I received an Advance Review Copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I had already read Maria Savva's Coincidences, a family drama, which I loved and gave 5 stars, so I was keen to read Haunted. I was a bit worried it would be a horror, as I am quite squeamish, but I need not have worried. The subject matter is very dark, and the author manages to make the reader feel sympathy for the protagonist, Nigel, when I wouldn't have thought this was possible, given the nature of his crime. The novel shows how Nigel is persecuted by his memories and how they never leave him for a moment. He becomes obsessed and the events of one evening have a destructive impact his entire life for decades. No matter how he tries to justify to himself what he has done, he can't. He feels certain everyone knows and becomes paranoid. The author kept us guessing right up until the end,and I didn't get it right! Is he losing his mind? Has the trauma from decades ago ruined his mind altogether? What in his life is real. The novel also charts the relationships between Nigel and his family and the destructive influence it has on him and them. The arrival of a young temp who comes to work in his firm in a department he didn't know existed, unbalances Nigel and the fine line between reality and his imagination running wild is very difficult to discern.
Not a novel I would normally have read, but Maria Savva has a gift for crossing genres and addressing difficult topics. She seemed to really get inside Nigel's traumatic psyche. With plenty of twists and turns to keep you engaged all the way to the end, I would highly recommend this for anyone really!
I will be picking up more of her back catalogue soon.