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Started Well & the Fell to Pieces
on 3 January 2014
The first three quarters of this book were quite brilliant. It was a suspense filled ghost story to rival Susan Hill's "The Woman in Black" until suddenly it all went to pieces.
The beginning of the story is simple enough with the picture of a happy academic couple just approaching Christmas when their daughter is 4 years old. It all goes to pieces when their daughter, Naomi, disappears on a London shopping trip. Small clues from the start of the book start to take on a different meaning and all is very much not as it seems.
The author creates a very natural scene of a couple torn apart when they loose their only daughter. Strange sounds start in the house and pictures have extra people in them. This is all a very traditional style of ghost story which has brilliant suspense and leaves the reader not wanting to put it down. All the traditional ghost story props are there - photos, locked attics, things being moved & Jonathan Aycliffe really makes the most of them. He also takes things a step further with feelings of menace, overpowering hatred and lust.
Unfortunately the author is unable to sustain this level of writing and seems to go adrift in a big way. Instead of continuing the brilliant atmosphere and suspense of the ghost story it lurches into some sort of second rate horror story with mass murders and excessive descriptions of gore. In a matter of a couple of pages the atmosphere is gone and the reader is left feeling very cheated. Ghost stories should be full of suggestions and atmosphere so that the reader's own imagination takes over rather than descriptions of blood and gore.
I felt very cheated at the end of this book. The author could have arrived at the same ending whilst continuing with the same style of writing. There was no need to lurch into a second rate horror novel that didn't do his earlier writing justice. I really felt the writer let himself down. What caused this change - a rush for a deadline? The author ran out of steam? Who knows but it was terrible mistake on the part of the author and the publisher to allow this to happen.