Control, Coercion and Retribution
The Lingering is the latest book by SJI Holliday and is published by Orenda Books.
Described as ‘an unnerving mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story’ this is a book I was really looking forward to reading. The cover of this book is just so atmospheric and creepy!
Please do read on for my thoughts…
About The Lingering
Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient spiritual 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…
Jack and Ali Gardiner arrive at Rosalind House running away from the life they have known. Jack worked for the police department in the very distressing unit of child protection. Ali worked as a nurse in a very busy hospital. Both arrive, exhausted, looking to start afresh and leaving the hectic and chaotic world of city life behind.
Rosalind House is home to a commune, a place of refuge for folk, who for various reasons, all want to leave the hardships of their lives behind them. The English Fens is the setting, with Rosalind House a place that holds a very interesting and quite disconcerting history, having once been the home of a psychiatric hospital. The local village was originally associated with witches leaving it’s residents still affected by the traumatic events of their past.
For the current residents of Rosalind House, it is a place of sweet refuge. They survive in a self-sufficient bubble where communication with the outside world, while not forbidden, is certainly not encouraged. When Ali and Jack meet up with the other residents there is an immediate, yet unexplained, change in the atmosphere.
Angela has been staying at Rosalind House for awhile now and is searching for her own truth. Having lived in the nearby village for sometime before moving in with the commune, Angela very much believes in the presence of those who have gone before. She is convinced that the troubled existence of the previous residents has left an aura, a shadow, a sense of something dark between the walls and corridors of Rosalind House. Angela is determined to unearth the secrets in the darkest of corners and she thinks she may have a friend in Ali.
As the weeks pass, life moves on for all the residents and Rosalind House appears calm. But underneath the surface something is happening, something is not right.
The Lingering is a mystery that drip feeds the reader as you try to figure out what’s real and what lies beneath the surface. All the characters have questionable traits which raise suspicions but yet they all appear to gel and know their place in the hierarchy.
The setting in the Fens conjures up a very brooding and dark place, surrounded by wetlands and woods, with parts of Rosalind House closed off and it’s secrets with it. The ominous atmosphere is ever present, particularly at night-time, as the silence descends on the building. There is something amiss in Rosalind House, a subtle change from the tranquil vibes that it’s residents were happy to cohabit in up to this point.
The Lingering is a dark gothic-style mystery with a ghostly vibe, but for me it was not quite the supernatural story I had been expecting. There are ‘otherwordly’ elements to the story, but I would have loved if the historical references were fleshed out a little further, with the walls of Rosalind House revealing a few more of it’s past secrets, adding to the sinister aspect of the story.
Overall there are dark personalities at play in The Lingering and the depravity of an evil and controlling mind is well depicted by the author, making for quite a suspenseful and atmospheric read.
Purchase Link ~ The Lingering
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 and The Damselfly) featuring the much loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and the festive serial killer thriller The Deaths of December.
Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, inspired by her fascination and fear of ghosts.
Twitter ~ @SJIHolliday
Website ~ http://sjiholliday.com/