Published April 20th, 2023 by Viper Books
Mystery, Thriller, Gothic Fiction, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Horror Fiction
Today I’m sharing my review for the mesmerising and haunting Looking Glass Sound. Apologies that this is a few days late due to illness. Thank you to Angie at Viper Books for the invitation to take part and the gifted proof copy of the book.
Writers are monsters. We eat everything we see…
In a windswept cottage overlooking the sea, Wilder Harlow begins the last book he will ever write. It is the story of his childhood companions and the shadowy figure of the Daggerman, who stalked the New England town where they spent their summers. Of a horror that has followed Wilder through the decades. And of Sky, Wilder’s one-time friend, who stole his unfinished memoir and turned it into a lurid bestselling novel, The Sound and the Dagger.
This book will be Wilder’s revenge on Sky, who betrayed his trust and died without ever telling him why. But as he writes, Wilder begins to find notes written in Sky’s signature green ink, and events in his manuscript start to chime eerily with the present. Is Sky haunting him? And who is the dark-haired woman drowning in the cove, whom no one else can see?
No longer able to trust his own eyes, Wilder feels his grip on reality slipping. And he begins to fear that this will not only be his last book, but the last thing he ever does.
Discover the new dark thriller from the bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street
“Writers are monsters, really. We eat everything we see.”
Take a bow, Catriona Ward, because once again you have knocked it out of the park! Looking Glass Sound is everything I hoped for, while also being nothing like I expected it to be. And like Ward’s sensational debut, The Last House on Needless Street, it left me wondering what the hell I’d just read but loving whatever it was. Haunting, twisty, forbidding and utterly remarkable, it reads like one of the eerie local folklore stories kids whisper to each other in the night or tell around the campfire. But what is real and what is in the imagination? That’s the question you’ll be trying to answer as you read this book. And with its ideal combination of making you feel like you never want it to end while also making you feel like you need to devour it whole, you won’t want to put it down. I would have inhaled this in one sitting if not for my eyelids betraying me and forcing me to tear myself away to go to bed in the early hours.
Looking Glass Sound is a book best read almost blind. The less you know, the better it is. So I’m going to talk very little about the plot. What I will tell you is that the story follows a young man named Wilder Harlow, and the events at Whistler Bay that shook the small seaside town to its core. He writes a memoir about what happened only to have it stolen by someone he trusts, leaving Wilder plotting his revenge for decades. When he finally returns to Whistler Bay to take that vengeance, strange things begin to happen that make Wilder question what he sees and hears. Could there be something supernatural at play? Or is his grip on reality slipping away? Told in multiple timelines and filled with unreliable, shady characters who have ulterior motives, you will have no idea who or what you can trust in this inventive smoke and mirrors horror thriller.
“It was just my mind, making pictures in the dark. Old fears, reaching long fingers up from the pit of the past. Did I really expect there would be no consequences, when I decided to open the coffin of the past and poke at its corpse?”
Catriona Ward is without a doubt one of the most original voices in fiction today. Her books are instantly recognisable as her own unique brand of thriller; she lulls her reader into accepting the story as one thing while hiding another underneath it. After reading her first book I knew it was there; this secret, hidden part of the story that I wasn’t seeing. But it didn’t spoil anything for me. In fact, it only heightened the tension as I waited for the shoe to drop, desperately trying to predict the twists. But once again she blindsided me with her revelations, leaving me trying to pick up my jaw from the floor. Ward is also a master at blurring the lines between what is real and what is in the imagination – including just enough of a supernatural feeling to make you question what is really happening. She is a master storyteller, which is evident in the book through flawless plotting, perfect pacing, imaginative twists, and a constant tempo of nerve-shredding malevolence and foreboding that will keep you on the edge of your seat. And let’s not forget the scene-setting, which is so evocative that it felt like the story came alive around me, something that was intensified by my proof copy having some sentences underlined and notes written in green ink, just like in Sky’s original manuscript. Some of the notes even addressed me by name, sending chills down my spine and covering me in goosebumps. A terrifying and unique addition to the story, it was a stroke of genius! Whoever came up with this idea deserves a raise!
Darkly atmospheric, unnerving, sinister and brilliantly bizarre, this mesmerising story will linger long after you close that final page.
READ. IT. NOW.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
CATRIONA WARD was born in Washington, DC and grew up in the United States, Kenya, Madagascar, Yemen, and Morocco. She read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford and is a graduate of the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia.
‘The Last House on Needless Street’ (Viper Books, Tor Nightfire) was a Times Book of the Month, Observer Book of the Month, March Editor’s Pick on Open Book, a Between the Covers BBC2 book club selection, a Times bestseller, and is being developed for film by Andy Serkis’s production company, The Imaginarium.
‘Little Eve’ (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2018) won the 2019 Shirley Jackson Award and the August Derleth Prize for Best Horror Novel at the 2019 British Fantasy Awards, making her the only woman to have won the prize twice, and was a Guardian best book of 2018. Her debut Rawblood (W&N, 2015) won Best Horror Novel at the 2016 British Fantasy Awards, was shortlisted for the Author’s Club Best First Novel Award and a WHSmith Fresh Talent title. Her short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies. She lives in London and Devon.
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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx
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