Blake and his over exuberant son are treasure hunting with a metal detector, when they come across the ancient and dirty picture frame, Ricky is overjoyed at the find/adventure, which is something but from the moment they find it you can feel the vibe that something is wrong.
The inner dialogue and history of Blake is so akin to my own childhood I was instantly his “friend” and could have been a “fan” – hopefully not a crazed one though; like slasher Heinz who nearly broke his family, broke them to the point of having to move from his lush, millionaire lifestyle funded by his award winning books, to a secluded cottage at Redlake.
Both photo frame and cottage have a history, full of blood, death, demons and gods.
The first death broke my heart and really set the grief up within the family. IRW does well to portray the emotions and general bitter banter that often appears in family dynamics, this serves well to focus the reader in on the story. Furthermore IRW loves his trapped in themes and utilised it well to ratchet up the tension.
The second death was a shock and well-staged to bringing in the cursed frame, I loved the clichés of the Priest, misty glass and splashes of blood.
With alcoholic brothers, rabid foxes, strange accidents, thunder and lightning IRW delivers another fast read thriller that kept me engrossed, unable to put the book down until I had finished.
The finale is rather sudden and I felt that IRW could have stretched this book out much further, maybe played on the local folk lore more, given some more flashbacks etc.
I always enjoy the British setting and IRW always manages to interject as much of it in to his writing as possible, it’s almost palate cleansing from all the American authors.
How was the metal detector able to “find” the photo frame when it was made of glass and wood?
They can’t use their phones in the house but get internet, surely they could have emailed for help rather than google search!?
Bonus content - Reminiscing by Matt Shaw
Valerie didn’t want a birthday party, but she got one anyway and she got her bestest birthday present, Brian.
Brian currently has a pink Mohawk, but that’s ok it’s his “thing”; he is her life, her love, her Sparkle.
Something has happened to Valerie but she can’t remember what, she remembers the family cinema trips, loving three cats, even the Taekwondo classes her son takes…… but what can’t she remember? And why is she on the floor.
A sad little story full of love, grief and pain.