Dark Matter: A Ghost Story by Michelle Paver

17/10/2011 § Leave a comment

Investigate the ‘phobic disorder’ of Jack Miller, a young disenchanted scientist who participates in an ill-fated expedition to the artic in the 1930’s. As his journal’s pages turn the tone alters from excitement to eerie disconcertment amid rumours of his destination’s penchant for ‘bad luck’. As the mission’s members are picked off by fate, the eternal darkness of the arctic begins to permeate Jacks very being. This atmospheric novel’s plot centres upon the value of companionship and the disastrous consequences of isolation. Read this alone by lamplight and you too will begin to wonder at what lurks in the shadows.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Book Review)

12/10/2011 § 3 Comments

Rebecca is the story of a young girl’s transformation from lowly companion of an insufferable Lady to wife of Maximillian De Winter and mistress of Manderly, a grand coastal estate. Far from a rags to riches romance this brooding gothic tale centres upon a naïve girl haunted by the memory of her recently deceased predecessor, the interminable Rebecca. Du Maurier draws upon Bronte to create an eerie and quietly brilliant landscape polluted with paranoia and self doubt. Likeable characters may be kept in the background but the heavily flawed antiheroes simply make the novel all the more enticing.

The Possessions of Doctor Forrest by Richard T. Kelly (Book Review)

12/07/2011 § 2 Comments

After his disappearance, Dr Forrest’s friends watch as the abyss that lies in his wake inexplicably consumes their every lead and the Grim Reaper’s touch edges closer to those they hold dear.  A foreseeable plot that is typical of gothic literature does not detract from the gripping mystery laid down in this book. A subtly sinister tale of partnership between Hubris and the femme fatale pays homage to the masters of the field (Dante in particular) without being weighed down by them. Kelly’s skilful displacement of the gothic dialect to the modern day lays the foundations for a neo-gothic genre.

The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler review

05/07/2011 § Leave a comment

Eric, a doctor specialising in trauma care, is persuaded to resurrect his long buried gift of hypnotism to extract information from the sole survivor of a ferocious massacre. But, when Eric’s son is kidnapped it seems that the secrets of his past have caught up with him. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Don’t be fooled; the level of awkwardness in the narrative gives this book a childlike feel, and the plot is strung together by the most tedious of tendrils. The Hypnotist was clearly engineered to emulate Larsson and its sole achievement is that it exceeds itself. It is even more appalling.

Sweeney Todd, or The String of Pearls by James Malcolm Rymer/Thomas Peckett Prest Review

20/06/2011 § Leave a comment

The earliest version of this famous story bears witness to the mysterious disappearance of Lieutenant Thornhill, the details of which only his faithful dog seems privy to. The mutt proceeds to obstinately skulks around a certain barber shop on Fleet street, which lies in close proximity to the famous Lovett’s Pie shop. Its mysterious persistence leads interested parties to unravel a unique story of murder, treasure and love. Sweeney Todd is darkly humorous, with a quintessentially British eccentricity and matter-of-fact divulgence of gloriously gruesome discoveries. The deliciously bizarre plot and wit as sharp as Sweeney’s barber blades make the original version an undervalued gem.

Mr Fox by Helen Oyeyemi Review

07/06/2011 § Leave a comment

*As featured in Stylist Magazine*

Mr Fox is cheating on his wife, with his imaginary friend. Mr Fox is also a serial killer; his heroines never make it out of a story alive. Oyeyemi punctuates the narrative with her protagonist’s own gruesome fairy tales to great effect; blurring the line between what you suppose is fact and hope to be fiction. Don’t be fooled by the inadequate blurb and misleading cover art, Oyeyemi has a sharp wit and isn’t afraid to use it. Mr Fox is a black comedy that draws you into a hilariously horrifying world, where your imagination can literally run away with you.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time by Mark Haddon Review

28/05/2011 § 3 Comments

When Christopher, a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome, finds a dog murdered on his street he decides to seek out the culprit and write a murder mystery along the way. As he narrates his detecting we witness his ardently regulated world fall apart. Haddon has created a challenging character that is extremely well researched and magnificently portrayed. In addition to succeeding in being an intriguing, if unconventional, detective story, this novel reveals the thoughts of a person who is innately difficult to comprehend. Hilarious and humbling, it’s a whirlwind education in the struggles faced by those with Asperger’s. Everyone should read this.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Review

06/05/2011 § 5 Comments

Pip narrates his journey from humble beginnings in childhood to the fulfilment of his ‘Great Expectations’ in the big city at the hands of a mystery benefactor. This is a timeless tale, with unmistakably Dickensian multidimensionality, which draws on the entire sphere of the reader’s emotions. At once a story of intrigue and love, comedy and tragedy, drama and poise, Great Expectations acts as an astute evaluation of the human condition that is unequivocally relevant to society today. Memorable quotes on every page and intricate characterisation deservedly place this novel amongst the best ever written.

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