Louise Douglas - The Room in the Attic
This modern Gothic novel is chilling and gripping. The story weaves between three different timelines - opening with architect Lewis in 2021 as he faces the prospect of assessing the Victorian building of All Hallows for conversion into luxury modern accommodation for clients of his firm. The body of the novel is concerned with the building's two former incarnations - firstly a thread in 1903 when it was a lunatic asylum, and secondly Lewis's own memories of his time there when it was a tough boarding school in 1993. Misfit, sensitive teenager Lewis is sent there after losing his mother, when his father remarries. He's assigned to share a room with moody Isak, just below the attic. Strange noises, mysterious smells, nightmares and fears trouble the boys. They form a tentative bond as they begin to investigate the story of nurse Emma Everdeen from 1903. The novel reveals the inhumanity of the former lunatic asylums, and the harshness of some boarding schools.There are edge-of-seat ghostly visitations and interweaving of timelines as the boys strive to put right an old injustice. I'm not usually into Gothic novels, but this one gripped me right to the end.
Jackie Kabler - The Perfect Couple
...Or the Perfect Lie? I found this psychological thriller absolutely enthralling. I couldn't stop turning the pages. Gemma returns home to Bristol after a weekend away for work, to find her house empty. Her husband of less than a year, Danny, is not there. Full of misgivings, she waits anxiously for a few days before going to contact the police. What follows is a journey of extreme twists and turns, which becomes even more of a nightmare for Gemma. But is her own account reality or a lie? What truly happened to Danny? - and is there a connection to other murders in the area? Told from the point of view of Gemma, and of the police officers involved in the investigation, the author weaves a plot that is totally unexpected, brilliantly done. I shall look out for more from her.