Today I hand the blog over to Mandie who has a blog tour review of A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan. Thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting us to join in this paperback publication celebration, and also to publishers Zaffre. Here is what the book is all about:
About the Book
“A gripping mystery with a classic feel: And Then There Were None meets The Silent Companions”Available from Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Google Play | Apple Books
Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.
At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die.
For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . . .
An unrelentingly gripping mystery packed with twists and turns, A House of Ghosts is the perfect chilling read this winter.
I have been dying to read this book ever since it was given to me as a Jolabokaflod gift (Icelandic Christmas Eve Gift) by my sister so I was happy to be given the excuse to bump it up my extensive TBR pile. From the moment I started reading it I couldn’t seem to put it down. If from the title you are expecting a straightforward ghost story, then you will probably be disappointed. Yes, there are ghosts, however they are not really the main focus of the book.
Set during the time of WW1, you follow the mysterious Donovan and former code breaker Kate Cartwright as they try to find out who is behind the leaking of government secrets. The fact that these investigations take place on a remote island in the middle of a storm only adds to the tension and atmosphere of the book. The assembled group of people believe they are there in the hope of contacting the dead sons of the owners of Blackwater Abbey, but it is not just the house that is hiding secrets.
The book itself is not fast paced which would usually signal that I was going to struggle to get to the last page, yet A House of Ghosts held my interest the entire time and I would often find myself thinking that I would just read one more page, which would then turn into one more and one more after that. The chapters are not overlong and each one is told from the perspective of a different person staying at the Abbey, although it was predominantly told from either Donovan or Kate’s point of view.
Despite the era that the book was set in, it was nice to see that Kate was not your typical female character of the period and would often be found in the thick of the investigations and intrigue. Donovan was certainly an interesting character and you get the feeling that the author has only really scratched the surface of what makes him tick in this book. The war has taken its toll on him and he is haunted by what he saw more than the ghosts around him. There was a real chemistry between him and Kate, and you could see that he respected the fact that she knew her own mind and could be of assistance to him.
A House of Ghosts is a book that harks back to the mystery thrillers of a bygone age and Ryan has certainly captured this style in spades, making it a really enjoyable read that shouldn’t be passed over.
About the Author
William Ryan’s first novel in the Captain Korolev series, The Holy Thief, was shortlisted for a Crime Writer’s Association’s New Blood Dagger, a Barry Award, The Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award and The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. The second in the series, The Bloody Meadow, was shortlisted for the Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year and the third, The Twelfth Department, was also shortlisted for the Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year as well as the CWA’s Historical Fiction Dagger and was a Guardian Crime Novel of the Year..
The Constant Soldier, William’s fourth novel was described as “subtle, suspenseful and superb” by The Daily Mail and shortlisted for the HWA’s Gold Crown and the CWA’s Steel Dagger.
William’s latest novel (as W.C. Ryan), A House of Ghosts, was published in October 2018.
William lectures on creative writing at City University and helps run the First Monday crime evenings. Visit http://www.william-ryan.com for more information.
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