This latest offering from Claire L Smith certainly holds plenty of chills, much like her previous book, Helena. Ghosts, a creepy house, violence, time and body shifting; there’s lots of scares packed into this little novella.
The story is told by Zoe, now adult, about her and best friend Elle. Kind of outcasts at school the pair regularly frequented the woods near their homes. One day they came upon a strange house that seemed to immediately take its sinister grip on their unsuspecting psyches.
Most of us, I think, would see a house that certainly has all the hallmarks of being a haunted one, and make our way in the opposite direction pretty sharpish. But the house here doesn’t allow this, and thus begins the terror. You can’t even shout at the characters for being stupid, it’s just not their fault!
I won’t say too much more about the plot, but sufficed to say, the two girls enter the house and meet its previous inhabitants. Terrible things happened to this family, but it was basically violence and murder. Come on, a haunted house possessed by spirits who died falling down the stairs or getting electrocuted or something?
Zoe manages to escape the house but Elle isn’t as fortunate. As Zoe returns home she finds it physically impossible to even speak of the place, such is the tight grip it still has over her. She knows she needs to go back and find her bestie, and not just because people begin to suspect her of having to do something with her disappearance.
She ventures back, and discovers the true horrors of the place. And that’s all I’m saying.
The house itself plays a starring role in this pretty short tale. Within only a few pages the insidious terror at play is there for all to see. The place is described as such I could feel the dust in the back of my throat. Oh, and the foul tasting food on display inside? Yeah, my eyes told my tongue I could taste it.
This is a great novella that I got through pretty quickly, so you should do the same. And then go and check out Helena, too.
Categories: book review