*Disclaimer – I received free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Clive was certain. Well as certain as he ever was about anything. He’d seen the evil with his own eyes ater all, but could he really trust them?
Here in the darkness as he peered by the light of the torch shaking in his hand, he couldn’t be sure, or so he told himself as he crept down yet another corridor in his childhood home. Even as a small boy he had hated it. He’d never been a man who believed in Gods, never felt the presence of the big G at his side, but now, in the hungry darkness, he simultaneously cursed whatever other forces may be out there for bringing him back here, for wedging Hacket House into his family history like a splinter into flesh. Simultaneously still he prayed to the same Gods, to get him and Clarissa away, anywhere would do as long as it was away from this hellish place. “When the shit hits the fan, that’s when having a God to pray to or curse the really satisfying,” his mother used to tell him between drags of her cigarette.
Clive stood still and strained his ears, listening for the sounds of creaking floorboards. His legacy! Eaten alive by woodworm and haunted by the never ending ticking of clocks which served to mask the sound of whatever evil might be coming.
Offered a lucrative job at the mysterious Hacket House, Jane agrees to travel across country to live at the mansion. After all, a fresh start is just what she needs. Besides, the remote house is a long way from the past she is still running from.
Arriving at her new home, she finds a strange red house set in a wood of red, gnarled trees. The same trees used to build the house and the grandfather clocks that haunt every room and dark corridor. Jane quickly realises that there is something very wrong at Hacket House and the village of Bramley.
Why is there a graveyard in the garden of Hacket House? Who are the people in hoods who haunt the house at night? What are they doing with the old man in the bed? Why is somebody moving the grandfather clocks? Who is the strange woman no one will admit exists? What are the shadows that scoot across the walls like cockroaches? Who is Erazmus Nark whose grave nothing will touch?
As the sinister behaviour of the village escalates and her own past closes in around her, Jane learns that just because something is dead, doesn’t mean that it’s gone.
The Haunting of Hacket House follows a classic gothic storyline with some strange twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes. The story of a carer to the elderly hired to look after a man suffering from dementia and night terrors in a stately home where nothing seems to grow, this is a novella with a familiar tone that quickly turns sour. The reader is also treated to possible ghosts, possible intruders, hundreds of clocks ticking night and day, some of them even having a strangely humanoid appearance, and rumours in the town of satan worshippers.
There is a lot going on in this novella. I was compelled by the main character of Jane the carer, however, she didn’t seem to do a lot of caring. As the story progressed she did seem to be more of a boarder at the house than a member of the small staff there. The Haunting of Hacket House has a lot of mysteries, a lot of threads to follow that don’t exactly fit the way you would imagine. By the end of the book I was a little confused as to where everything fit together, what was paranormal and what wasn’t, what was real and what wasn’t.
But the story is carried well by the character of Jane. The other characters of the story, Clarissa the house keeper of sorts who keeps herself very much to herself, Mr. Whiteley the maintenance man with an ominous past, and Dora the cook who is almost sickly sweet, have their own parts to play in the shadows of the story and though much is revealed by the end, not all of their actions and motives are thoroughly explained.
The Haunting of Hacket House is an enjoyable gothic horror novella, there are certainly some new elements to it that you are able to explore, along with the familiar gothic style and tropes.
The Haunting of Hacket House is a chilling gothic mystery that might just make you rethink that new clock purchase…
About the Author –
Astrid Adams is a writer of gothic and horror fiction. You can find her on Twitter here.
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