The Lingering by S.J.I. Holliday #BookReview #BlogTour

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for a fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history. When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…
At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

I'm delighted to be hosting the blog tour for The Lingering by S.J.I Holliday today. Many thanks to the author, Orenda Books and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

The Lingering is a cleverly paced novel, with the early chapters hinting at the chilling darkness that awaits as the story progresses. Rosalind House was once an asylum and the villagers living nearby tell of its tragic history. This isn't perhaps surprising given what we now know about the misguided, ignorant and often cruel treatment that was meted out to mental health patients in years past. This goes beyond that, however as the area was once also known for its witches and it would seem that past events continue to taint the old hospital and its grounds. They say history doesn't repeat itself but when Ali and Jack Gardiner arrive at the house, Ali starts to experience terrifying visions which suggest that there are supernatural entities here beyond the seemingly harmless commune residents.
I always say that to enjoy a book I need to feel something for the main characters but I wasn't sure how I felt about Jack and Ali until I was several chapters into The Lingering. Not knowing how I felt isn't the same as not wanting to find out, however, and I couldn't tear myself away from the pages so intrigued was I by this couple. What has led them to Rosalind House - and will it be the fresh start they are hoping for? They may be a mystery to readers and their fellow residents at first but the reason for their new life is slowly revealed to devastating effect - this is a couple with secrets that they are desperate to keep...
One of the residents, Angela is convinced that they share their home with ghosts and is determined to prove their existence. She is described in the book at one of society's 'differents' but she feels at home in Rosalind Place even though for much of the time her ghost hunting fails to yield any results. At first, I must admit to finding Angela a little irritating or even a bit disturbing. She is so sure that the arrival of the new residents will help her prove that ghosts exist, that she has few qualms in using a camera to record in their room or to having a good snoop in there when the opportunity arises. As the terrifying truth is finally revealed, my opinion of her changed but I'm not going to give anything away to reveal how!
Most of the chapters are either told in the third person from Ali's perspective or narrated in the first person from Angela's point of view, with diary entries interspersed throughout the book from Dr Henry Baldock's journal. Baldock came to investigate the hospital in the 1950s after claims of patient mistreatment but his time there eventually resulted in the place being closed down. Between these three accounts, the full terrible truth is finally revealed and it is more shocking, sinister and tragic than I ever expected. The Lingering is an unsettling look whether at evil is inherent or if it is possible for somebody to be controlled or coerced into perpetrating terrible acts. It also questions whether the dark history of some places means something paraphysical persists in them through the years waiting to be unleashed when the circumstances demand it.
The Lingering is a deliciously unsettling novel, where the sense of malevolence gradually envelops the reader just as the characters become trapped by the inevitable horror of what has been and what is to come. This twisted and creepy tale effortlessly combines a taut thriller with a Gothic ghost story and it's also surprisingly moving, with parts that touched my heart as well as those that sent chills down my spine. Christmas is the traditional time for ghost stories and The Lingering would be a fine choice for those who enjoy a seasonal scare.

The Lingering is published by Orenda Books, purchasing links can be found here.

Don't forget to check out the other stopson the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a pharmaceutical statistician by day and a crime and horror fan by night. Her short stories have been published in many places and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize with her story ‘Home from Home’, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in spring 2017. She is the bestselling author of the creepy and claustrophobic Banktoun trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly) featuring the much loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and the festive serial killer thriller The Deaths of December. Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, inspired by her fascination and fear of ghosts.
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  1. Thanks so much for supporting the Blog Tour Karen x


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