GoodReads:Reminiscent of the gothic suspense of Shirley Jackson, the ghost stories of MR James and the chilling mood of Andrew Michael Hurley, and soaked in the British folk horror and popular culture of the early 1970s, THE APPARITION PHASE is an atmospheric and stunning debut.
Tim and Abi have always been different from their peers. Precociously bright, they spend their evenings in their parents’ attic discussing the macabre and unexplained, zealously re-reading books on folklore, hauntings and the supernatural. In particular, they are obsessed with photographs of ghostly apparitions and the mix of terror and delight they provoke in their otherwise boring and safe childhoods.
But when Tim and Abi decide to fake a photo of a ghost to frighten an unpopular school friend, they set in motion a deadly and terrifying chain of events that neither of them could have predicted, and are forced to confront the possibility that what began as a callous prank might well have taken on a malevolent life of its own.
An unsettling literary ghost story set between a claustrophobic British suburban town and a menacing Suffolk manor, THE APPARITION PHASE is an unnerving novel, which, like all the best ghost stories, pushes us repeatedly over the line between rational explanation and inexplicable fear. It asks us to consider what might be lurking in the shadows, and questions what is real and what is simply a trick of the mind – and whether there’s really a difference between the two.
Format: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Publication Date: October 29, 2020
Published By: Penguin Random House UK
Page Count: 416
Did I have trouble walking down my own stairs in the dark after reading this book?
The answer is a resounding yes.
It started off strong, it started off creepy, it definitely and completely drew me in.
I did like that we still had this strong connection to the MC(s) and seeing Tim become a pale shadow of his childhood, while growing up, it was intense to read and that’s before the haunting levels go up on the spooky meter!
Tim’s therapist takes him to see the lack of evidence in the paranormal, hoping to help him, but instead it just brings Tim into a world where science and the paranormal collide.
I will say right off that the scientist leading the experiment to find a ghost immediately had me suspicious. Graham seemed like a total loser, but, I did appreciate that he brought Tim into the experiment which turned out so terrifying.
Tim and other teenagers have been brought together by Graham to try and communicate with the ghost of Tobias Salt, the man who once lived in the suspected haunted manor.
The teens start off carefree enough, happy to be involved but when communications with Tobias open up, things take a dark turn. Secrets are revealed, furniture moves, suspicions are high.
Tim feels invigorated, they all do, they feel like they finally have a bit of power, but again, things get darker, and so the question is, what happens next?
I feel that the others made some very wise decisions which Tim did not, but I can understand his line of thinking.
He’s a teenage boy, wanting answers so badly, and there may be a girl involved, who knows, I’m not giving away spoilers.
Let me tell you!!! LET ME TELL YOU! Boy does Tim find answers and they are exactly what you would expect from this sort of spooky novel.
Pacing is intense, I was on the edge of my seat from the moment Tim got to that manor until the end. Maclean’s writing style fits the horror genre perfectly and it was a great debut novel, not to mention it sets the bar very high for him on his next book!
The ending was just as creepy and I can safely say that I’ll probably be sleeping with the lights on for a few days at least!
4.5/5 Cups of coffee from me and a big thank you to Penguin Random House UK for the copy in exchange for my honest review. This book comes out TOMORROW [Which just happens to be my bday, so, that’s super cool] so if you’re a fan of horror, be sure to consider it!
About the Author
Will Maclean has been fascinated by ghost stories since he was a child, and has been writing them almost as long as he can remember. He’s written for television professionally since 2006, during which time he’s worked as scriptwriter for people as varied as Alexander Armstrong, Miranda Hart, Al Murray and Tracey Ullman. As well as comedy, he’s also written extensively for children’s television, where he’s been an integral part of writing teams that have picked up two BAFTAs and an International Emmy. Originally from the Wirral, Will now lives in London with his wife and young daughter.