Sometimes the dead reach back...
Leigh Harker’s quiet suburban home was her sanctuary for more than a decade, until things abruptly changed. Curtains open by themselves. Radios turn off and on. And a dark figure looms in the shadows of her bedroom door at night, watching her, waiting for her to finally let down her guard enough to fall asleep.
Pushed to her limits but unwilling to abandon her home, Leigh struggles to find answers. But each step forces her towards something more terrifying than she ever imagined.
A poisonous shadow seeps from the locked door beneath the stairs. The handle rattles through the night and fingernails scratch at the wood. Her home harbours dangerous secrets, and now that Leigh is trapped within its walls, she fears she may never escape.
Do you think you’re safe?
I’ve read a few Darcy Coates novels, but this one is unlike any of those I’m familiar with. It’s creepy, chilling, and guaranteed to have you leaving lights on all over the house – but the premise is something I haven’t come across in other horror novels. Which is why this review will be brief since I don’t do spoilers.
I’m not the first reviewer to say they almost DNFed the book, but most of those reviewers also encouraged readers to stick with it, and everything would soon make sense. The beginning is slow, filled with the monotonous details of Leigh’s everyday life interspersed with some terrifying moments that didn’t seem to make sense. I couldn’t imagine why the author chose to begin the story this way. Trust me when I say you’ll be rewarded with a jaw-dropping reveal later on. Everything will click.
Something else resides in Leigh’s house with her. The doorknob of a locked closet under the stairs rattles at night when whatever is on the other side tries to get out. It watches while she sleeps – if she ever manages to get any. Then there’s the harrowing encounter with sharp tools in a gardening shed when the door mysteriously slams shut and traps her inside. There’s no shortage of gripping scenes that may have you holding your breath while reading. Coates draws the reader in and makes them feel as if they’re right beside Leigh experiencing every terrifying moment with her.
Surprisingly, the story also contains some bittersweet and heartfelt scenes – and I can’t say that about most horror novels I’ve read. Part of the ending shot out of left field for me, but it comes with an explanation. If you’re looking for a different spin on the haunted house tale, give this novel a chance. Just remember to hang with it a few chapters.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.