The Visitors by Catherine Burns my Review
A creepy and unsettling dark and twisty thriller that send shudders up my spine ....
You know that big old house at the end of your street, the old one a bit run down but thats been quite grand at some point. The residents seem quiet and unassuming, a little odd but they keep themselves to themselves so they don't bother anyone - Well, they might be Marian and her brother, John. Oh I do hope not!
I certainly felt the location was familiar, an unspecified Northern seaside town (which I pictured in my mind as Redcar)
This deliciously dark and inventive tale is a slow burner, dark and sinister with a sense of creeping menace and building tension and the odd prickle at the back of your neck when you're reading it.
It is narrated by Marian and right from the start it's obvious she is damaged goods. A middle aged woman who lives with her brother, has few relationships and some very strange habits. She sleeps with a whole bunch of teddy bears, hoards and doesn't seem able to cope with normal everyday life.
I felt quite sorry for her, especially when I found out what her life has been like but she did frustrate me. It's also very clear that she closes her eyes to an awful lot that's going on around her including the very unpleasant things her brother gets up to. She looked up to him when they were little as he was the only person who was ever, sometimes, on her side, he cares for her and where would she be without him? She's never had a job, she knows she is plain and fat and dresses in other peoples cast offs from the charity shop she is a misfit and he is educated, he's worked as a teacher so its hardly surprising he's a bit domineering, she knows she's a ditherer.
She puts up with his strange habits and often brusque and even bullying attitude towards her because he is her older brother after all, and she knows how to placate him and ensure she never gets on the wrong side of his nasty temper, as long as she goes along with his way of doing things and never ever questions things he does, down in the cellar, even when she is sure they can't be right everything will be fine.
Or maybe not
Events are about to take an even more sinister turn because she can't avoid the cellar for ever, even though she finds the thought of what might be down there very very disturbing.
One day she acts a little out of character and realises that maybe things can change after all ....
I was rooting for Marion all through but she surprised me with her about turn, its a dark story and I love darkness and macabre characters and this pair certainly fit the bill. It's immensely readable and kept me turning the pages til late at night.
I was left wanting a tad more detail on some parts of the book which are skimmed over. It leaves a lot to the imagination, perhaps that's for the best?
Scary and dark and well written - just my cup of tea.
Here is the official blurb from Goodreads
Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother, John in a decaying Georgian townhouse on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to shut out the shocking secret that John keeps in the cellar.
Until, suddenly, John has a heart attack and Marion is forced to go down to the cellar herself and face the gruesome truth that her brother has kept hidden.
As questions are asked and secrets unravel, maybe John isn't the only one with a dark side.
Friday, 24 November 2017
Thursday, 23 November 2017
Blog Tour and Review – The Man in the Needlecord jacket – Linda MacDonald
My thanks go to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for this new novel.
Here are my thoughts after reading it…
All the lead characters in this book are the same side of 50 as me, making it hold great appeal. They are all also putting behind them failed relationships and trying to build new ones and galloping towards old age with dread and disbelief (well I know how that feels!).
The eponymous Man in the Needlecord jacket is Coll, an artist, self-centred and in my eyes a dislikeable arrogant absolute prat. We view him through the eyes of 2 of the women in his life. Sarah, who was widowed young and has been developing a long term relationship with Coll over quite a few years. It’s rapidly apparent that her self-esteem is low and no wonder, she is involved with this revolting man who sneakily manipulates and undermines her, so she is barely aware he is doing it. She loves this deeply unlovable guy, but is this reciprocated?
Coll is a flirty, womanising divorcee, he gathers admiring women to stroke his fractured ego. When he meets Felicity a slightly flighty restauranteur also recently separated and in the midst of great upheaval in her life, the last thing she needs is another complication but it arrives, nevertheless, in the form of Coll who develops an obsession with her and seeks to woo her in his own peculiar way.
The story flows well and drags you into the lives of these disparate characters who are all quite deeply flawed, which gives them great depth whilst making them real and believable, but this also created a difficulty to build empathy with any of them. I was constantly thinking “I’m glad I’m not her” about all of the women, even the sub characters, Marianne Fanclub to name just one, and “I’m glad I don’t know him” about the men!!
But people aren’t perfect and lives even less so, and it would seem that even the people we could most envy, harbour the deepest fears and insecurities. The book focusses on the mental and emotional aspects of why people do things and the long term results of events out of our control and within it but along badly chosen paths.
This is an emotional and engaging read, well angled towards the more mature reader and tackles emotional abuse and coping with loss and broken relationships.
It is part of a series of books by Linda MacDonald, but can be read as a stand alone, though if you intend to read them all getting them in the right order would be the best approach as the characters in this book are featured in her others.
You can find out more about the series by visiting Linda’s Amazon page where you can also order this book and her other titles.
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