Release Date: 21/10/10
'What is it? What does it want? Why is it angry with me?' January 1937. Clouds of war are gathering over a fogbound London. Twenty-eight year old Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life. So when he's offered the chance to be the wireless operator on an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway: five men and eight huskies, crossing the Barents Sea by the light of the midnight sun. At last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year. Gruhuken. But the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave. He faces a stark choice. Stay or go. Soon he will see the last of the sun, as the polar night engulfs the camp in months of darkness. Soon he will reach the point of no return - when the sea will freeze, making escape impossible. And Gruhuken is not uninhabited. Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark.
Having read Michelle’s Young Adult Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series I knew that she could write but I was wondering what she’d bring to the table for the adult reader in this, her first ghost story for the adult market.
What unfurls not only goes to prove Michelle’s talent but the way in which she beautifully describes the isolation made this a book more about keeping sane in a desolate climate over a ghost story. It is a cracking read with the reliance on xenophobia as well as utilising the readers brain to create the terror without having to do anything, in much the same way Spielburg did it in Jaws without the reader actually seeing it until late in the film.
Add to this some great use of character by making the principle protagonist someone that the viewer will like, a great touch of pace as well as utilising a number of tricks picked up from her years as a YA author and the reader will definitely have a great read all in. The only downside is the relative shortness of the offering which at 212 pages may be a better title to use as a bridging gap for the Young Reader to Adult titles.