This wasn't what I was expecting at all from a book called Haunted - the ghosts and spectres are all in the mind of the main character, Nigel.
I thought Ms Savva wrote Nigel's increasing paranoia very well - you can't help feeling sympathy for him and I loved the way he, at times, seemed quite normal - which brought it home how 'normal' your average murderer can seem! I thought the way he couldn't control his temper was portrayed extremely well, too.
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.
I was gripped by this book more and more, especially with the introduction of Kelly, which added a new dimension to the story. I enjoyed second guessing the plot, but the ending still surprised me. This is a skilfully written psychological drama;the author builds tension and explores the nature of paranoia, incorporating twists and turns in a plot that keeps the reader guessing. I will be reading more by Miss Savva. Highly recommended.
"Haunted" is a well-written, dark novel by Maria Savva. It tells the story of Nigel Price, who ruined his own life, and the lives of several others, by a dreadful act that was fuelled by his uncontrollable anger. When we first meet Nigel, it is twenty years after this fateful event, but through a series of flashbacks, we learn about his early life and how his anger overwhelmed him, with such tragic consequences.
Nigel is remorselessly hounded by his conscience and haunted by what he has done. So much so, that he becomes introverted and withdrawn as the years pass. The novel charts the disintegration of his life - and his mind- until he is not clear what is real. As readers, we are also "in the dark". Maria Savva feeds us clues, but I was still surprised by the final chapter of the book.
There is much to admire and like about "Haunted": the writing is very good and the plot, well constructed. The characters are developed in an interesting way and the author successfully explores the way trauma can affect the human mind. I also thought the final chapter was excellent.
On a personal note - and this is the reason I did not give the novel 5 stars - I found the book to be too "dark"! However, I wholeheartedly recommend "Haunted" to all who enjoy a psychological novel, with a paranormal twist.
Haunted is the tragic tale of Nigel Price, a man whose child-born anger issues developed as he matured and bubbled over in a terrible accident and left him haunted by his actions for the next twenty years.
Nigel had a strict upbringing from parents who didn't want to have a spoilt child, but instead left him feeling unloved and jealous of his friends and the material objects their parents generously gave. It lead to bouts of lashing out angrily and a false bravado which as a teenager he fuelled with drink.
As an adult Nigel was an IT specialist but still he felt the need to prove himself to his parents and those around, he was brash and loud and drove his car too fast, showing emotional needs of power seeking.
All this came to a head on the night of August 19th 1991. Nigel was driving home late, taking a road to avoid heavy traffic, he was speeding, when forced to stop abruptly by a woman driver at traffic lights.
Emily Baxter's life ended that night in a terrible set of events, and Nigel's life as he knew it ended too. Fear and guilt took over as the days, weeks, months and years went by with no-one solving the case of Emily Baxter. One man knew the truth and it plagued his life.
Nigel withdrew from his wife, his family, his friends and his IT job and kept to himself until Kelly entered his life. That's when things took a spookier turn.
This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author.
After reading Coincidences by this author i couldn't wait to read her next book Haunted.It literally blew me away and gave me sleepless nights.
It's not a scary book as such but it is dark and sinister at times. The way it deals with the mental capacity and guilt of one human being is excellent.
The story is about a guy, Nigel, who committed a crime some 20 years previous and the guilt he tries to cope with. This affects not only him, but his wife and children, his victim Emily and her family. Haunted is also read through the eyes of Emily, her lover Ramiro and Nigel's wife June.There's also a character in the book called Kelly who bears a striking resemblance to Emily, but who is she really?
Haunted shows how easy it is to be consumed by guilt and how a single act can haunt someone til they don't know what is real and what is a figment of their imagination.Haunted also shows how fragile the mind really is.
I absolutely loved this book!The author has done a brilliant job of getting into the mind of a man tortured by what he had done.There's also references to various mental illnesses, paranoia, depression, hallucinations and mental breakdowns.
The best thing about Haunted in my opinion is the way the story draws you into the book so you feel as though you are on the outside looking in and watching everything play out.I really felt as if i was there! And long after i finished reading i kept thinking about this book.
Haunted is full of twists and turns and i guessed a couple of things that turned out to be right. BUT its a fabulous book that is worth every penny and i think the author should charge more than £1.92 that this book is selling for.
SO... If you want a book that will give you goosebumps and make you think and feel for all of the characters, then haunted is the book for you.
Its simply a brilliant book and i've recommended it to many friends who have it on their kindle and enjoyed it too :)
I was lucky enough to read this story in advance of publication and I loved it from beginning to end.
I really enjoyed the in-depth character building - so important to a story - where I could see into the minds of each of them, making for great reading. The plot was dark and clever and kept me guessing until the end.
The story gave great insight into the emotions of mankind, where guilt can create an obsessive and insane point of view. We can wonder what we'd do in the circumstances given in the plot and whether conscience is a spark for 'doing the right thing' and if we don't, we have to accept the consequences - these issues are dealt with creatively, yet never once leaving behind reality...cleverly done.
A fantastic read, well written within its many twists and turns, and so far, my favourite story by this talented author.
I downloaded this book sometime ago and due to my very long TBR list I had only recently picked it up! And it was certainly worth the wait. This is a very dark tale of murder and one that reaches deep into the mind of the protagonist Nigel. Suffering from paranoia and guilt he tries to justify his actions from one terrible night many years before. He hits the self-destruct button and starts the long journey over time battling with his conscience and sanity. This book was so well written and really got inside the mind of Nigel and you actually feel sorry for him at times. This is a dark, sinister read and one you will be drawn into from the very first page. I will certainly be reading more books by this talented author.
Nigel Price is an ordinary man. He leads an average life until one eventful night. It changed the course of his life. Try as he may he just can not let go of that night, and his past keeps coming back to haunt him.
Every day, every waking hour he is constantly reminded of this. His restless sleepless nights, the regret and quilt just eat away at his soul. Soon he is not sure what is real and what is not. Is he becoming paranoid, or are things just not as they seem.
A fantastic all night read. Maria Savva writes with passion and detail, I felt as if I were inside Nigels mind. Filled with some twists, turns, suspense and paranormal thrills. I highly recommend to suspense/thriller/paranormal lovers.