When Susi Holliday signed with Orenda Books I was over the moon! She is one of my favourite Scottish authors and I just knew that we were in for a major treat with this latest signing! I am delighted that Anne over at RandomThingsTours and Orenda asked me to be a part of this blog tour. Thanks to them and the author for my ARC of The Lingering to review.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient spiritual commune in the English Fens, desperate for a fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.
When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…
At once an unnerving mystery, a chilling thriller, and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.
Can you hear the creepy music playing already? I swear as soon as I opened this book and entered the pages that sound came whispering up from the book!
A commune set in an old abandoned psychiatric hospital is the setting for this novel. Enter stage, two new members from a material laden background and a cast of strange and disturbing inhabitants, what on earth could go wrong?! What follows is a suspense-filled story which will give you goosebumps on your goosebumps as the past and present collide!
So many questions came to me as I read, was the commune as innocent as it seemed? What secrets were the members hiding and just what brought Jack and Ali to Rosalind House? Were they simply escaping the rat race or was there more to their story than they let on?
Told from the point of view of Ali, Smeaton and Angela interspersed diary entries from the 1950s by Dr Henry Baldock, one of the docs in original asylum that now housed the commune, the author cleverly presents the plot to her readers. With Angela’s story told in the first person it was ever so easy to slip inside of her head and experience it through her eyes. I found myself suspicious and on alert as I read, not knowing who or what to trust. So many secrets and hidden pasts it was hard not to see Rosalind House as a character in its own right. I could almost feel the past seep out of the walls as the story unfolded.
“The Lingering” is a gothic, sinister and totally addictive read; spirits, ghosts, witchcraft and institutional abuse, power, and coercion all feature in the novel. It made me question what drives people to behave the way that we do, how much can we be manipulated and how much free will do we really have? There is so much I want to say but can’t incase I spoil the plot!
Susie Holliday never ceases to amaze me, she brings something new and different to the table every time she publishes a book and this one is no different. From the covergasmic lure of the cover to the creepy narrative and even more creepy characters I was hooked from the very beginning! A deep sense of unease settled in my tummy and never left me the whole way through! At one point I actually had to stop reading as it was dark and I was home alone! The Lingering is the perfect ghost story and one to curl up with on a dark winters day…if you dare!
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About the author
S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a pharmaceutical statistician by day and a crime and horror fan by night. Her short stories have been published in many places and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize with her story ‘Home from Home’, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in spring 2017. She is the bestselling author of the creepy and claustrophobic Banktoun trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly) featuring the much loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and the festive serial killer thriller The Deaths of December. Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, inspired by her fascination and fear of ghosts. You can follow Susi on Twitter @SJIHolliday or visit her website: sjiholliday.com.