Chilling, suspenseful and macabre, this is everything I look for in a horror story. Building tension bursts into moments of fear, like waves on the ocean carrying the reader on peaks and troughs of anticipation and dread. The reader frequently finds themselves releasing their breath in relief, unaware that they’ve been holding it, only for it to happen again the next time the action of the story escalates.
The main characters are likeable and relatable, which positions the reader to feel empathy for them when they find themselves in a situation they cannot control, and which promises most unfavourable outcomes. Because they are such normal people, it reminds the reader that this is the kind of thing that could potentially happen to anyone, regardless of their good intentions or innocence in making mistakes.
The writing is excellent, the imagery is precise and well-crafted, and the storyline is unpredictable. All in all, this is a shudderingly good read.
This is a quite a wistful and quirky read on one hand, yet quite dark and confronting on the other.
A deep sense of irony pervades the story and highlights the tragedy of the backstory which Roger reveals to Emma when she meets him at their old school. It is certainly thought-provoking about what comes after death and the likelihood that the spirit world could exist right alongside, or even intersect with, our own.
The raw reality of suicide and the jolting power of grief and survivor’s guilt are treated with sensitivity and empathy, and the story cleverly positions the reader to understand the perspectives of both Roger and Emma, and other people known to them both, as they share their experiences.
This story may be personally challenging to those who have lost friends or loved ones to suicide, but it may also offer some reassurance and objectivity through the different perspectives of the characters.
It is a testament to the skill of the author that the story is very well balanced and poignant, given its serious and sombre themes.