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Ever since they were children, Sinead has been taunted by her older brother Patrick. Always their mother's favourite, he constantly plays games with her, trying to force her to follow him. When he goes missing, it seems to be his most sinister game yet - as he leaves a trail of clues which lead to Benedict House, a strange place where time seems to stand still.

Don't Look Back by S B Hayes

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Incredibly atmospheric, SB Hayes' second novel is even more terrifying than her debut Poison Heart. Definitely worth reading - just make sure it's in the daytime!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: March 2013
Publisher: Quercus
ISBN: 978-0857386816

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I started reading SB Hayes' latest book at about half past ten on Sunday evening, and put it down at about twenty five to eleven. That's not because of any lack of quality, though - rather, it was just that the eerie atmosphere of the opening pages reminded me that after finishing her debut novel, Poison Heart at around midnight on a Sunday, I was too scared to sleep for at least 3 hours! On picking it up again on Monday morning, I found I'd definitely made the right decision - if Poison Heart was fairly frightening, this is absolutely chilling, scaring me more than any teen novel I've read before - and more than anything since my days of reading horror by John Saul and James Herbert.

In addition to the extremely atmospheric writing, Hayes really captures the characters well in this one, particularly the bizarre - but still believable - family dynamic between time-obsessed Sinead, manipulative Patrick and their mother. I'll even forgive her for including two boys competing for Sinead's attention, as despite my feelings on love triangles, the pair are both interesting characters and the romance definitely doesn't overshadow the main plot of the novel. I found the plotting to be well done, and the ending left me stunned.

Strongly recommended - but let me stress, it's definitely not one to read late at night!

There was a month or so last year when I kept reading scary books on Sunday evenings - Poison Heart was one, as mentioned above. Others included Hollow Pike by James Dawson, A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton, and Choker by Elizabeth Woods. (If you're planning on reading all of them, please take my advice and break it up with a lighter read or two, along the lines of [[Indigo Blues by Danielle Joseph] or Emma Hearts LA by Keris Stainton to avoid giving yourself too many nightmares!

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