The Ghost Hunters, by Neil Spring

Ghost Hunters, Neil Spring

Intriguing read – Borley Rectory, reputed to be the most haunted house in England…

Publisher: Quercus | Publication date: 24th October 2013 | Edition: Paperback

A slow and brooding mystery that builds to a satisfying conclusion.

This story mainly concentrates around Borley Rectory, once reputed to be the most haunted house in England, and combines certain facts with the author’s unique fictional additions. It’s told via the diary Sarah Grey (fictional), the assistant of Harry Price, a ghost hunter and genuine ‘real-life’ person in his field.

The book starts with the introduction of this diary and continually weaves its tale to complete a full circle. And just when you think it’s all wrapped up…the author extends the story that little bit more and leads it to quite the perfect conclusion. I won’t spoil it, just say that it was an unexpected and nice, neat ending. All loose ends get tied.

Don’t be fooled by thinking this is your usual summary of diary entries either, you know the sort where snippets of scaremongering and facts are rammed down your throat for effect. It’s told incredibly well, and it brews nicely (occasionally for a little too long in places), plus it was fairly creepy without being dramatically graphic.

To be honest this story doesn’t command your time, it deserves it. So be patient, don’t expect massive thrills and spills – it’s not that sort of book.

I really enjoyed it, so why only 4/5? Well, it could have been trimmed down, just a wee bit.

As that’s my one and only criticism, I would happily recommend it to anyone that’s interested in a traditional (but certainly not a cozy), haunted house mystery.

Rating: 4/5

(My thanks to the publishers, Quercus, and the author, Neil Spring, for the signed copy I won in a Twitter competition.)

Follow Neil Spring on Twitter: @NeilSpring

Rooms, by Lauren Oliver

Rooms 27.09.14

Not your average ghost story.

Publisher: Hodder & Stroughton | Publication date: 25th September 2014 | Edition: Hardback (own copy)

After getting this book I was so looking forward to reading it. I thought, what a great concept? No dead people hanging around and scaring the living, but rather the actual house communicating and reacting – perhaps with a creak here, a smashed light bulb there, sometimes a groan – always there, just not quite.

All things considered, this book was very different from what I expected. It was erring more on the side of a ‘family crisis’ than your typical ‘haunted house’ story. When I finished it my main question was: exactly how dysfunctional and unfortunate can one family be?!

Richard Walker has died leaving his estranged family behind. They arrive at the old family home to sort out the will, the belongings and remember a few things they had all forgotten.

Considering the fact that Minna launches herself at anything with a pulse and her daughter did get to witness her mother ‘entertaining’, despite this, the little one appears relatively unaffected and is the most switched on. Minna’s brother, Trenton, has some manic depressive issues following his car accident and is a little more sensitive than the others. And if that wasn’t enough, their mother, Caroline, likes a drink or three. Even the house-ghosts have their share of ‘life issues’ that they’re still affected by.

I liked the way you got to learn a little more about each character as you moved through the book with small ‘chapters’ that were titled with the character’s name. Also the way it was sectioned with the part of the house you were in. But after working my way through these I kept expecting something more to happen, I can’t put my finger on it.

Would I recommend it? Well, yes, probably BECAUSE it’s different. And there is one part that keeps you on the edge of your seat, if only for 2/3 chapters with the arrival of a new ghost…I won’t say any more ’cause it’ll spoil it. Just don’t expect a lot more tension and suspense – it wasn’t that sort of book.

Rating: 3.5/5

You can follow the author on Twitter: @OliverBooks