This is a suspenseful tale full of foreboding and intense dread, skilfully crafted to build slowly and relentlessly. It is a story of reality vs perception, causing the reader to continually question their own assumptions.
The story is really well written. Conversations and thoughts allow the reader into the main character’s mind, while his reactions allow them to share his genuine fear and doubt. The imagery is highly sensory, often macabre, with some great Gothic elements combined with the contemporary. Coates’ writing is powerful enough to prompt genuine physical responses in the reader, yet subtle enough to achieve the slow creep of fear that characterises the book.
This is an excellent psychological horror story, perfect for Halloween or any other day of the year.
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.