reading, reviewing, and editing work. I just haven’t been able to focus on anything else except my mum and her medical and personal needs. Now that she is gone I’m hoping to slowly get back up on that horse and move forward. I know it will take time, but I’ll get there.

Thank you to everyone who sent through thoughts, prayers, and best wishes. Thank you also to everyone for the patience and understanding you have shown me in this difficult time. My family and I appreciate it.

Talk soon, peeps.



Smash Dragons has a new home, and a leaner and meaner approach to reviewing and blogging.

So, what’s new? Well, along with the usual reviews and interviews there will now be a giveaway every single month! Signed books, Amazon vouchers, and loads of other cool stuff will all be up for grabs if you drop Saga Editing a like/follow on social media. 

It’s as simple as that.

Here’s to a brighter future filled with epic stories.

Slayer of dragons, owner of Saga Editing.