PrintE-mail Written by Ian White

In a bid to recover from the death of his wife, John Mason gives up his big city advertising job and buys a cottage in the sleepy country town of Hambleford where events quickly spin out of control. Who is the ratty pale faced boy who stalks John when he is walking home one night, and why didn’t the attractive estate agent tell him about the sinister past of his new home – the young girl who was found hanging in the woods, the pilot’s wife who went mad... and what about the weird erotic dreams he is having about the former inhabitants? More than that, the local Vicar is obsessed with John’s cottage, and there is something about the Vicar that John doesn’t immediately trust, an incident in the man’s past concerning a young girl that sounds suspiciously like an exorcism gone bad.

But it is when John’s stepdaughter comes to visit, and the spirit of his dead wife materialises to warn John they are in danger, that things really turn nasty. With the line between fantasy and reality and the dead and the living swiftly becoming blurred, John Mason is afraid that his stepdaughter has become possessed by a malevolent supernatural force, but the only possible remedy is too awful to contemplate and the final revelation will completely turn everything John Mason thought he knew violently on its head.

Can You Always Believe Your Eyes?

The Unseen is a very neatly crafted ghost story that owes a lot to old-school psychological horror and the classic ‘Turn of the Screw’ question, “Are the spirits really there or is it all in your mind?”, a theme that has been so written-to-death it’s almost impossible to find anything new to say about it. For that reason, it’s to Dave Weaver’s credit that he manages to keep the story interesting even though he adds nothing new to the mix. In fact, if anything, he almost over-eggs the pudding with ghosts, possession, poltergeist phenomena, flashbacks, insinuations of witchcraft and even a spot of voodoo (the most unsettling sequence in the book, and very well written). He even throws a bone(r) or two to paranormal erotica fans when the story briefly threatens to go a bit ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ but, thankfully, those moments are few and far between.

The only thing that doesn’t completely work is the finale which (the back cover erroneously promises) “will shock you”. Anyone who has read enough of these stories won’t be shocked, but will probably admire how close Weaver comes to almost pulling it off.


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