‘Madness, as we call it, manifests itself in many ways…’
It is only natural that my undying (undead?) love of horror movies should lurch over to literature like a disembodied hand scuttling across a cobweb strewn wooden floor. And so it is that gothic horror and dystopia are pretty much my go to when it comes to fiction. Not to my mention my undying love for all things Stephen King. Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions draws from Susan Hill, Shirley Jackson and the nightmares of Satan himself to conjure something as dark and as upsetting as anything I had read before…
As with all good gothic horror stories, The Silent Companions is centered around a house. The Bridge the crumbling and ominous estate of Rupert Bainbridge, a man cut down in his prime in mysterious circumstances. When his widow Elsie arrives, it is clear there is more than just crude and unhelpful staff lurking in the shadows.
The Silent Companions wears its influences on its sleeve and often leans into them for inspiration whilst still remaining wholly unique. The result is a novel that is genuinely unsettling and as dark as obsidian. A page turner that had me gripped from start to finish. Even if my pathetic need for 8 solid hours sleep a night ensured that I could only managed a few pages at a time.
The novel remains a mystery until the very end and when the conclusion does come, it feels earned rather than cheap and ostentatious. Author Laura Purcell has penned a world that is dark, unforgiving and upsetting. Every page damn near drips with tragedy. I bloody loved it.