Book Review – Enter the Darkness by Sarah Budd

I don’t think a story’s title could sum up its contents quite as precisely as this one. The darkness prevails throughout this tale and, by the time you finish reading, it will have probably ingrained itself upon your puny and insignificant soul.

The book follows four main protagonists, though some are featured more than others, as they each venture deep inside the dark and unforgiving caves beneath old London town. These caves are a great tourist attraction and have been popular for many years, so surely there’s nothing strange going on down there?

Of course there bloody is!

These ancient tunnels are haunted by the White Lady, a being from long ago, who requires an offering of human flesh just once a year (see, she’s not too greedy) to keep her going. This year’s sacrifice has already been sorted, so those charged with delivering said sacrifice have done their jobs well. That is, until things start to unfold and the plan derails.

So what about these characters? Well;

Garth has been a loner for all of his life, and has always felt at home in the darkness here. So when he manages to get the gig of tour guide he finally feels like he is home. We’re talking dream job sort of stuff here.

Cassie has lost her sister, and feels the answers to her questions are to be found deep down in the caves.

Bill has been working as a tour guide for too long, and his dream to travel the US is as dead as the previous year’s sacrifice. The darkness will never let him escape, but why?

Finally we have Sienna, and she’s just a bit of a bitch, but every good horror story needs one of these.

I’m not going to talk plot any more than I have done already, so just go and enjoy it for yourself. But the atmosphere is what really impressed me. I mentioned earlier about the darkness, and it is this ‘opposite-of-light’ that really shines through here – not a great choice of phrase I know. I did have to keep checking that the lights around me weren’t dimming as I read, such was the claustrophobic atmosphere created. The descriptions of these tunnels and the absolute blackness they hold were really great, and have kind of put me off ever going in a cave again. In fact, turning the lights off at home now brings with it a new kind of terror.

Darkness, ancient folk horror, occult sacrifices, and flesh gorging; this has them all. If any of those are a tick with you, then check the batteries in your torch, pack some supplies (and a flare gun), and head deep down into the darkness of the caves. Forever!

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