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Free on 30th Mar 24 - 3rd Apr 24
View on Amazon.co.uk


"Upfront gripping, horror that goes Poltergeist immediately and then escalates to Exorcist levels."

Reviewer: .

When a young girl goes house to house looking for her cat late at night, Ricky and Myra, staying with their grandmother, are unable to help. The mystery next morning has the entire neighbourhood afraid. For while the girl knocked on many doors, no one saw where she went, and the house she claims she lived in is a ruin...

This is a gripping horror story that rapidly becomes outright terrifying. This isn't the horror of suggestion and the corner of the eye: it moves passed that in the first few pages and just keeps going. There is something evil in that house, and not just the supernatural. The situation Ricky finds himself in, in purely mundane terms, is a real-world horror that will chill many adults.

The characterisation is outstanding, particularly for a YA book. Ricky is an interesting character, a good older brother and in many ways a boy who had to grow up to early. His mother's issues, the reason he is staying with his grandmother and his attempts to make sure his little sister is shielded from everything add up to a surprisingly complex character for a children's book. Best of all, it is all shown, not told. Also the adults, in general, are not stupid comparing notes with each other and not immediately dismissing the children's fears.

As an adult, the urge to slap Lori, his mother, is had to resist. Her behaviour at first is just 'ill' but rapidly becomes obvious it is something much worse. The adult horror in this is more the all-too-realistic situation of Ricky's home life rather than any ghost. I know people in their 30's who'd have trouble with this, far less a seventeen year-old!

More to the point, as a lover of horror books, this is damn scary, and not one I willingly put down until the end. It kept me hooked. By loc 100 I realised I'd miss my train home, if I didn't stop reading. I missed the train. At p 143 it goes full on exorcist, and to be honest I lost some interest.

The ending is both terrifying and frustrating, as There is a lack of real world consequences in the judicial frame for the events that happened and were witnessed.

There's one idiot ball in books like this I can't forgive: when someone starts vomiting pea soup, you call a priest, not a professor. If the Professor is a professor of the subject, then they call a priest - especially when they have watched priests and tribal elders throw spirits out before. No one in this whole book ever calls a priest!

On a side note, I am used to sugar skulls being a Halloween sweet treat you eat, so it was a surprise to see them being made of ceramic (Calavera).

This is allegedly a Young Adult book. Screw that. Horror readers who enjoy psychological or body horror, and possession stories, of adult age, get this. The bus scene alone is worth the price. For people who like their horror subtle, it loses some interest partway through.

Rating: 4

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