"Brother, do not try to follow me once you have read this. No good can come of it..." When Clifford Fox QC receives a desperate letter from his estranged younger brother, Simon, he departs his comfortable Yorkshire home to locate him. The letter outlines the harrowing events that have led Simon to the very edge of sanity.
Following a stint at the Brentwell Rehabilitation Unit, failed architect and recovering alcoholic Simon is invited by an old school-friend to Abbot's Keep - a Tudor residence, nestled deep in remote Berkshire countryside. Soon after arriving, he is left to explore the neighboring monastery ruins and discover the house's dark history. But the more he learns, the more certain he becomes that he is not alone at Abbot's Keep, and that nothing is as it seems. But can he stop the house's medieval past repeating itself one final time? And can his brother find him before it's too late?
©2014 Patrick O'Neill (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
"Abbot’s Keep is refreshing a hell. Finally, a ghost story that reminds you why the basement is so terrifying!" (Brett McNeill of Rue Morgue Magazine)
"Ashforth does Edgar Allen Poe and Bram Stoker proud delivering a solid contribution to the literary movement. It is time that the ghost story made a comeback. With writers like Benedict Ashforth writing Abbot’s Keep, a revival just might be at hand." (Matthew J. Barbour of Horror Novel Reviews)
"A really entertaining read with a delightful frisson of fear." (Simon Ball of Horror Hothouse)
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Found this while idly browsing for a quick read, and loving a good ghost story I rolled the dice. Told in a series of expository letters, this tale takes a very long time to set up. While it eventually became obvious why the author chose this method of writing, I was never able to shake my impatience that people who are so close to each other need to write detailed explanations to each other of shared experiences - as in "You will remember when we went to Paris all those years ago . . ." and then explaining every detail of that shared memory. Obviously it's a device to fill in the backstory for the reader, but to me it was the equivalent of breaking the fourth wall in a play. Also, without giving spoilers, I couldn't buy into the one brother writing to the other brother during all of the stuff he was going through. For one thing, where the heck did he find to mail it? It's an odd story when the paranormal characters behave more understandably than the humans.
The final 3rd is where the creepy stuff starts, but as creepy as it is, somehow I just didn't feel it in my gut. Again, I felt at a distance the whole time. Perhaps it was the reading, because the narrator went over the top to the point of melodrama. Was always aware I was being read to as opposed to being immersed in the story. Can't recommend.
"A modern take on the Treasure of Abbot Thomas"
There were a few striking moments punctuating a creeping, uneasy narrative. Can't give anything away but I didn't see these coming.
Lovely narration; he's used different voices for each character very skillfully as not only do they 'suit' each character but they are also believable - almost making you think there was more than one narrator. Lovely fluent reading with the correct prosody for a ghost story.
There was creeping unease at the beginning and then a shocking denouement that was totally unexpected. There were 3 key points which produced significant emotional response but I don't want to give anything away!
This has strong overtones of MR James' The Treasure of Abbot Thomas, Mr Humphrey's and His Inheritance, A Warning to the Curious and The Tractate Middoth. It's rather like MR James with a modern day twist.
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