My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 2 days
Pages - 416
Publisher - William Heinemann
Source - Review Copy
Blurb from Goodreads
An atmospheric and stunning literary debut, reminiscent of the gothic suspense of Shirley Jackson and the ghost stories of MR James
Tim and Abi have always been different from their peers. Precociously bright, they spend their evenings in their parents’ attic discussing the macabre and unexplained, zealously rereading books on folklore, hauntings and the supernatural. In particular, they are obsessed with photographs of ghostly apparitions and the mix of terror and delight they provoke in their otherwise boring and safe childhoods.
But when Tim and Abi decide to fake a photo of a ghost to frighten an unpopular school friend, they set in motion a deadly and terrifying chain of events that neither of them could have predicted, and are forced to confront the possibility that what began as a callous prank might well have taken on a malevolent life of its own.
We open with two teenagers obsessed with ghosts and all thing macabre, so the kids decide to make a ghost photo and it has long standing consequences. Abi and Tim are pretty happy being in each others company and are pretty different and weird. The photo marks the beginning of huge changes and the story takes place over years, Tim into adulthood with spooky and eerie happenings.
For me, the story could almost be three separate ones, the kids and their upbringing, the event that changes everything for Tim, the personal and emotive journey then a heavy focus with the supernatural, haunted "house" seances. Throughout them all we have some fabulous freaky spine tingling moments. I love how so much started with a "prank" mock up photo and the message of how dangerous it can be to tangle with the unknown.
I would LOVE this to be a movie - some of the scenes echoes the old school horror/ghosts movies, creepy creepy, Vincent Price type. I would have loved a more in-depth look at the later characters that turn up, the seances, the history. It may have been my fave section of the book, give me a creepy place with anything spooky and BAM I am hooked. For a debut, with the spooky creepy parts I loved, there are emotive, personal parts to it that was ok but I wanted more of the spook. I think some people will love the other aspects of the book, who doesn't like different themes throughout a book but I would have enjoyed more of the ghostlike creepy stuff. I did enjoy this and would like to see more from this author, 3/5 for me this time.