My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - in and out over 10 days
Pages - 693
Publisher - MacMillan
Source - Bought online
Blurb from Goodreads
David Ash – detective of the paranormal – is sent to the mysterious Comraich Castle, secluded deep in the Scottish countryside, to investigate a strange, high-profile case: a man has been found crucified – in a room that was locked. The reports suggest that the cliff-top castle is being haunted . . .
Who – or what – is the reclusive hooded figure that Ash has seen from the window walking across the courtyard in the dead of night?
What are the strange, animal-like sounds that come from the surrounding woods?
And why are the castle’s inhabitants so reluctant to talk about what they have seen?
. . . what Ash eventually discovers is truly shocking.
This is a re read for me, I first read this in 2012 not realising it was a trilogy and I think it absolutely affected my enjoyment, despite both times getting a 3* rating. I would absolutely advise reading the first two books as it gives you better insight into Ash's character, the theme for the actual book and alerts you to it being all about the supernatural.
Ash is put forward to go to Comraich Castle to investigate a horrific crime and unexplained goings on, David has been very much a skeptic despite his job being an investigator of the supernatural. If you read the previous books you will appreciate why David has since had a change of heart and sets to investigate. However the Castle has a grim past, it is occupied by some of the most loathsome humans of our time and evil is drawn there. Restrictions are put upon Ash as they must protect their "elite" clients who "live" there. Names from the past history appear as characters and links and secrets of folk we mere everyday Joes think have passed appear in Comraich.
It is a weird tale with some dark and horrifying scenes that may turn the stomach of some readers, rape, cannibalism, incest, horror, death, ghosts and that is just touching on some of it. Supernatural goings on, claustrophobic scenes all with the hallmark of Herbert, if you are familiar with his past work you will be fine with this. Some of it is fantastical needing to suspend belief, as is with a lot of Herbert's writing. Despite being almost 700 pages I felt it could have been longer, the ending felt unfinished and for me, somewhat unsatisfactory although I know many love it just as it is. Always the signs an author has done their job when leaving the reader wanting more, for me though I need lots of closure and answers hence it just being 3/5.