Name: The Lingering
Author: S. J. I. Holliday
Number of Pages: 256 (Paperback)
Published: November 15th 2018 by Orenda Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there, and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.
When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution. The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalizingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.
Send two secretive and troubled characters bound by a traumatic past they’re apparently desperate to leave behind out into the isolated countryside to an old country house that served as an asylum and saw a fair amount of trouble in it’s time, add in a young and overly enthusiastic ghost hunter who becomes determined to find out the truth about these new arrivals and you have the makings of The Lingering.
I enjoyed this book but I went in thinking the haunted house and ghostly elements would be more present than they were. I think I was expecting the house itself to become something of a character. There’s certainly an air of unease and menace surrounding past events at Rosalind House, with talk of patients being ill-treated and further back than that, an association with women accused of witchcraft but those stories aren’t touched on as much as the current day narrative in which Ali and Jack are running from a past that won’t leave them behind. Glimpses of the past are recorded in entries from Dr. Henry Baldock’s journal. He was sent to the hospital in the 1950s to uncover the truth about events taking place there.
Ali and Jack are secretive from the outset, with good reason, and watching their lives slowly unravel until their past comes to light in a new wave of violence and suspicion made for fairly gripping reading. Neither of them are especially likeable characters, but they’re surrounded by a varied group living within the commune. Angela, the young woman convinced that she will find evidence of paranormal activity if she persists with her monitoring around the house provides is a good contrast to the other two mains characters, although her story is also quite tragic.
Narrated via Ali and Angela, with occasional glimpses from other viewpoints, and the historical journal entries, The Lingering is a good psychological crime thriller mystery with an undertone of a ghostly atmosphere and some unexpected twists along the way.