Moody and atmospheric, this is the type of horror book that seeps into your psyche, leaving you wondering who is controlling whom, and how.
The evil threaded through the novel manifests as both grotesque and obvious, and subtle and pervasive. The thrills come from cheering on the mercurial Noemi, a capable stubborn heroine, who is both surrounded by danger at every turn and bored stiff at the moldering isolated house she is stuck at.
The story ticks off the elements of gothic horror: remote castle, check. Omens, portents, visions, check. Supernatural events, check. High strung emotion, check. Damsels in distress, check.
You needn’t be a fan of horror or gothic literature to enjoy the compelling writing or pacing, but noticing the gothic tropes is fun. Less a story about figuring out the mystery (the portents and ominous dream scenes take care of that) than urging Noemi’s escape, this is a page turner for a wide variety of audiences. (Though there is some graphic descriptions of a man living through the last days of his swollen, putrid body disintegrating around him, and some disturbing scenes of sexual coercion and violence.)
Fans of HBO’s Lovecraft Country and thriller writers like Tana French and Tess Gerritsen will eat this one up.