Wednesday 17 April 2013


Reviewed by JackieMarchant

This is a ghost story that grips you from the start and keeps you gasping until the end.  It’s not one of those with a slow build-up of tension – the ghost is there on page one, leaving no doubt that it’s not a very nice ghost.
When sixteen year old Elliot moves with his dad and younger brother into a vast crumbly old mansion, it doesn’t take the boys long to make contact with the ghost – nor does it take long for Elliot to realise that Ben is already suffering from the evil presence in the house.
This isn’t an ordinary ghost, some lost spirit trying to find its way home.  This is the ghost of a serial killer, who enjoyed letting his victims run so he could hunt them.  And now, as a ghost, he is even more twisted and evil.
We meet his victims, the ghost children who still haunt the place, and we meet the old lady who was a teenager when the last sixteen year old boy in the house wrote his terrifying diary before disappearing.
There is no mystery here – the facts are laid open through the diary, so you know what horrors lurk in the house and you know you are going to have to face them.  And you know that the ghost likes children best.  Yet, the plot still manages as many twists and turns as the labyrinth inside the forbidden East Wing of the house, while Elliot and Ben are drawn ever deeper into a world of horror.
Cliff McNish’s taut and fast-paced writing leaves his poor readers with hardly a moment to draw breath.  But you can’t help but read on . . .


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