For over a century, the New Hope Island vanishing has tantalized the world. How did 150 people disappear from a lonely Hebridean island, leaving no trace and no clues? Media magnate Alexander McIntyre decides to solve the mystery, and gathers a team of experts to mount an expedition to the island. He hopes running the story as a rolling exclusive will revive the fortunes of his flagship news-stand title. He hopes to find conclusive answers to questions that have teased a curious world for decades. And he wants his own secret theory triumphantly vindicated.
But all is not as it should be on the island. A 1930s cinefilm reveals something as terrifying as it is inexplicable. An Afghan war veteran, sent to secure the island before the experts arrive, witnesses a nightmare far beyond battle trauma. And as expedition members gather, they discover to their gruesome cost that there are some mysteries far safer left unsolved...
©2013 F. G. Cottam (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I have slowly become a fan of this author. I started with "The House of Lost Souls" which, honestly, I could take or leave due to the meandering plot and slow pace. I gave him another chance with "Magdalena's Curse" and "The Waiting Room." I have since read/listened to all the author's other works, and, in my opinion, this is his best.
I was snagged right away by the opening chapter. It gave just enough information to keep a horror addict like myself engaged. While the story had a simple enough Roanoke-style premise, the story itself wasn't the hook that kept me engaged. Mr. Cottam seems to have a gift for fleshing out characters to the point of either loving or hating them. Either way, you are interested in what happens to them. I found myself annoyed at times with the attention given to character over plot, but I can chalk that up to my own impatience at wanting to see how characters at another location were behaving or getting along or dying. While I appreciated this development by the end of the book, fair warning, it can be a little slow for those looking for "'popcorn horror." There is an element of romance, but it is not the center element of the story and doesn't detract from appreciation for the creepy, doomed atmosphere.
The ending was supremely satisfying and heroic, especially for a horror novel. I found myself smiling despite the death toll. Again, I can attribute this to character development and the care the author puts into each. The narrator was exceptional, and read so well that the story shined through. I would recommend this to anyone who like horror or adventure. Maybe even romance novels.
The reading was excellent. It was the pacing of the story that occasionally fell short.
Yes. His descriptions were excellent and he knows how to tease out a scene beyond "It was a dark and stormy night.".
He performed the book, he didn't just read it. The pacing of his reading was outstanding.
I was on the edge of my seat through many parts, but at other times, the writer pulled back and "told" the story rather than "showed" the story. His tension was uneven and tended to be anti-climactic.
I will liken the book's pacing to a roller-coaster. At first there is a long, steep climb. Up, Up, Up we went, getting closer and closer to the fateful moment. However, instead of a death-defying drop at the other side of the apex, there were a series of disappointing hillocks. This does not take away from the excellence of the general craftsmanship of the writer which is why I will be pleased to listen to another one of his books.
Satisfying Ghost Story!!!
Amazing job of presenting the EVIL presence(s). A wonderful modernization of Lovecraftian suspense and satisfaction of morbid curiosity.
He's perfect. He does wonderful, subtle accents and his pacing is perfect accompaniment to the tightly crafted story
Could hardly put it down.
It's so incredibly rare to read a ghost story that both scares and satisfies. I write very few reviews but this book is so good I guarantee that anyone who likes the suspense genre will be glad they found this one!
Say something about yourself!
The book was exceptionally well paced up until the very end. The characters are well developed, the setting is well described, and the plot is well drawn out. However, the book suffers from quick finish syndrome. Instead of a reasonable and fulfilling conflict with the antagonist, the author leaves the final conflict to be a marginal 5 minutes. Many elements in the story don't pan out, and make you wonder if Cottam put those in just to try to bring about scares any way he possibly could, or if he innocently ran out of steam while writing this book. Basically, it just felt unsatisfying after all the foreplay.
Without a doubt. There is something special here, but too many ideas were not fleshed out and too many things were left open ended. Too much happens off screen, too much is left to exposition. This book would be well serviced by a companion book that paints the pictures that the exposition briefly skims over. The audience would be well served by such a venture, and the book would feel complete.
Expertly rendered ghost story thriller. I got burned out on ghost stories many years ago. However, this is not your typical ghost story. It is kind of a cross between a Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child novel and and an Ira Levin tale.
The writer kept the suspense going right up to an awesome finale. It is difficult for a writer to create this kind of suspense and pull off a finale that is not anti climatic but F. G. Cottam pulled it off.
It was evenly successful.
I am looking forward to listening to more books by this author. I am hoping Audible will offer all of his books in this genre.
I love to read but don't have much time so, listening to books has become a necessary passion. If I can't read, I'll listen and it makes mundane things like driving long distances and cleaning house bearable.
This book had potential, I really love the whole expedition + mystery + (bonus) monster/ghost premise. I was really excited to start this book! And then sorely disappointed, because it seemed like, of the 14 chapters 12 of them were intros to characters, back story and then more intro and more unnecessary back story. The promised story never takes off. After so many hours of listening I actually had to check to see where I was at and how many chapters I had to go because with so much explanation, this must be 50 hours long... but, no. It's not.
What a tease.
I barely remember the end, what stands out the most is that sad thought of, "that's it?!?!"
Ugh.... and then it ended in chapter 13. The rest of it is a lame epilogue of what happens to characters that were lame in a story that is lame.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Some mixed feelings about this one. The writing was wonderful, the plot sufficiently creepy, but in the end it was fairly predictable in its structure and outcome. The front of the book introduced both the problem and the characters in a manner that had me already guessing who was going to be the first victim to go - I was right - and which characters had the greatest chance of surviving - right again. But Cottam was so good at setting the atmosphere, at describing the feelings of the characters and sending a shiver up my spine that in the end I just rolled with it and enjoyed the ride. I loved the bleak Scottish setting and the historic mystery of the vanishing colony. And the ending was handled well in spite of its predictability. I'd love to see what Cottam could do with a more complex storyline.
Not great. Too many characters and they weren't very well developed. The boring parts are too lengthy and the interesting parts are too short. It wasn't the worst book I ever read but I would return it if I could.
I didn't realize the simplicity of the basic story until I began telling my partner about the premise. Thus, I myself was amazed at how brilliantly this story was developed and the narration is indeed its equal. It was full of suspense, good character development, and best of all, an ending that wasn't chapters and chapters of "the final battle". I am now a Cottam fan and I am also fond of Rintoul's expert narration. Great combination!
The writing was exceptional and the story would have been the same if it weren't for the shallow, unlikable characters.I loved the idea of the story. Getting together experts of all fields to solve an old mystery. But all of that was overshadowed by the excessive descriptions of the female characters, who are more like props than people and the sheer amount of characters, all of which, male and female are totally forgettable and overall irritating. How many times can you mention how all the female characters are,'shapely and attractive' or how much the men want to sleep with them? The performance was excellent and one of the reasons I kept listening. I loved the mood of the book and I though it had real potential. Personally, I just got tired of the author focusing more on how the women looked and the shallow relationships these people had together. If that aspect of the book had been left out I would have given it five stars all around. The guy is obviously a great storyteller and writer but enough with the 'shapely and voluptuous' descriptions. More substance please. Don't slam me over the head with shallowness.
This is the third F.G. Cottam audiobook I've listened to so you can call me a fan. This one has far more characters than The Waiting Room and Brodmaw Bay and I did find keeping track of some of them an effort at times. It is brilliantly read by David Rintoul. As with these other books, there's a slow build-up of tension, which is very satisfying. So, if you like Cottam's other works, you shouldn't be disappointed by this one. My one niggle is that I was very surprised when the story suddenly ended. I got to the end of the chapter x and then there was an epilogue. However, I listened to the last chapter and epilogue again and revised my opinion. On the basis of the Cottom's work's I've already listened to, I'll be visiting his back catalogue.
Entertaining, well written
The fact that the story develops very quickly
Good pace, use of voice, excellent narration.
Gripping tale of mystery and suspense
I really not only enjoyed this story but also how well it was read. The narrator managed to propel you along in a well paced and sublet way. Found he engaged with my listening, creating along with the author an exciting, gripping book that I couldn't wait to get back to continue. I have been experiencing some disappointment in the choices I have made recently so I was delighted to discover this book and add it to my list of an enjoyable read.
"A lamish ghost story with only a few real chills."
A few things bothered me with this book. Firstly, the characters were stereotyped and without much character development. The storyline jumped between scenes so quickly it was hard to follow where and when things happened, and with who.
Secondly, I was let down by the ending. Unfortunately it is often the way with ghost stories...they build up the suspense, until they have you at the edge of your seat - then the air is let out of the balloon and the story flops.
Generally I was not overly convinced by this book, despite the fact that it had "real" ghosts. I also wish the narrator had taken more time to breathe out between each sentence so it wouldn't be so hard to find a place to press pause. He sounded too much in a hurry to finish it.
Despite all this, it provided me with a couple of chills down my spine so at least I didn't completely waste my credit.
I loved this book. The right amount of scares and creepiness. I read the waiting room and that was excellent too.
Difficult to believe that any of them actually made it off the Island alive!
Read with the lights on.
"Really good book"
Just thought the plot was good along with the characters and was very atmospheric
Thought the narration was excellent
"Kept me listening"
Firstly have to say hate the new audible format..secondly also hate the way they now give you question boxes for your review...like sitting an exam or filling in an application form! Now for my review....I really liked this story it was gripping and I listened to it late one evening when the rest of the household went to bed and i was looking over my shoulder whilst ironing & listening.I personally love David Rintouls narration and his character voicesI felt the ending was fine (I know some reviewers thought it ended abruptly) The only criticism I would have was that a lot of the characters seemed to be perfect and the descriptions of how beautiful they were did get on my nerves. why couldnt one of the heroines be over weight without a dress sense?The best F.G Cottam for me was the waiting room ,although this one did come in second
"Fun and Frivolous"
It is what it is...
It reads as if Cottam were writing specifically for a C list celebrity special at the cinema: think Anaconda or Deep Blue Sea and you'll get the idea. It is engaging enough in a titilating way during listening time and light enough to instantly forget after.
Similar to The Memory of Trees in it's stereotypically drawn characters and plot but vastly INFERIOR to the much more complex and intriguing Lazarus Prophesy. I'd highly recommend the latter.
His Scottish voices (I suspect he's actually a Scot originally) sound identical to Ken Bruce which is lovely, if slightly amusing. Is Ken masquerading as David to dodge the tax man?
Yeah, an enjoyable bit of light fiction.
Not dissimilar to what I image reading a Penny Dreadful would have been like a hundred years ago.
Extremely verbose, much too much irrelevant pontification.
Always, one of the best narrators.
Background detail, off the island, irrelevant to the mystery
"Too Slow For Me"
Slow storyline, very boring at times, narration OK though,
Unlikely to use this author again, his style obviously doesn't suit me !
"Laced through with menace."
One or two false notes e.g. Chambers' daughter's & Parr. End feels rushed/disappointing but a satisfactory read.
Yes, the story draws you in straightaway, you want to know what happened/happens next though the end doesn't do justice to the build up.
Measured narration, subtle use of different accents breathes life into the story. Not overdone.
Yes, it would make a good TV series. Too many characters feature to list actors.
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