Through Dead Eyes by Chris Priestley
|Through Dead Eyes by Chris Priestley|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Creepy story told at a relaxed pace. Some may find it thin on action but those of us who prefer a more a subtle read will enjoy it immensely. Make sure you concentrate right up until the very last line!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: March 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
After an unfortunate episode at school, Alex has joined his father on a business trip to Amsterdam. He had been hoping to spend some time with his father, but instead he is palmed off on Angelien, daughter of his father's new girlfriend. But Angelien is pretty and so Alex is quite happy to be shown around by her. When her boyfriend Dirk isn't around, that is. At an antique market, Alex finds himself drawn to an ancient-looking mask. He can't help but buy it. And once bought, he can't help but put it on.
And then he's sucked into the Amsterdam of the Golden Age. Here, the dark past of both the building of the hotel he's staying in and of the girl who once lived there. Each time Alex wears the mask he feels the past seep into the present. The more he learns, the more powerful the mask becomes. Alex knows he's in danger, but is helpless to do anything about it...
This isn't the sort of horror story that has you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next nasty thing to jump out at you. So fans of high-octane action and blood and guts and gore might find the pace a bit too relaxed. But those of us who like their horridness to be of the lurking, creeping variety will love this subtle tale.
On the surface, it's an episode in the life of a miserable boy whose parents have just split up and whose overbearing father dominates everything without ever paying an iota of real attention to his unhappy son. It's no wonder, you might think, that Alex's mind is working overtime, dwelling on things it shouldn't be dwelling on, that he's overthinking everything. Underneath, though, supernatural nasties are at work. And, since nobody is really looking at Alex - his mother's not there, his father's self-obsessed, Angelien's taken up with boyfriend Dirk - he is the perfect vessel for them.
We loved the elegance and the subtlety and the downright threat. But make sure you concentrate right up until the very last line!
You might also enjoy Coraline by Neil Gaiman, which is an utter tour de force. Or what about The Feathered Man by Jeremy de Quidt, a wonderfully original Gothic story involving an ancient curse, an evil priest and two orphans with nothing to lose.
You can read more book reviews or buy Through Dead Eyes by Chris Priestley at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Through Dead Eyes by Chris Priestley at Amazon.com.
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