Horn Lake

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Horn Lake

Last Free Dates: 5th Oct 21 to 8th Oct 21
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...A book that will haunt you like the ghosts it portrays....

Jackie Harmon and her family have relocated to the Horn Lake estate. The remote grand manor now houses five: her estranged daughter, her older stepson’s anger issues, his isolated brother and her workaholic husband. With family drama stirring, the past threatens to repeat itself. Because the last time a family stayed at Horn Lake, no one left alive.

Horn Lake is a traditional horror story, and I spoil nothing about it if I say it is very much in the vein of some of the old classic horrors. At some points it did put me in mind of certain Victoriana I have read. Like these it has a very slow start, and I will admit on my first read I skipped a few pages until the story picked up pace. Note, that says on my first read, which should tell you how good this is.

This is a horror story, make no bones, and it has no problems switching from psychological horror, to the graphically physical when needed. The suspense ramps up smoothly throughout, and the mystery of what is going on takes several unexpected twists that kept me intrigued to the last page. It is very tightly plotted, with no wasted words, and the slow start ramps up until the book becomes a page turner I could not put down.

The ending fitted, and it is hard to see how else things could have gone. I would not say happy or sad, more scarring and bittersweet. It could have gone worse; it is a mark of how attached I grew to all the characters that this reader, at least, wishes it had gone better.

The writing style is fluid, in a third person close view that lets you see inside the character’s heads, allowing the collisions of misunderstandings and withheld information that leads to the climax. It has the rarest accolade I can offer: No one in this book is stupid. The author has the gift of sketching a character in a few lines, and showing who they are through their actions, bringing the characters to realistic life on the page.

Jackie is an easy heroine to like: intelligent, brave, and determined. The slow corruption of the family members is beautifully written: I wanted to shout at the page because I could guess what was coming, but the mistakes they made were logical and in character, and no spoilers, traps that had been beautifully set up.

There’s nothing to say about the formatting, spelling and layout, simply because it is excellent and unobtrusive, giving no distractions from the story. The cover is basic, but fits the genre and story perfectly.

I didn’t realise until I had finished it and read the author’s note that this is a crossover with several of his other series. It is not necessary to have read them to enjoy this, as the characters are quite clear. I have read precisely one of his other books, Spiderstalk, and (as you can see from my rating of that book), thoroughly enjoyed it.

Horror readers should enjoy this – for a real aficionados read it after dark and alone. Suspense readers who like a horror flavour will also enjoy it, and quite possibly those who enjoy action/horror.

I loved it, and save for the slow start, consider it excellent. I’ve read it twice.

Rating: 4
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