A good read in the gothic tradition
The Locksmith is a good read for the summer holidays – not just because it’s about a mother taking her children to stay on a farm during the long vacation, but because the light evenings are less conducive to book-induced nightmares. While the book is written in a deceptively simple style, it’s a suspense thriller in the gothic tradition. An air of menace pervades the pages, mounting as twists unfold. Like the boobytraps placed around the farm, it’s evident that tragedy will strike, but it’s only at the last minute that we find out how and when.
Scars of the past
Artist Jude has escaped a violent marriage and found contentment with a new lover, Spider. Together, they have a young baby as well as Jude’s two children from her first marriage. Family life in Bristol’s Bohemian Montpelier district seems idyllic, but cracks are beginning to show. Middle child Immy displays unsettling signs of a sixth sense. Adolescent Ben chafes at the restrictions imposed on him and resents his stepfather’s authority. Spider bears the scars of an unhappy childhood, but refuses to talk about it. Jude decides the answer for her is more physical and mental space. When Spider’s mother invites her to bring the children to stay on the family farm for the summer, the offer is too tempting to ignore.
Page turner awash with surprises
Despite deepening unease, the story abounds with gentle humour, especially in the clash of urban and rural mores. The children discover that nature is red in tooth and claw. There is also a priceless trip to a snobby town near the farm. Jo Ullah strikes the perfect balance between entertainment and edge-of-the-seat fear, creating a page turner awash with surprises to keep you guessing.
Read it and sleep – if you dare…
Do you like sinister stories with a Bristol edge? If so, try “A Dark Imagined Bristol”, a collection of short tales that are just that. Although I’m a crime thriller writer, I turned my hand to a disturbing supernatural story, “First Blood”, especially for a “A Dark Imagined Bristol”. Read it, and sleep – if you dare…