This is a wonderful, bleak, scary and ultimately devastating novelette. Mark West is a very good writer indeed, and he succeeds in getting under your skin, making you feel deeply for his characters. Here we follow Michael, left lost, damaged and alone after the death of his wife, Nicola. In his grief he latches on to another lost soul, Saskia, and together they try to come to terms with their loss, whilst simultaneously trying to unlock the mystery of their recurring dreams of an old, ruined mill.
Mark West writes with great sensitivity, and the very real horror of Micheal's life is both terrible and poignant, and convincingly portrayed. This is the real thing, like the story's been ripped weeping and bleeding from the writer's heart. At times it reads like an old fashioned ghost story: the horror quiet and restrained, creepy and insidious:
"Something reflected in the water and caught his eye. He looked down and saw himself and the head of a person who appeared to be standing to his right. It was there and then suddenly gone. The shock of seeing it seemed to fill his head with pins and needles and he fought for a moment to catch his breath. Instinctively, he looked around but he was alone on the wall.
This was too much. "Who's there?" he called, looking along the tree line, hoping to catch a glimpse of the person in white again. "Who is it?""
If you like your horror fiction intelligent, gripping and genuinely unsettling, then a visit to Mark West's 'The Mill' is for you. If, however, you're of a fragile and nervous disposition, then stay well, well away...