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.
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