The Shimmer at Fog Cottage
by Pete Worrall
I didn’t realize this was a British novella until the first character tutted. A cascade of tutting followed. I approve. This book moved briskly and had the feeling of a TV police procedural. The first scene felt like a Torchwood cold open. Not the awkward later seasons of Torchwood. I’m talking Peak Chibnall. A team of cops goes to Hilbre Island to investigate a series of murders. When the tide rolls in, they’re stranded overnight with a something violent and invisible. The book avoids lapsing into Full Predator Mode, though. There’s a visceral feeling of isolation and helplessness that pervades every moment. I often find horror endings a little anti-climactic, but this one was satisfying. Good job, Pete.
Why I Chose This One
The was the first book listed on my Customers Who Viewed banner. Which means we have something in common. If nothing else, some scumbag window-shopped both our books, then vamanosed without making a purchase. Full disclosure: it does look like Pete’s got stars on the UK Amazon. But it’s not like that’s the real Amazon. Let’s just agree to stick with what we’re good at. You do Graham Norton. We’ll do Amazon.
What I Liked
- This was fast paced. There are moments where the characters catch their breaths, but the clock is always ticking. This feeling is aided by the time stamp chapter titles.
- The isolation of Hilbre Island. The problem of horror is finding away around the simple solution of the characters just leaving. These characters are stranded by the very real environmental aspects of a very real Hilbre Island.
- Body horror. When death comes, it mangles. The scene of Jessica in the gate was particularly vivid.
- Suspense. This short book created some really tense moments.
- Gobshite. Not showers of gobshites, mind you. Just the single gobshite. But there should be more gobshites in literature.
What I Didn’t
- I found the characters pretty flat. Sorry, Pete. I did. I really couldn’t tell one character from the next. They were more a collection of names than fully fleshed individuals. That said, it wasn’t enough to detract from the experience.
Read This If You Like
- Police procedurals
- Body horror
- Supernatural baddies
Read indie books, scumbags.