It’s my absolute pleasure to kick off the blog tour for this five star novel from SJI Holliday, The Lingering. I feel like this book doesn’t even need a blurb, you just seen that orginal, creepy cover and immediately want to read this novel; the excitement only increases once you find out it’s part psychological thriller, part ghost story!
Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for 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 locked-room 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.
Strange sightings, she saw it, she felt it, something is lingering.
This novel had me gripped from early on, there were little hints dropped about Ali, they had me constantly asking myself, ‘what’s the story here’, and ‘what’s that sentence alluding to’? It was a great technique to build suspense and ensure this plot had my full attention.
“Are your unconscious thoughts as dark as your heart?”
You only have to say the word asylum and my ‘eerie-detector’ starts tingling; it’s one of my favourite setting for a novel, so it was to my great delight that interspersed throughout this novel we had journal entries from a doctor who worked at the house when it was a psychiatric home. This coupled with the history of the town (witches!) was so interesting, creepy, but so interesting!
“I already know about the hospital’s past, and more importantly what happened before that … a long time before, when superstition and fear ruled the land.”
The Lingering has this creepy undertone running throughout, and it creates this level of uncertainly – it draws you in, while unsettling you at the same time. The mystery is strong and the ghost story element is superbly written! Most importantly, it isn’t over-written, and that’s what gives this novel the believability factor. That and the character creation, no matter how hard you try, you cannot get a read on Jack or Ali – initially, you’re not sure if you should be rooting for one over the other, both, or none. They are a couple clouded in secrets, seeking a fresh start, but what dark past are they running from?
The psychological aspects of this novel are brilliant, and the contrast between the characters added to the sense of unease. Ali has this dark aura about her, then you have Angela, a quirky believer in the paranormal, and with Smeaton you’re not entirely sure if he runs a cult or a commune. So the fact that these three narrate the novel works really well, because Ali is hiding her past, Angela wants her to reveal her past, and Smeaton wants to keep the peace, and I’m yet to read a novel where everyone gets what they want!
The Lingering will delight any light-horror/thriller fan, it’s incredibly atmospheric, it unsettles when it’s meant to, and chills when it needs to! The Lingering is the perfect title because as you read this novel, it feels like something is lingering, this darkness, this presence, and even once you’ve turned the last page, that lingering feeling never quite goes away…
“Something bad is coming.
And there’s no way to stop it.”
*My thanks to Orenda Books for providing me with a copy of this book & Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in the blog tour*
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 andThe Damselfly) featuring the much-loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and has dabbled in festive crime with the critically acclaimed The Deaths of December. Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, which she loved writing due to her fascination and fear of ghosts. She is proud to be one of The Slice Girls has been described by David Mark as ‘Dark as a smoker’s lung.’ She divides her time between Edinburgh and London and you will find her at crime-fiction events in the UK and abroad.
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