Take one dead cat and add a few dark secrets involving an ancient Indian burial ground and the result is terrifying. Note that Stephen King is the author and you’ll soon wish you’d stayed in the safety of the basement! I love this book as I love all of Stephen King’s books because he can place a perfect American family in an idyllic setting, in this case the Creeds who move to a house in the woods in Maine, and just let us watch them unravel! This is definitely one to savour over Halloween, a season dedicated to the (hopefully) faithfully departed. Just make sure the cat pretending to purr beside you on the sofa has your best interests at heart as you lurch towards the final chapters.
Do not be fooled by the gentle tone of this book, it lures the reader in like a spider in a web! The central characters are two sisters, Merricat Blackwood and her older sister Constance, who are surviving in their large isolated house with their Uncle Julian. It takes a while to realise what happened to the rest of the family and why Constance doesn’t leave the confines of the garden. She relies on Merricat to bring home whatever is needed and seems to be the weaker of the two until Merricat’s secrets start to seep out. She is a character who will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
So many TV and film productions of this book have been made, the latest starring Daniel Radcliffe, but it is always worth revisiting the book. The story centres on a young lawyer sent to settle the affairs of Mrs Alice Drablow whose house is at the end of terrifyingly named Nine Lives Causeway. Of course, it is always wreathed in fog and mystery and surrounded by marsh! This is a great ghost story packed with echoes of lost souls and enough sharp turns to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. You’ll be glad that it is a slim volume but it packs enough atmosphere and frights to make you wish it was even shorter.