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Fair, but not his best...
on 22 February 2012
There is something decidedly "old-school" about the way F.G. Cottam puts together his horror chillers; reliant mainly upon slow development, gathering menace and strange, inexplicable supernatural happenings which play out at a psychological level - at his best these tools are strongly effective. With "Brodmaw Bay", however, I felt there was something a little laboured in his approach.
Perhaps it was the way he relayed background to his plot-setting that had a very "researched" feel to it, or the many superfluous contemporary cultural references that peppered the narrative, or the rather pessimistic view of contemporary London - no doubt intended to make the idea of the Cornish village all the more idyllic - but coming across as unnecessary, bombastic tub-thumping. All the characters in the Greer family excel at something - even the father, who sees himself as a failure but isn't really - and the irritatingly precocious personas of the children which immediately brings a smugly affluent, middle-class perspective to the proceedings.
The plot was reasonably well constructed, though I found the central idea predictable and a bit hackneyed, with twists just a little too fortunate and contrived to be convincing.
This is all very negative; I really wanted to like this book but found it disappointing, especially in comparison to "Dark Echo" which I read a few months ago.
Nevertheless, in its favour, it did keep me reading till the end; contrivances aside, it was entertaining, just not the best I feel this author can deliver.
This is by no means a bad novel, but it isn't particularly outstanding.