Reviews – Sin

Here you’ll find various reviews for Sin

“Sin” by Shaun Allan plumbs the depth of psychosis in relation to sanity. It’s the story of Sin Matthews, who picks up a coin one day and discovers that each time he flips it, some tragedy occurs–either nearby or on the other side of the world. As a psychiatrist, I found this story compelling. But even more impressive, was Mr. Allan’s use of language, word play, rhymes, and synatax approximating the interior monologue of a schizophrenic. But is Sin actually insane, or is something else going on? Written in the first person, the narrative flows circuitously to its final conclusion and the reader is swept up in a web of madness, horror, and intelligence, and thrust into the netherland between hallucinatory and delusional insanity, and the rational musings of a tragic man. This novel is a must for anyone who loves the English language, as well as the frequent (and clever) use of iconic references to popular culture. Kudos to Mr. Allan. A well-deserved five stars.

What a fantastic read!! An author who draws you into the world of ‘Sin’! A book I couldn’t put down and didn’t want that last page to arrive! The sort of fantastic novel you can read over and over again! Would be good to have a film made from it! A true Bestseller!

At this stage, most reviewers have described the storyline nicely, so I will just add that this is one of the best books I have read recently. Why? Many reasons, actually. It is dark, it’s true, but Shaun Allan’s use of humour (very witty, never silly) surprises you along the way, and diffuses the tension slightly, but not to the story’s detriment. Also, his use of language is superb, and each word and sentence are a pleasure to read. The story is unusual and imaginative, with twists and turns, making it a very satisfying read. It also messes with your head – but in a good way. I have not re-read books for a long time (so many books, so little time), but this is one I will definitely re-visit, as I will surely get something from doing so. Get writing, Shaun – I’m impatient for the sequel.

Shaun Allan gives you more than expected with this stream-of-consciousness onslaught of what initially appears to be the ramblings of an insane man, who insists he is really a sane man who has a little problem–he causes buses to crash into buildings, earthquakes to appear on the other side of the planet–all sorts of catastrophes small to large, communal to personal. How does he do it? Simple, it’s all done with the flip of a boomerang two-pence coin, and he just wants it to stop. Stop it does not.

The plot builds much like a solo flight in a first-generation jet climbing to its maximum altitude. Storing kinetic energy on the long ascent for such a moment as with a quick side-push of the stick and a stomp on the rudder, the vessel flips upside down and then the pilot pulls backward on the stick. The jet goes downward into an ever-increasing g-load, pointing earthward and then beginning the long, hard pull back to the horizon, shoulders aching, furrowed brow beaded with sweat, fighting to keep awareness as the heart pumps against the unnatural pressures. Then remarkably, the readers like the pilot discover they are on a course 180 degrees in the opposite direction, at a completely different altitude and with a near placard speed registering on the dial. Yes, we’re going somewhere now.

You’ll want to read this one.

Bravo, Mr. Allan.

Welcome to Sin’s mind.

Sin is a confused guy. He thinks he can kill people by tossing a coin…flip and catch…flip and catch. He is so sure of it, in fact, that he voluntarily enters a psychiatric hospital. As the story unravels through Sin’s thoughts (first person) and his impression of what is happening, the reader is forced to wonder… Is he crazy? Did these things really happen? Is he dreaming? Or is it all the effect of the drugs he is flooded with on a daily basis?

As the story progresses, it becomes clear that Sin’s case is far more than a simple voluntary admission. There is a larger force at work, trying to stop him from finding out the truth behind his “craziness”.

Good story, excellent writing.

This is one of the more thought provoking novels I have ever come across. I had to read it twice, before I could sit down and write this review! Indie author Shaun Allan has created a real masterpiece with Sin. Allan’s style is narrative, and in a way, reminded me of James Joyce’s equally compelling ‘Finnegan’s Wake’. Others have compared Allan’s style to Stephen King and Dean Koontz; and there is a slight similarity to their work as in it is definitely horror, but I am here to tell you Shaun Allen is an original in the purest sense. This is “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest meets Finnegan’s Wake.”

Sin is a dark, urban fantasy, written with large dose of sardonic humor. We hear the tale from the man who was given the name ‘Sin Mathews’ at birth, but who goes by the name of Sin only, as the last name doesn’t matter; only the name which is the sum of his parts matters.

Sin finds a coin, a two pence coin, or perhaps the coin finds him. Either way, this is the catalyst for Sin’s curse. He finds himself flipping the coin compulsively -flip, catch – and it arcs through the air he sees images of disaster and death, which is then reported on the news. Eventually he realizes every time he flips the coin, someone dies; sometimes a lot of people die in what he believes are ‘unnatural disasters’ timed perfectly to the flip of the coin. Though he tries to avoid flipping the coin, he finds himself doing it anyway.

No matter how he tries, he can’t throw it away, or lose it. The coin always comes back to him when he buys something and gets his change; or even just appearing in his pocket…

Sin receives a letter from his sister Joy, telling him she had found a coin, and when she flipped it she “made lives”. She wrote that the responsibility for making the world happy was too much for her. She was alone in world of happiness she couldn’t be a part of, and she killed herself. Sin apparently had found his coin right after her death. He decides to check himself into an insane asylum in order to get the sort of psychotropic drugs which will render him incapable of seeing the visions, and flipping the coin.

Sin’s conversations with Dr. Connors in the opening chapter are adversarial, and illuminating. For the most part, he enjoys his stay in the asylum, but, being sane, he sees the sordid truth in the callous treatment and chronic over-medication of the patients.

Although posing as a mentally ill patient works for a while, the medications soon cease to be effective and he decides that since the coin always comes back to him as if by magic, maybe he has the power to teleport. He resolves to commit suicide by teleporting himself into the heart of a furnace, hoping for instant incineration. Unfortunately, he finds himself on a beach, instead of in Hell where he had hoped to be.

Sin has an encounter with Joy who tells him death is not what it is cracked up to be. She warns him “a storm is coming”. He continues his inadvertent journey, trying to get his bearings. After a chance meeting which reveals more of his powers, he finds himself in Grimsby, the home of his childhood.

The atmosphere throughout is surrealistic, but it is well-balanced Allen’s lyrical, intimate style of prose, as in this series of images describing Sin’s disorientation, “History doesn’t relate whether Jonah, Gepetto, and Pinocchio sat around a table eating pizza, sharing stories of prophecy and puppetry while in the belly of the whale, but I thought that I could relate to being swallowed whole.” Throughout the novel, Sin’s ruminations are self-mocking, and world-weary, yet naive and innocent. He bears the guilt of the world, and suffers the unbearable pain of being the cause of so many deaths, but still he finds ironic humor in every situation. Joy is grounded and guides him to the truth, but is not allowed to tell him anything.

Nothing is what it seems in this tale, and right up to the end, you are not sure which reality is real.

The facts come out, or do they? This book is a rollercoaster ride from the start to the finish, and I give it 5 stars for originality and style.

I kept seeing this in my local library, and it wasn’t until I read the feature on local author, Shaun Allan, that I finally chose to read the book.

I’m glad that I did.

A thrilling read, with an intriguing and complex character, the novel keeps you guessing. It blends horror, paranormal, psychology and thriller in such a delicious way – it’s a vertitable feast for the eyes!

The tangents of the protagonist may seem confusing to the reader, but they add to the mystery that surrounds Sin – yes, ‘Sin-sin’siree’.

The novel really came alive for me, due to its locations of North East Lincolnshire, where I live.

Shaun Allan is talented, there’s no denying it. He’s one to watch for in the future.

Psychologically – thrilling ride!!! Took me where I did not expect it to. A murder mystery?

Loved it!!! There I was getting into Sin’s obviously OCD head and never once did I think he was going to end up behaving as rationally as he does. You can’t predict this story as you enjoy reading along. And that’s an automatic, much-loved, joy of mine!!! And I more than found it here with Shaun Allan’s “Sin”.

Sin is an intriguing and enthralling story of a man who checks himself into a mental hospital because of his seeming ability to cause the deaths of those around him. The story is told from the point of view of Sin Matthews in a light and humorous tone that belies the increasing strange twists of fate in his life. Shaun Allan’s prose is at the same time comfortable and lyrical. My favorite example was “The expanding pools of blood and oil, merging together like a ying-yang pictogram were just something to step over.” Other examples: “…the air had a definite crispness to it, like it was just out of the wrapping and hadn’t been used yet.”

“The edge of the road merged with the stumpy hedgerow that ran along the side of the fields as if the workmen who’d put it down had thought to nicely tuck it under.”

“The seats would be stained and torn, the stuffing poking up like a meerkat sentry watching out for hyenas.”

The characters are well-drawn and believable, despite the strange situations in which they find themselves. Sin is a multi-dimensional character (in more senses than one), one whom I’m looking forward to getting to know better in the sequel. Read this book; you won’t be disappointed.

When my new friend at work told me he was a writer I thought, “Yup. Sure. OK.” We all write don’t we, in one way or another. I’m forever helping my daughter with phrasing her uni assignments; composing personal and business letters to all and sundry; I’ve even written short items about ancestors for my family tree website.

To humour him (and because I was intrigued) I downloaded this book and started to read it. And carried on. And on.

Now I know what a “page-turner” is – and what they mean about not being able to put it down.

“Sin” is amazing. There’s a little bit of him in all of us, I think – we all carry perceived guilt for things that go on around us, or regret a minor action that caused a major event.

But no-one else could have expressed Sin’s thoughts and feelings in the way Allan has. There is this marvellous insight into the way the mind works; such imaginative use of words and rhythm ; colourful ways to describe black and white. The characters are sharp, yet completely blurred, so the reader feels an intimate relationship with them only to have that dashed in the next sentence or paragraph. One is constantly changing from knowing all that is going on, as if experiencing it oneself – and loving every minute, to feeling a total outsider – and grateful to be so.

The story twists and turns, flowing from Sin’s thoughts to the reader’s consciousness. Never, ever can one predict what happen in the next sentence, let alone the next paragraph or page.

I loved it. And I’m constantly nagging now for the follow-up volumes. Thank goodness for the blog ( to keep us informed about goings-on in the asylum.

Today’s review is on Sin by Shaun Allan

Sin is the first book that I have read by Allan and it has been by far the most thrilling; for me, as I was a Mental Health Professional. This extraordinary tale into the life and mind of Sin Matthews had me enthralled throughout the pages. Unlike his sister Joy; who seems to bring joy to everyone, Sin brings death. Literally.

We have all seen it and perhaps have even done it. Picked up that solitary penny that you see on the sidewalk or the road. We may have even recited the cute little poem that goes along with picking it up. You know the one. “See a penny, pick it up. And all the day you’ll have good luck.” Well that’s not the case for Sin. After he picks up that penny things go wrong and accidents where people die begin happening all around him. He doesn’t realize it then, but it’s not just the penny causing these deaths. It’s actually him.

So what’s a guy to do when he is the cause of so much death? Well he voluntarily commits himself to a mental ward, straight jackets and all. When the drugs diminish in their effectiveness however, something else must happen. HE needs to end his own life. But can he? Is that truly the answer?

With the help of his dead sister, Sin discovers what’s really going on at the Psych Ward.

A murder mystery, a dead sister, and a not so crazy crazy guy makes for good reading.

This is the story of Sin. A young man who checks himself into a psychiatric hospital because he can kill people just by thinking about it. He then tries to commit suicide by teleporting out of the hospital but he ends up on a beach somewhere. Not knowing what to do or where to go – he is visited by his dead sister. She has come to show him that all is not as it seems and is his doctor as benevolent as he first appears or does he have some skeletons in his closet?

This was a fantastic story. Written in the first person (not an easy thing to pull off but the author manages it and then some) I was really able to get in Sin’s head and feel his anguish as the revelations start to pile up. It was a good solid page turner and the ending was suitably explosive. For a story with so few main characters I was certainly gripped from beginning to end.

I totally recommend this because it’s different. And that in and of itself is its appeal.

Sin is a ground breaking novel by Shaun Allan that grabs the reader from the first page and never lets go.

The main character is named Sin and he is quite insane, or is he?

Sin is probably one of the most unique characters I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know in a book.

This novel is very well written, engaging, quickly paced, and just plain fun to read. I highly recommend it!

‘Sin. That’s my name, don’t wear it out, as I used to say once upon a very long time ago.’ (excerpt)

When I received this book for review and read the blurb, I thought to myself that this sounds like it’s going to be a dark, disturbing read, exploring the mind of an “I-was-abused-as-a-child” sorry-ass psychopath. That was my very first impression of “Sin”. With trepidation, I sat down to read, preparing to wrestle my way through to the last chapter, (I mean really, who wants to read about a crazy ol’ coot locked up in a padded six by six cell?). Well, all I can say, is that I couldn’t have been more wrong! By the time I got to page four, I was so absorbed in the story and intrigued with the main character – yes, Sin – that I couldn’t fathom not reading to the end.

Contradictory to the impression generated by the blurb of it being a journey into the mind of a serial killer, I experienced Sin as quite the opposite. In my opinion, Sin could’ve been my next door neighbor: a man just going about his daily life and minding his own business – until that unfortunate incident in the street in front of Woolworths, which changed his life for the worse. It took a few thousand deaths, but Sin soon catches on to what is happening and how the coin – or the `not-so-proverbial bad penny’ – affects him and the lives of the people around him. Subsequently feeling that he will be much less of a danger to others and himself, he voluntarily has himself locked up in an asylum, under the care – or what he perceives as such – of Dr Connors. Biiiiig mistake!

‘Sin-sin-sirree, there’s no place for thee,’ I was Sin. Not a superhero but… but good. Yes. I’d plead my case to that jury and I’d convince them. I wasn’t a big bad wolf, ready to eat the little piggies. But, Dr. Connors, I was going to blow your house down’. (excerpt)

What I enjoyed most about “Sin” is the way the author tells the story as though he is having a conversation with you. As a big fan of the books of both Stephen King and Dean Koontz, I instantly recognized the author’s writing style of that similar to both these authors; and thus enjoyed the book even more. The story is recounted through Sin’s inner-dialogue and point of view; and has so much skillfully interlaced humor in it, that most of this book I read with a smile on my face.

‘I wondered if, in a court of law, murder in absentia was a punishable crime. If I had an alibi tighter than Jacob Marley’s business partner, even though I admitted to having done the crime – and thanks to Mental Homes R Us, done the time – would I still be sent down, joining the chain gang on a one way trip along the Green Mile? Maybe I could get Tom Hanks’ or Michael Clarke Duncan’s autographs. I doubted a defence of “I wasn’t there m’lud” would be sufficient to get me off. But death by proxy. What would be the maximum sentence for that?’ (excerpt)

“Sin” is not what I dreaded it would be. Dark? Yes. Disturbing? Sure. Boring? Heck, no!. Quite the opposite. It takes you into the life of a man whose parents thought it a joke to give him a name that caused him to be the butt end of ridicule; and who found it equally hilarious to name their daughter Joy. But a name such as Joy could not possibly be on the receiving end of beatings, name-calling and being made a fool of, now could it?
`Ask me another.’

If you enjoy reading thought-provoking books that punch you in the chest with unpredictable shocking twists, “Sin” should be at the top of your list. I personally, am not into the whole inner dialogue thing and as laugh-out-loud funny as it was at times and heartbreakingly sad at others, I found the inner-dialogue, although relevant to the story, a bit lengthy – and therefore the 4 star rating. Other than that, I would highly recommend this expertly written book to anyone looking for a superb read. I can say with certainty that Shaun Allan is on his way to best-seller status!

And just to tantalize your appetite for this unusual first-rate book some more, here is another excerpt:

‘I didn’t mind them staying away from me. I wasn’t in the mood for company, and trying to hold a conversation with a squirrel was something I was too tired to bother trying. They can be skittish creatures and tend to have a short attention span, so any chat is liable to dip and dive from subject to subject faster than I could make a banoffee pie disappear. Rabbits are different but just as hard to please. They simply look at you with blank faces, making it obvious that, no matter how riveting your conversation might be, they just wanted to know where you kept the carrots. I couldn’t blame them. My stomach was starting to growl so a carrot or two, while not banoffee pie, would have been quite welcome.’ 

I love urban fantasy and horror, so I knew that Sin would be a great read. And indeed it is. The action is nonstop, although much of it plays out in Sin’s head. And believe me: that is a scary place to be.

It’s not often that I read a book with a completely original character who lives and breathes; who comes alive. Sin is that character. The way he thinks, how he interacts with his dead sister, Joy, and the strange events surrounding a coin that Sin found and that completely changed his life.

As a reader, I see so many plots that have been recycled or restyled. Sin was completely new. The concept of a coin that can bring chaos and death (but not in a fantasy / Middle earth way, in a real world, gritty urban style) was amazing.

The author brought the book to an even higher level with his style. Allan constantly plays with words, their sounds and meaning. Sin has such a pervasive voice that drives the novel forward. I was fascinated until I read, with great reluctance, the final word.

This book is all about Sin Matthews he is a one of a kind guy, Iv never seen a character like him before. And I will say its nice to have a character who isn’t a total goody goody. Sin checked him self into a mental hospital because he seems to be able to kill people with just the thought of it. Sin is then visited by his dead sister who leads him to believe things are not what they seem.

Wow where to start with this book, I must say I wasn’t to sure what I was going to think of it when I got asked to read it, because its not my normal kind of book.I thought it would be a little bit to crazy for me but I gave it ago and I am pleased to say I really enjoyed it. Yes it is dark and disturbing but it has amazing twists that will keep you clinging to the book wanting to know what happens next. Shaun has found a story line that iv never read in any other book before and he had me gripped right from the start. Written from Sin’s point of view , we see the struggles he goes through and we see how crazy things really get for him.

Dark/Disturbing/Amazing twists and turns. This is what this book is full of, so if you like your book filled with this kind of thing then this is the book for you.

What’s in a name? Well Sin by Shaun Allan really challenges this. From the beginning of the book Mr. Allan captivates the reader with melodic ramblings of his main character, who at first you believe to be a complete lunatic, but as you read further, you can’t help but relate to this sincere protagonist.

The book is a thrill ride from the first page to the last, taking the reader on twists and turns that has you questioning not only what is good and what is evil, but what is real and what is in our heads as well.

This is a must read, from every flip and every catch. Sin is sinfully delightful. Definitely looking forward to reading more from this author.

Over the past few months, I have read several books that revolve around characters in mental institutions, Sin being the most recent. I found, right from the start, being sucked into the mechanics of Sin’s world and, more importantly, his mind. He drags you along on a merry-go-round that runs not only round in circles, but sideways, backwards and upside down!

This novel, I found, was one that is not easy to categorise. It involves a main character who can kill people with the flip of a coin, but is so horrified by the fact that he admits himself to a mental institution, hoping the drugs numb him enough to prevent any more loss of life.

I found the unreal events that unfold to be completely believable, once Sin explains them in his own unique way. The descriptives are humorous and down right honest.

If you want a crazy fun ride of a book, then this is certainly one to pick up!

This book will haunt and intrigue you from the very first page. Sin – his name not an invitation, is complex with moments of pathos, humor, and a very real sense of what it is like to be caught in a nightmare world.The twists and turns of the character keep him from being boring, and when he realizes that his sisters ghost is truly real, his mind must take yet another turn.

It was very easy to get inside of the characters head, and for someone who doesn’t normally enjoy reading in the first person, I found the technique allowing the reader to know this person in a way that otherwise, I would think impossible.

One final note…be careful when picking up a penny, one never knows what actions might be sent into motion.

This work is a surreal story describing the weird twist about a mental patient who voluntarily commits himself to a psychiatric facility to escape or stop his delusions under heavy medication. As the reader continues into the story the question to ask is he insane or actually san being manipulative by a dark evil doctor. The journey from insanity to sanity takes the reader for a wild ride; the humor excites the brain, because this author ingenious incorporates all sort of humor from dark to light to entertain the reader. Sin has character; he is witty and very knowledge about people and psychology. His personal interaction and experiences stimulates the mind, “what if”. The question is he insane or in reality is able to use his mind to kill? This story is zany, witty, like traveling into the twilight zone, definitely a challenge firing dominant brain cells, but worth the time getting familiar with this unique style of writing. Thanks for the entertainment. To find out more about this creation the author has a blog introduces his character and his adventures.

 keeper to be placed in your personal library for an escape from dull drums.

Wow this book takes you on a rocking ride! If you are a fan of Alfred Hitchcock or Stephen King, then this is right up your alley. A psychological thriller, it will keep you guessing until the very end.  It’s a great read!
Sin is a great character, written in such a way that you believe him and his ‘problem’. This is a great book, with great dialogue, characterization, and action. Great work Shaun Allan!

Sin Matthews is someone who has been institutionalized in a mental asylum. After all, he is crazy, right? Or is he? Are the things he claims he (and his now deceased sister – or is she really dead?) can do part of his delusion or can Sin actually do all he claims? If he can do those wonderful and awe-inspiring things, maybe he isn’t crazy. Maybe he’s someone people should start looking more closely at and respecting.

Problem is, Sin has escaped from the asylum – in a most unorthodox way – by teleporting out past the padded cell and the stone walls. Or was that all part of his delusion?

This is a surreal book that sounds and reads as crazy as everyone believes Sin Matthews to be. Get ready for a strange and exciting ride on the rollercoaster that is Sin. No, you won’t need a barf-bag, but you will want to adjust your reading glasses and get comfortable for a long stretch of reading pleasure.
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Sin is a great character, written in such a way that you believe him and his ‘problem’. This is a great book, with great dialogue, characterization, and action. Great work Shaun Allan!

I also liked that this book was written in the first person. A good read.

I liked this book as it’s written in my favourite style of first person. This enabled me to feel involved in the story and get close to the character.

I thought this book was simply wonderful. The writing is really crisp and clever, the characters are memorable, and it’s an intriguing story idea.

I came across Sin today. No not that kind. The good kind. This is an incredible read which was inspiring as a writer and fulfilling as a reader. I had a difficult time putting it down to even go relieve myself. Started squirming not only from the intense characterizations and situational horror but tiny bladder problems. TMI I know. Just trying to find my humor again. This book will put you in a dark place. But in a good way. It held me like Koontz does with part King in the horror and the first person observations. If you love good thought provoking and love good writing please take a moment for Sin.

Sin is one of the most unusual books I’ve read lately, and I read a lot of books. The author (Shaun Allan) did a great job portraying the characters and moving the story along, as well as giving the readers an in-depth look into the mind (insane as it may be) of the hero.

Flip and catch! Seems simple, right? Or how about this one “Find a penny pick it up, all the day you’ll have good luck.”…Yeah, so not how it works. Poor Sin is learning that the hard way. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly a penny, it was a two pence, and for some strange reason, he can’t stop flipping it. Then he realizes that things happen when he flips the coin. And why can’t he get rid of it? This book is SOOO good. The prologue was a bit long for me, but once the book started, I couldn’t put it down. It has a bit of an Odd Thomas feel (Dean Koontz). Its very well written, and a page turner! 4.5 of 5 stars! If ya like Dean Koontz, I think you’ll love this one!!

Sin was a man that I didn’t really like at first, but as I continued reading, I not only started liking him, but felt sorry for his poor circumstance that he found himself in. With each flip and catch of the coin, I held my breath for what was to come next. If you like Alfred Hitchcock, you will like Sin, and Shaun Allan’s style of writing. I have read some of Shaun Allan’s other stories, and am looking forward to reading from more of his work. It is evident from this book, and his other works, that talent flows freely from his mind to the paper with ease.

From the start you’re exposed to Sin’s ramblings which really do encourage you to think he suffers from some kind of paranoid delusional condition. At times I found this aspect of Sin to be very frustrating- his chattering and obsessions on a certain sayings or a play on words seem to hold things up. I have to admit that this works as device because the as the story gets going he does it less and you’re really drawn in. This is a well written, challenging piece of writing with an unusual and interesting plot.