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Saturday, 23 January 2016

‘Beneath the Lake’ by Christopher Ransom

Published by Sphere,
10 September 2015.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-5522-6 (PBO)

A family has come on vacation ... but when a storm blows up, eight year old Raymond sees something horrible that he’ll only come to terms with when he returns there.

This page-turner horror novel launches straight in with the events of that summer, thirty years ago, through Raymond’s eyes, We then move to a family reunion at that same lake, and meet the members of Raymond’s family, all damaged in different ways by that long-ago experience. One of the interesting features of the novel’s construction is that, though Raymond is the main focus, we’re given the events again through the eyes of other characters involved, seeing it slightly differently each time as we move closer to what might really have happened. All the elements of a good horror novel are here: the journey to the spookily-described deserted lake, the warnings, the twists and turns as each character reveals more, and of course the horror creeping towards them. This was well done, with a sinister presence moving from hint to encounter, and a genuinely unsettling manifestation of the evil in the loch. There was a good suprise twist at the end.

A creepy horror novel with a strong narrative and a good build-up of scary moments.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Christopher Ransom is the author of internationally bestselling novels including The Birthing House and The People Next Door. He studied literature at Colorado State University and worked at Entertainment Weekly magazine in New York, and now lives near his hometown of Boulder, Colorado.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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