Wednesday, 20 January 2016

In Shadows Waiting

In Shadows Waiting

by Stewart Bint

4 out of 5

Young Simon Reynolds lives a bucolic life at his family home, White Pastures, surrounded by a loving family and a charming community. Simon finishes his A levels and looks forward to unwinding while his sisters work on their tans.

Meanwhile the tiny community of Meriton has been plagued by a spate of burglaries, and White Pastures seems to be next. A shadowy figure stalks the house, but the police can find no signs of an intruder.

Inspired by the author’s real-life experience with the supernatural, In Shadows Waiting recounts a summer that changes the Reynolds’ lives forever. As the summer progresses, the shadows take on an altogether more sinister implication, and White Pastures begins to reveal a terrifying secret.

The epicenter of an event that has scarred an entire community, White Pastures grows more and more dark, possessed by a shadow that yearns, a shadow that will not be denied. At White Pastures, someone will die – but love never will.

Simon is at a point in his life when everything should be perfect. He has finished his school exams; and he's living in a gorgeous English village with a loving family. But a dark shadow encroaches on their house, promising the worst summer of their lives.

I'm not much of a horror reader (or film watcher - horror movies bore me to death), but I found this book very pleasant. It is a very mild ghost story, so you will find it very readable, even if it's not your normal thing.

I really like the very English setting. A quaint village setting; a very normal family; a relaxing summer and even a trip to Brighton and Camber Sands.
Simon is a typical teenager, he has just finished school, and he's enjoying a lazy summer topping up his tan before he heads on holiday with friends. He is perfectly content with his life, and gets along with his parents and his two sisters.
This book is very gentle and feels like it could easily fit in with Midsomer Murders (I don't care what anyone says, I love watching Barnaby et al).

It is a nice short story, the mysterious threat increasing in intensity to give quite the climatic ending.
At the same time, there's a transparency to the story, and you can guess the cause of it all pretty early on.

The not-so-good?
There were a few minor bits that distracted for me. In the introduction, I would have liked it to be clearer that Helen and Sarah are Simon's sisters - maybe it was just me that was confused, thinking they were his daughters, suddenly followed by a time skip.
The 1980's setting - shouldn't mention Take That (the biggest band of the 90's) in the first chapter.

Evil. I felt the word "evil" was over-used. I mean, I get that this shadow is evil, and it gives off an evil vibe; but I felt that Simon and co. jumped very quickly to the conclusion that the shadow was evil. Especially compared to the vicar's own reaction was to sense the love and longing in the atmosphere. But anyways, the thing was evil and did increasingly evil things. I kinda wished the evil descriptions would vary a bit.

It irked me that the whole book comprised of keeping the women-folk in the dark. It was perfectly alright for Simon, his dad, Helen's boyfriend, and the male vicar to save the day. This included going to some extreme lengths and constant lying to keep the girls blissfully ignorant. The women in the book are all presented as weak; of not being able to cope with the stress of knowing that something evil (oops, there's the E-word again) is living in their house.
I couldn't help but roll my eyes at the patronizing nature of it all.

I think it was a 3.5 out of 5 for me.
All in all, a decent read that I would recommend. I look forward to more of Bint's work.

Goodreads link

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