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.
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.
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.
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!
Lately I've been unable to find a good horror story. This one is excellent. My only complaint is the buildup was long and the finale was pretty short.
I do recommend it.
I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.
A wealthy newspaper owner is planning and financing an expedition to an Island off northern Scotland where a colony founded by the captain of a slave trader mysteriously disappeared leaving abandoned buildings. The disappearance had caused much interest and excitement in Great Britain, especially as subsequent attempts to find out what happened had resulted in no answers.
The beginning was intriguing with the discovery of a mysterious video and some chills.
It's a good set up but Cottam has too many characters, most of whom are stereotypes. Although he does ultimately try to make these 2 dimensional characters more well rounded, it's too little too late for this reader. Characters appeared only to be done away with without much reason at all.
I did finish it, but my reaction to it was along the lines of "That's IT???" Nothing is particularly surprising in the conclusion, which also felt rushed. It was like he wrote himself into a corner and couldn't figure out how to get out.
However, the narrator is pretty good and did his best to bring the story to life.
"A little disappointed."
Not having read the printed version I cannot say. I have always enjoyed David Rintoul's narration of these books.
I really enjoy David Rintoul's narrations. His deep voice gives a resonance to the stories and he takes his time rather than rushing through each chapter.
I hate to say it as I love other FG Cottam books, but this was a little disappointing. Somehow I didn't feel you got to really know the characters very well, as with say, The Waiting Room. It was enjoyable enough to listen to, but not as satisfying as others. Sorry!
very good book, it had lots of twists and turns, great narrator, scary feel, well worth a listen. on the sequal now
Loved this, atmospheric and very well narrated. Not 'hard core' horror but spine tingling.
"Jolly good read"
The scone F.G book I read and I've had it in my library for a while, never getting past the first chapter, but I made a concerted effort and it really paid off.
Technically it's a ghost story I suppose but I found it a very enjoyable suspense read, quite dark in places.
My only real negative were there were quite a few characters who seemed to blend into each other, I'm still not exactly sure who was who at the end
"Sometimes less is more"
This story of an attempt to solve the decades old mystery of what happened to the entire population of a tiny, remote island, starts with a great build up of tension but later, as with so many such tales, falls into the trap of going just a tiny step too far and turning it from terrifying into just a tedious more, more, more. No, I have to be fair, it maintained the creepiness throughout. But rather than simply being drawn into the plot and rushed along with the tide, I found myself constantly wondering how the author was going to contrive a satisfying ending. Surprisingly, he didn't do too bad a job all things considered.
The characterisations are varied and quite good and we are introduced to the assembled cast in a precise and logical way which makes them easily memorable - always helpful where there are a number of players. The reading by David Rintoul is excellent but for one thing: without pauses between scene change sections, an initial confusion ensues as the listener has to readjust to a new character or location or even time frame which has seamlessly been attached to the preceding sentence. This would not have occurred if reading the printed page as something would have indicated the transition. A brief break in the narration would have worked in the same way.
Although well written and a good basic idea, I found the book disappointing.
"A great listen with some genuinely spooky moments"
Clever, thriller, spooky
All of the characters have great depth and I wanted to listen to the story to story to find out what happens to them.
The description of Laister watching the film for the first time. It was very creepy.
I bought this on a whim but thoroughly enjoyed it.
An original idea. The story held together very well and the suspense wasn't overdone. The characters were very believable
Lassiter. I liked the way he was not depicted as perfect or a paragon but I could believe he would stop drinking after he met his "Soul mate".
I was amazed at how many accents he could do which made the story much more entertaining. and made it easy to identify the characters. He done an excellent job.
It didn't stir many emotions but had me on tenterhooks all the way through.
A great "Ghost" story
"Captivating and entertaining"
This is a very good story, the narrative flows well and is easy to follow. It's creepy, atmospheric, and David Rintoul's narration is wonderful. Well worth the credit.
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